Thursday, February 12, 2009
Debt and Your Marriage
I have been wanting to do a post on this topic for a little while, but I wanted to do some research first and I knew that I would need some time to do it, so I apologize if this gets long, but I feel very strongly about this topic.
I don't know about you, but I would have to say that our debt has caused more stress in our marriage than almost anything else, and it is not that we fight, or argue about how to spend our money, it just seems that when the money gets tight, that is when there is the most tension and stress. For the longest time, my husband and I had this routine it seemed like and this is how it would go: The beginning of the month would come, we would both get paid and while my husband was at work I would check the accounts, go over the bills, determine what we could pay, what we couldn't, and then I would get that sinking feeling of "will this ever end." I would get depressed and end up calling my husband, usually in tears, telling him the news. Then by the time he would get home, he was the one that would feel down and then our whole night it seemed would be filled with stress and trying to come up with ideas of how to make it better. The stress would fade over the next few days, and finances would just be put to the back of our minds until 2 weeks later when we got paid again, and then the cycle would start over. I know that it sounds pretty pathetic, I especially realize this as I am writing it all out. But it was just the way that we were coping with our stress, it was never an explosion, we never "went to bed mad", it is just that it was slowly eating away at us. It was always something in the back of our mind that we almost avoided. It became a hurdle in our marriage, because we each were starting to feel hurt by the way we were handling the situation. I was feeling hurt, because I felt that I always had to go over the bills, pay them, and be the barer of bad news, I felt like it was a burden that I couldn't bare anymore. He feeling hurt because I was calling him while he was at work and always breaking down to him, and when I would do that he would feel like he wasn't do good enough and that he was letting our family down.
The thing was that we were adding to eachothers stress, just by the way we were handling our finances. It took us a while to figure that out, but we have since almost reversed the outcome of our financial struggles. Since we have been able to work together and listen to eachother's feelings more, this whole trial has brought us closer together. So this is our new routine, and for us it works pretty good: When we get paid, we WAIT until my husband gets home, and we pull out all of the bills together, we write them all out prioritize what needs to be paid, we go over our meal plans for the next 2 weeks, so we can estimate the cost of our food, we discuss if we will be going anywhere different then normal so that we can estimate the cost of gas. Basically we go over everthing TOGETHER, that is the key. And yes, there still are times where it gets stressful, but we find that when we band together and include the Lord in our decisions as well, we are much happier, and it is easier to have faith that everything will work its self out as long as we are doing all we can to carry out the Lord's will.
I just wanted to encourage anyone that feels like finances are hindering your marriage, just know that it can become a blessing for your marriage if you turn it around and make it something that brings you closer together. Rely on eachother, but most importantly, don't leave the Lord out.
Here is a quote from an article that I found that I really liked:
“Coping with Difficulties in Marriage,” Ensign, Oct 1982, 21 “When a couple have commenced a marriage based upon reasonable standards,” President Spencer W. Kimball has said, “no combination of power can destroy that marriage except the power within either or both of the spouses themselves; and they must assume the responsibility generally. Other people and agencies may influence for good or bad; financial, social, political, and other situations may seem to have a bearing. But the marriage depends first and always on the two spouses, who can always make their marriage successful and happy if they are determined, unselfish, and righteous.” (Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 17.)
Click Here to read the whole article.