Here is the transcript from this week’s episode of Relationship Radio.
Kimberly Holmes 0:06
Are we in a recession? Who knows? No one can quite agree. But here’s what we do know things are crazy. Right now living costs are gone have gone sky high. Some even say inflation has gone to 17% in America, with many other countries experiencing it much worse. And why are we talking about this today on relationship radio, because it is affecting your marriage, probably more than likely the added stress of what’s going on is making its way into added tension more terseness in your conversations with each other. So we’re going to talk about how do you deal with a looming or current recession? Who knows which one it is in your marriage? And I’m joined today by Dr. Joe beam, who is not an economist, neither am I. But we can tell you how to do this well in your marriage.
Dr. Joe Beam 0:59
When it comes to relationships. I saw a meme the other day that I thought was really interesting. He said right now the most expensive vehicle is a grocery cart. Yeah. And you know, I’ve been going to the grocery store with Alice, you know, as we get older, we like to do more things together like that. And notice that the price of everything just seems to go up, eggs are up, meat is up all kinds of things like that. Probably even the vegan stuff, but I don’t look at that. So I don’t have any clue. So we’re looking at a time when finances can be tough. Our friend Dave Ramsey, who has his radio program all over America, and many of you may have heard Dave, talk about financial peace and those kinds of things. They’ve so friend of ours. And they will say that the number one reason for divorce in America, his problems with finances, our disagreement about finances. And from his perspective, that’s probably accurate. As a matter of fact, let me say that definitely is accurate from his perspective, because we look at the number one thing that people argue about, it’s money, they argue about money more than any other thing. Now, as social scientists, we look at it a little bit differently, we would see that the finances that are arguing about would be the symptom of something deeper, that it has to do with relationship problems that are manifesting itself there. We understand from John Gottman, who is a tremendous guru, when it comes to research about relationships, that the three most common reasons that people want out of a relationship is that I don’t feel that you like me, or I don’t feel that you love me, or I don’t feel that you respect me. And so typically, when people are arguing over money, there’s a lot of stress. And we’ll get Kimberly to talk about that, because she’s the one who is the psychologist, we’ll talk about that in just a moment. And that stress leads either one, or both to feel disrespected by the other. And so yeah, it’s it’s the biggest symptom, if you will. But typically, it comes back to what the relationship is made of to begin with. So Kimberly, how does stress, particularly financial stress, but any stress affect a relationship?
Kimberly Holmes 3:07
I believe that the reason financial stress is so much heavier on a person or on a marriage is because the finances are a direct reflection of how you’re spending your time. If I’m spending all this time and effort and energy to provide for my family, and it still doesn’t feel good enough, then not only it’s not just about the money, necessarily, it’s also about me, it’s about I’m not enough, I’m not doing enough, I’m not providing well enough, and especially for men, who are more wired to be that provisionary mind, person, that’s how their brain works, and how testosterone works in their body, all that those things we won’t get into. It can be more of a blow on their ego, and on their pride when they feel like they are not providing enough for the family. So in a situation where the wife, it will just take the stereotypical one, the wife is super stressed out about money, she feels like there’s not enough what he’s probably going to hear whether she says it or says it. But whether she says it out loud or not, is you’re not doing enough. I need you to do more, or I need you to do better. And he’s already doing as much as he knows how. And so it goes back to what you were saying it’s that I don’t feel liked, loved or respected. I don’t feel like my contributions here are being appreciated. They’re only seeing the deficit of what I’m not doing.
