Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Perfectly Practical #102 - Pull Together in One Direction

Today marks our 13th anniversary.  Lucky 13 on the 13th.  13 years of learning and loving and laughing.

It has always been a bed of roses...even though the thorns have poked us a time or two. 

After Engineer's sage advice for a strong marriage yesterday, I felt like I should give you one of my little tidbits:  pull together in one direction in all things but I am specifically sounding out finances today.

Now you may say, "Wow. That is a bit sad that she thinks that money is so important that she writes about it on her anniversary."  And I will respond to that valid statement, later....

We got married young (20 & 21) and had that picture like all newlyweds do, of the fairytale.  That beautiful storybook beginning to a life happily ever after. 

Did you realize that newlyweds spend the first few years of their lives trying to establish the lifestyle their parents' have? How many years did it take for their parents' to get there? How many years does it take for those not-so-newlyweds-anymore to dig themselves out of the debt they accrued while reaching for that lifestyle?

*Raising Hand* Um...yes, that was us.  Overspending.  And a budget?  What was that?  We often wonder what life would be like now if we would have stayed debt free from the beginning of our marriage.  Not that I'm complaining.  Life has been good but due to our past sillinesses, it could have been better.

Although there are many reasons to start down a path of frugal living, everyone has to start somewhere. Most of the time that begins with denying yourself or your family and that's not fun.
That is no more painful than for the breadwinner of the family.

They feel they are the providers for their family and feel they have failed when the take a good look at the situation: 1. they have failed to be able to continue in the lifestyle to which their family has become accustomed or 2. they look at their current financial situation and realize that it is because of past missteps that they are nowhere near where they thought they should be.

So what does pulling together in one direction have to do with anything?
  • Support -  Don't leave your spouse to shoulder the burden themselves.  Encourage them and assist them.  A "Honey, you're doing such a great job" or "Sweetie, thank you for taking care of this" will go a long way. 
  • Agreement - Whoever takes over looking after the finances needs to have agreement with their spouse.  If you aren't working together, the logical conclusion you are working against each other.  That friction is never good in marriage. 
  • Honesty - I know so many people who keep money secrets from their spouse.  They feel like it is easier to ask for forgiveness (if their spouse finds out at all) than to ask for permission.  This causes fissures in a relationship. 
  • Teamwork - The bottom line is you have to be a team.  If you are pulling in opposite directions, you go nowhere and if one of you is ploughing ahead and the other is standing still, then you cannot make sufficient progress.
  • Dream - Make plans.  Have dreams.  List goals.  Much like support is crucial, having that end goal is equally important.  This is what will sustain you.  Keep your eyes on the prize because slow and steady progress will still finish the race.
It took us probably the first 10 1/2 years before we realized that we would be stagnant financially forever, or worse, going backward, if we didn't forge ahead equally yoked.

Now my response to the statement earlier:  Honey, there is nothing more attractive to me than my husband making our budget {that we agree to} and letting me know that we are secure and on track for the future.  I feel loved and nurtured and safe and worry free as we write our happily ever after together, side by side, pulling in one direction.

This is part of Works for Me.

2 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary! I serious felt like I was in a time warp reading your post. We'll be married 19 years in June, married young, and started out the same way. I totally agree with your advice!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! I don't think we're alone Ms. Krisitn. So many people start out that way and have to work backwards in order to push forwards. If only we knew then what we know now... ;)

    ReplyDelete

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