A slumping economy, a soft job market, and rising credit card debt can strain relationships. If you didn't manage to stun your spouse on Valentine's Day, you may have to call for reinforcements to save your marriage. Fortunately, credit cards offer five great ways to rekindle romance.
#1: Redeem credit card reward points on a splurge.
Some affinity programs offer special "off-peak" and "last minute" travel deals that can let you whisk your loved one away to a romantic weekend at a fraction of the regular price. Combining points or miles from multiple programs using some card issuers' reward exchanges can help you surprise your spouse.
#2: Use a 0% introductory offer for a great gift.
You can still find some good zero-interest credit card offers on the credit card market, especially at retailers. To keep from spending over your head, budget out what you could reasonably afford to pay each month, then hunt down the best 12-month-no-interest deal on jewelry, electronics, or other gifts.
#3: Rebuild credit and refocus on the future.
If your finances took a hit during the downturn, now might be the time to develop a strategy for the future. Signing up for a secured credit card through a trusted bank or credit union can prove to your spouse that you can still qualify for credit despite recent rejections or job losses.
#4: Use your credit card concierge service for a surprise.
Many credit cards now offer special concierge services or lifestyle perks that can help you score tickets to a hot show or a table at a cool restaurant. Treating your spouse to an experience they'd never be able to find on their own can settle some of the toughest arguments.
#5: Finance a few months of counseling.
Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary recognizes that a heart-to-heart over what's in your wallet isn't terribly romantic, but it should be part of your plan to keep your relationship strong. Some fee-based financial planners specialize in helping couples reconcile their books and their marriages. Marriage counselors often provide sliding-scale rates for patients with broader relationship issues.
Even during rough financial times, experts note that it's important to surprise your spouse with extra time and attention, not just with extraordinary gifts. Building partnership through today's challenges can help you enjoy tomorrow's good times even more.