Shopping, overwork, stress, and debt: All are symptoms of a communicable disease that is sweeping the country and threatening your marriage and your family! It's Affluenza. In this article, marriage experts Claudia and David Arp -- founders of Marriage Alive! -- offer an aggressive cure.

Ingredients of success On a PBS special, Scott Simon, a correspondent for National Public Radio traces how a nation's penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned frugality has been transformed into consuming mania he calls "Affluenza."

"Never has so much meant so little to so many" Simon observed. Despite more possessions and spending power than past generations, the general sense of well-being has diminished. Did you realize that since 1950, American's have used up more of the earth's riches than did everyone who ever lived before that?

How is your marriage and family impacted? Fueled by advertising, priorities have becomes skewed. For instance, more people visit a mall each week than attend church. The average shopping time each week is six hours, yet the average time spent playing with children is only forty minutes. And from our observations, marriage partners are even more neglected! Add to this picture a million people declaring bankruptcy and you have the full-blown disease, Affluenza!

The cure Is there a cure for Affluenza?" Simon says "Yes," but you have to take aggressive steps such as:

  • Place yourself on domestic quarantine. Stay away from the shopping malls.
  • Read a good book instead.
  • Call your spouse and plan an activity together that doesn't cost any money.
  • Be more critical of commercials and advertising.
  • Reprogram your thinking. Picture the Jones as the thriftiest people you know and then try to keep up with them.

Do your part today to stomp out "affluenza." By spending less, not more, you'll have the energy and resources to invest in your marriage.

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