If anything is true of the difficulties in marriage, it is that financial stress will magnify any bumps in the road ten-fold. So many of us root our happiness in our economic standing that, any setback – minor or major – registers most immediately in our primary relationships.
Broke hurts. Broke is embarrassing. Broke means failure. Broke has to be someone’s fault to displace these emotions.
The current status of our country’s economic flux is even more divisive. We go to bed hearing that we are in a recession, wake up to the news that all hell broke loose overnight and walk out the front door to face the day, grasping all hope that our key will turn that same lock when we return.
Families that have cut back still find themselves juggling everyday expenses. Bills can be ‘filed’ away until we are able to handle them emotionally or financially, but our business is in the streets, literally. ‘Why haven’t we seen you in dance/gymnastics/little-league/karate, etc…?’ For some, when our debts become public – public as in The Joneses know the situation is tight – this is more biting than late notices and collection calls. But as my mother would say, ‘You don’t know those people!’
The ones we have chosen in our lives are the keepers of our riches. No one knows from where you’ve come like the one who has been on this road with you. Why determine your progress or regress based on anyone that has not known your route?
‘He ain’t sh*t!’ is financial stress. ‘What’s mine is mine.’ is financial stress. ‘I can do better.’ is financial stress. It saddens me to hear the woman who exits her marriage behind financial stress: ‘I can do bad all by myself.’ This isn’t about being broke. It’s the cry of a broken woman. It saddens me because women have made lives out of what we would consider nothing because nothing was the option they were given. We are stronger than this.
Our marriage is our strongbox. It holds our reserves, our investments, and our time-shares. When we are down to our last, that box holds enough for us. “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it, blame yourself for you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.” (Poet Rainer Maria Rilke) To know that you can do bad all by yourself is to believe that you do not add much to anything else.
Know that, it is what it is. Accept responsibility and accountability rather than lash at an already bruised situation. If a wrong turn was made – we’ve all made them, pick up the journey and plan a new route. Maybe we’ll travel lighter this time. We’ll recognize that detour should we come across it again. We’ll know better how to navigate. We’ll tell each other when it’s time to pull over and find rest in one another.
Understanding goes a long way and for your spouse, the compassion behind ‘WE will’ carry you miles. Don’t let the journey trip you up.