DB Marketing and Finance
Written by on 11/03/2016
I started on this list back in late 2011, fresh out of FPU. Both DH and I had gone to FPU because our finances at the time were a trainwreck of debt, NSF fees, unorganized spending and deep pessimism about how to make any of that better. I will say now that at that time, most of that trainwreck was my doing; my DH had always been quite conservative with his money and his finances, if considered separately from my own. (I’ll come back to that philosophy in a moment). When we went through FPU, all the consumer debt was mine, and his accounts were in pretty good shape. Given all that, we went through FPU mostly with an eye towards how to improve my own finances, and get them back on track.
The past almost-two years, I’ve been doing exactly that, chugging along on the DR path, and making progress. Sometimes slow and sometimes fast, but definitely making progress. As of this month, all the household expenses which are within my realm of responsibility, are organized, paid, on track and no longer a worry. I do still fret about things like farm income, which is a work in progress, and of course chipping away at the snowball. But I’ve eliminated one big debt, made major advances on several others, and now I can see the light at the end of that tunnel. I’ll say right here and now that if we’re able to continue with the snowball, we will be DONE with my consumer debt, inside of 24 months. And I’ll be screaming the debt-free scream so loudly that Sharon will be able to hear me in Atlanta .
Now, given all that, y’all can understand why I was so shocked and why my world shifted so much about a month ago, when I learned that my DH’s finances had somehow unraveled over the passage of time. During the same 20-month period during which my own finances had cleaned up so nicely, his had gone from tidy and organized, to all over the map. He had/has no idea where “his” money has been going, in terms of his personal spending. I pay all the bills for the house, the farm and for my debt, so none of those are off-track. But his savings program was derailed, his personal spending was off the map, and his perception of our finances had gone into the toilet. I learned all this, in one afternoon, about four weeks ago. Suffice to say the poo hit the fan that day.
Since then, we’ve been clawing our way back to something which resembles financial organization. We’re not there yet, but a number of very telling beliefs and attitudes have come to light. First of all, I’m generally considered the optimist and DH is generally considered the pessimist. I think I’ve mentioned before that his friends long ago gave him the nickname “Chief Stormcloud”. That’s as good a description of him as any. I learned this month that when we went through FPU, he was one part hopeful that it would somehow help my finances, but many parts doubtful that ANYthing could help my finances. When I speak of how much we’ve paid off, he only sees the volume of debt yet to be paid. It’s that type of “cup half full/cup half empty” that drives me crazy. But I had no idea how deeply it went until this month. I’ve also learned that he went through FPU with the powerful thought that it only applied to my financial practices, not to his. In other words, his finances weren’t broken so why fix them? That attitude explains a lot of why I was free to go do the DR thing with my spending, yet he resisted every attempt to apply DR to his spending. And finally, the big tamale that has come to light just this last week, is that he still feels very strongly that what’s mine is mine and what’s his is his, never the twain shall meet, and no one can tell him what to do with his money. Furthermore, no one has any right to ask him how he’s spending his money, or counsel him on how to make it better. That just goes against everything he’s ever been taught, or come to believe, about money. Twelve weeks of FPU couldn’t overcome a lifetime of reinforced behavior.
So now what? This topic has come front and center in our ongoing marriage counseling sessions, and let’s just say last week’s session was painful. We left that appt still speaking to each other, but only barely. Most of what I wrote in the above paragraph came to light in that session. My week emotionally just sort of slid into the toilet after that. I started having thoughts that crap, this might be the end for us, since this sort of separation of philosophies marked the beginning of the end of my first marriage. I started to wonder if this might also be the end of the farm, if we really separated our finances and I had to go back to work to support my half of the household expenses, etc etc. Saturday I bottomed out, with thoughts that everything I’d been trying to accomplish the last two years had added up to absolutely nothing. Never fear, fellow DR fans, it didn’t end there. Somehow, late Saturday afternoon, the clouds began to part, the sun began to shine again and DH and I started to look for and find comfort in each other. He was as rattled by that last session as I had been, but didn’t want to throw in the towel. He said he didn’t know how the future would shape up, and that things were still so raw that it was hard to talk about, but we needed to figure this stuff out together. The only failure would be to quit. For my part, I just kept thinking that I really had come a long way, with DR and with the farm and with my own abilities to pay my way and eliminate debt and carve out an ever-improving financial future. There was something to work with here, don’t chuck the baby out with the bathwater, and above all, don’t give up.
So we spent yesterday, and we’re starting the week, with an attitude of “we have no idea what we’re going to do from here, but we’re going to do it together.” And that’s something I can take some comfort in. I am solidly converted to being a DR fan; I won’t be abandoning that approach now after I’ve seen the power of what it can do. But I won’t assume that DH is on board, or that his own financial concerns/questions have already been answered by DR. In a way, we really are starting all over again, with DH in the position of “I don’t know what needs to happen, I don’t know what I’m comfortable with or what I’m capable of, or what’s going to work. I only know that what we had, wasn’t working for me.” That’s the best we can do at this point. But it’s setting off into this new
Comments are closed.