As much as we all love to skip into the new year with hopes and dreams of another chance to do and be better than the year before, January can often very quickly put a dampener on our new year enthusiasm. January is the month of recovery. You may have overdone it a little over the Christmas period and this is the month to make up for the shortfall, which inevitably means that you overspend again just to catch up.
Maybe your workplace takes a little longer to kick start in January, giving you less pay than usual. Or if you’re self-employed like Mr. Chiwoko and I then January can be a little slow in terms of customers being willing to spend their money with you. In any event, a lot of people feel the financial strain towards the end of January. It’s termed the January
With finances being one of the greatest cause of conflict and even worse, break-ups in marriage, a new year financial strain can wreak havoc on your marriage if you’re not careful.
As Mr. Chiwoko and I talk about this month and try to ensure that we make it through as best we can, we’re having to have some difficult conversations during what could be a stressful time. Thank God we are people of faith and are able to encourage each other instead of pull each other down during this season. Plus, through our years of being self-employed, we have learned how to prepare for the January Financial Blues. Yet still, wisdom is needed to ensure that money pressures pull us closer together and not apart.
Here are 7 things you need to do to ensure your relationship intact and that the financial strain does not strain your marriage.
- Share your worries together: Regardless of who deals with the bills, this is a joint issue that both of you need to at least be fully aware of so that one person isn’t shouldering the strain on their own and so that a team approach can be adopted. Don’t forget, you guys are a team. Teams handle things together.
- Don’t play the blame game: It’s so tempting to start to suddenly start to list all the ‘unnecessary’ expenditures of your spouse over the last month now that things are a little tight. Suddenly, you’re both in this mess because of the last minute decision to get the kids Playstation 4 for Christmas instead of a second-hand X-Box! Suddenly, you’re the frugal one and your spouse is the big spender. It’s all their fault. Ok, maybe not all but a majority of the blame is being placed firmly on their head by YOU. Listen, maybe you could be right to an extent. But this really isn’t the time to start throwing around blame and accusation. Now is the time for working together to come up with a plan of action.
- No Extra Pressure: OK, so you have avoided the blame game, but you’ve opted for the pressure cooker. Both have the same divisive, unfortunately. Again, when we’re in a tight spot we tend to look for the weaknesses. You may feel the need to put pressure on your spouse to do more and be more. Now, this may be a logical aspect of your plan, however, if it is delivered in a manner that is underpinned with blame and covered with stressful pressure then your marriage will feel the strain of the weight.
- Don’t Panic! The blame, the pressure, their both usually a result of panic! the bills are due, the letters, calls, and emails are coming in thick and fast so you jump straight into panic mode. the bible warns us against this and tells us to be “anxious of nothing”. Pilliplain 4:6. When you panic, you make poor decisions, you act in desperation and you give way for fear to take hold. Take a moment and consider that yes, it’s a tough month, but if you and your spouse can support each other at this time and not panic, then you have a much better chance of getting through this unscathed.
- You’re a Team: this is the absolute pus about marriage. You don’t have to go through these things alone! You have someone who is right there navigating through the good and bad with you. Count it as a blessing. Two heads are better than one. Two incomes are better than one and it’s also better just knowing that you are not alone. Take this opportunity to be grateful for the team of marriage you are in and begin to operate like true teammates who respect, honour and love each other.
- Pray Together: You didn’t think I was going to get to the end of this list without advising you guys to join hands and pray about your situation. place your finance issues firmly in the hands of the Lord and pray for a breakthrough. when you and your spouse can join your hands, hearts, and faith together in prayer, not only are you bringing God into your situation, but you are showing a Godly -ordained united front to your problems whilst bonding in intimacy. Yes, praying together is a form of intimacy…but that’s a topic for another blog.
- Come Closer Together: Here’s the truth, challenges either make you stronger or they weaken you. The same goes for your marriage. It’s really up to you which outcome you experience. You both have a choice as to whether you are going to let a little bit of financial hardship come between you or whether you are going to use it as an opportunity to draw closer together, to communicate more, to share each other’s worries and fears, to support and love on each other, to stand side by side in unity. I’d advise you to do that. Let the pressure make you guys stronger. Let it help you realise that you have can go through tough times and come out of it with a stronger relationship.
Remember that these things are usually just for a time or a season. nothing ever stays the same. Before you know it, you’ll be at the end of February with your bank accounts starting to look a little happier and your marriage intact.