How Over-Spending Affects Our Marriage: Part II {Day 14}

On a chilly day a few weeks ago, I walked into our dining room and pressed the heat button on our thermostat for the first time this fall. A little voice lurking in the back of my mind, said: "Oh gosh, what if it doesn't turn on?!" 

Spoiler alert: it didn't.

After a few visits from a technician and signing a form with a very large number at the bottom, Mike and I were left sitting on the couch feeling sad and dumbfounded by how expensive it can be to own a home and simply exist as a human being.

Here's the thing, I just know from personal experience that finances are really hard on a marriage. 

Statistically, they are the leading cause for divorce. I read an article covering a study done at Kansas State University citing arguments about money early on in a marriage are an indicator that divorce is a strong possibility in the future. 

Uh-oh.

Here is where I am at right now in comparison to last year at this time. My marriage is my top priority. This person I pledged my life to is so precious to me. Last year at this time, I was definitely in self-preservation mode. I wanted to protect my way of life. My identity. My wants and needs. The lifestyle I felt entitled to. What was important to me mattered more to me than keeping the peace in my marriage, and the credit card bill was a blaring reflection of that.

I started to do some major self-reflection after having an especially difficult conversation with Mike about our finances. I am a psychology major which really means nothing because I never ever went to class but what is significant about that is I am the kind of person who has to understand the why's behind each and every situation.

So when faced with the reality that there was tension in my marriage due to finances, I did some self-examination and simply asked myself, "Why?"

Why couldn't I stick to a budget every month?

Why did I spend so much money on x, y, and z?

Why was I willing to argue with my husband to justify yet another purchase that seemed so important in the moment? 

I realized that I had an image of the type of person I was and wanted to be, and in order to maintain that image I felt like I needed to dress a certain way, wear my make-up and hair a certain way, give gifts a certain way, decorate my house a certain way, and dress my kids a certain way. Even if that maintenance compromised my marriage.

If you asked me my beliefs on finances and materialism, I quickly would have said I felt that keeping up with the Jones' was a sham and I would never care as much what people thought about me but again, the truth is on the credit card statement.

I am NO marriage expert but in my personal experience I believe that if I continue loving my image more than my marriage, that idol will win (or replace that with status/success/hobbies/work). And what does it look like for your marriage to be second? We can go ahead and ask any of the people who are a part of the 51% who lost their marriage because they loved something else more than their spouse. I totally do not judge or condemn anyone who gets divorced, in all honesty, I do not understand why that statistic is not higher because being married can be that hard. I am not above getting a divorce but my hubs and I decided long ago not to keep that word completely off the table.  

Doing this spending fast was making a small decision to honor and protect the marriage that I have. It is the only one I plan to have and I know that I must fight to keep it intact and thriving. 

This was us when we were dating and our only concern was what movie we were going to rent from the Blockbuster!
If you and your spouse or partner do not argue about marriage please start sharing with your friends your secret to success because most of us could use a little help here! 

And here is a hint, even if you have enough money to not argue for now, wait until you are on one income, your spouse is out of work for an extended period of time, you have a child, or one of you gets sick. All of those things happened to us in 2013 and it wasn't pretty. The stress that added to our marriage was immense and thanks to prayer and the presence of Jesus we are stronger now. But if you can start noticing the why's in your own spending, trust me those you love will be better for it in the long run. 


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