The Reality of Financial Distress in a Marriage

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A recently divorced family friend was talking to my mom about her situation. It was a real shock when the family found out about what had happened. I remembered thinking about how perfect she and her husband looked as a couple and that I wanted to marry someone I was going to be in love with forever, just like her.

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“I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Our financial situation never got better and caused all sorts of problems for us.”

She went on to explain that their constant bickering and unsatisfied lifestyle led to other fights that had nothing to do with their finances. The fact that she was unhappy about the things that couldn’t happen because they just never had enough triggered a lot of resentment. The resentments led to fights about little things that turned into bigger problems, which escalated into unsolvable, more damaging issues.

I thought about the times I used to date. When you’re young and in love, you really don’t think about “other things.” The expression “love is blind” should never be ignored. Sadly, though, if your mother was to tell you that, you never would have listened to her. True, there are great love stories and couples that are the perfect match who live through anything, thick and thin, and happily ever after, but come on … Every couple will have issues about one thing or the other and more often than not, it’s got something to do with finances.

My husband and I took my son to an outdoor play gym and he overheard two women talking about their husbands. He said that one of the women said her husband works as a teacher and frustrates her to the core that she has to ask him for permission to buy even the smallest item because his salary is so terrible. The other woman said she used to be so in love with her husband, but the fact that her monthly budget doesn’t leave enough for her to even buy a nail polish for herself really frustrates her and ruins many of her days.

I’m not writing this as a way to put down or discourage anyone and their relationship, but I do wish I could talk to young people who decide to get married early without thinking about the major factor in their future, “money.” After the thoughts of being together with the person that makes your heart skip wears off, or the honeymoon stage in your relationship turn into some of the most mundane of days, you eventually ask, “what then?” The adventures and future you want to have will then be based on whether you can afford to get there.

I’m married now. So I’ve made my bed :) I’m quite happy where I am and I could honestly say that we really don’t have a lot of money, but we do love each other to death. So it is possible to live happily ever after. After all, even the filthy rich have money issues, right? They just have them at a different scale. Instead of not being able to buy a Guess watch, they might be concerned with not being able to buy enough Rolex watches.

I guess you’re waiting for me to get to the point of all this, right? Well, I don’t really have one except that now I’m a parent and will one day tell my son (before he falls in love with someone) to “be absolutely true to your mind and not just your heart. Dig deep and tell yourself what you really want for your life and then go for it. Live not just for the moment, but for your future.”