When times are tough, you find out people’s true natures
I ascribe to the belief that there is a silver lining inside every cloud. The current slow economy (technically no longer a recession, but try telling that to the 10% long-term unemployed) has wreaked financial havoc on households across the country. For the employed, the credit boom left behind huge debtloads that require a complete overhaul of personal spending practices.
The silver lining inside this cloud is that tough times bring out the worst in people. Sure, when there is plenty of money to go around, life and your marriage can seem great. But when push comes to shove, you find out what people are really like. Hidden spending sprees, an unrelenting taste for luxury goods or travel, health issues that go unaddressed despite repeated scares and physician warnings, these are all issues that can make or break a relationship during tough financial times.
You need to build during the good times to offset the bad. I am never more aware of life’s downs than when I am in the midst of a high. Those are the times that I try to instill good household habits and save against bad times; when it is easy. A job loss or health issues are difficult enough to deal with even at the best of times. They are commensurately more difficult when a household does not have an austerity plan in place.
Being part of a family means making sacrifices when times get tough. If you have a partner who cannot or will not make changes to his or her lifestyle, or has personality flaws that can lead to huge bills (ie. failure to deal with diabetes leading to hospitalization) that may be a sign to get out of the relationship, especially if you don’t have children.
After all, if this person does not cooperate in hunkering down to weather a household storm, what else can you expect during the much bigger life storms that lie ahead for most of us?
1/8 Reader Question: I’m a hobokenmom too. When I have some free time, I enjoy reading your blogs. Many of our friends recently started to deal with midlife crisis. I guess we are getting to that age group now. However, I think people Sometimes choose to get out too early because it might seem to be an easy solution with or without kids involved. I guess my view is different from yours on this issue. There is already such a high divorce rate and it is even higher for second marriage according to statistics. That’s probably why more and more people, especially educated women, decide to not try the second time around. Anyway, it’s just my opinion on this issue related to your latest blog.
I enjoyed your blogs and reading your views on issues. Keep them coming.
So glad you like the blog! I completely agree about divorce. People don’t realize how destructive it is and jump in for an easy fix. By the time they realize how terrible it is, it’s too late to salvage the marriage. I believe that once you have kids, that’s it. You are in the marriage for good because the kids are the ones who get damaged.
I was thinking more of starter marriages in my blog post. I think that people often don’t think things through when they marry in their twenties. People that age tend to think they can overcome all difficulties, but there are certain issues that have serious long-term financial consequences, like neglected health issues or profligate spending.
Whenever I see friends in relationships like that, I always hope that they will come to their senses before they walk down the aisle. That said, people do make mistakes, especially when they are young. While I think divorce is a serious matter that should be weighed carefully before anyone undertakes it, isn’t it better for a young person to be free of an incredibly destructive partner while s/he is still young enough to have a chance at a fulfilling, profitable partnership and children? Women’s biological clocks go off a cliff after age 35, and it takes time to find someone new, build a relationship and get to the point where you start a family.
I do not believe people should be bound for life by youthful mistakes. Marriage is the single biggest life happiness decision one can make; it shouldn’t be a life sentence.