Dr. Joe Beam 4:30
Or is definite part of that same kind of concept is that the only thing I’m appreciated for is what how much I can bring. Yeah, and it’s not because you love like a respecting, yeah, many, many years ago, I was working, creating training courses for corporate America. And for a bank over in South Carolina. I wrote a program for them to help them understand some things about customer service. And I put into that program, what you would start off with I’m kind of interested to find how that you and I want to thinking the same All these years apart, which is that money is just the way we exchange life. So back when we it was just one village and you needed a pig and other guy needed some corn, you swapped the big into corn. All right. But cultures became much more complicated. So we can’t just go swap out like that. So what do we do? We whatever contribution we make, we get paid for. And so each dollar represents a part of my life. Yeah, that you just said earlier. Yeah. And if then I’m not gonna reiterate what you just said. Because what it said was, you said it so well. I can feel inadequate, if I’m not getting enough. But also think about the disrespect that comes if you are handling money, yes, go ahead early.
Kimberly Holmes 5:46
Right. So that’s the other part of it. I’m working so much, so hard, stressed out, because everyone’s stressed out in their job. So I’m stressed out trying to do all of these things. And then you just spend it willy nilly you aren’t saving, you are just buying whatever you want. And therefore the pressure comes back on me to continue working to provide when it’s and then it becomes like this hamster wheel that you can’t get out of it. Because there’s one and then the disrespect comes from, you’re not respecting the output of what I’m doing. You’re not respecting the life that I’m bringing in.
Dr. Joe Beam 6:22
Exactly. You’re not willing to live within. Therefore, I feel like I’ve gotta get more. And so then comes this thing called credit. And credit basically is pledging your future life. Okay, if I have $1 bill in my hand is for what I’ve done, if I have a credit card, in my hand is for what I feel I’m going to do. And so if you charge $100, now, I’ve actually pledged $100 worth of my life, to have you have to earn to pay that debt. And so people get into situations where I would agree with Dave Ramsey on many, many things, a man’s brilliant, where he talks about how the debt becomes this big stress thing, because now, it’s not just I’m not making enough money to live on, or enough money to keep you happy, or enough money to that, that you can live with the spending habits that should exist. But now, we have pledged so much of our future, that I don’t ever see a way out. I’m going to be living under this burden for years and years to come. And that intensifies the stress. Right? So what would you say to a couple, I actually had a guy buy me lunch one day, and we were eating supreme. And he said, You know, I make decent money, but I can’t make enough money to keep up with my wife spending. He said, What do I do? So what would you tell him?
Kimberly Holmes 7:42
And then I deal so situation where money does not have the emotional toll that it typically has in conversations in a relationship, but in an ideal situation, it would be, hey, can we have a conversation about about the money and about what your spin what the spending needs are for the household? And the wants beyond that? And how can we both compromise where we’re on the same page to where we were both being able to get what we want, and neither of us is living outside? But also neither in outside of it? Meaning? Now there’s not one or both of us? Who’s being super spendy. But then there’s also not one of us who’s being super controlling with saving all of the money? How can we find a good balance between the two? That’s ideal, but I think that finances are like sex in the sense that people have weirdness around it. And we have a lot because and I think it’s because it’s so tied to deeply of who we like we were talking about it’s part of your life or exchanging, it’s my work. And so so there’s a lot of emotions that are on top of it, it can make it a hard topic to have a conversation about because you’re bringing the emotions with the data.
Dr. Joe Beam 8:53
Do you think that, oh, let’s say we make you can make either spouse, the breadwinner, let’s just make it the female, the wife, he’s the breadwinner, and he’s Mr. Mommy staying at home, taking care of the kids. They think he’s really going to fully appreciate the stress he fields, if he’s out there spending more money than she’s making. Or if you turn it around, he’s the one out there working and she’s at home. Do you think the other spouse really appreciates the stress the other person feels?
Kimberly Holmes 9:18
Not in that situation? Not if they’re spending so much that it’s that it’s extravagant, right to where, you know, we don’t need to go on a vacation every single month right now. We don’t need a Starbucks visit every day. That was one of the one of the couples we used to be friends with. When Rob was in the military. Her Starbucks spending habits she would spend $20 a day and he was a lower enlisted like he was not making a lot of money and she’s spending 600 bucks a month on Starbucks. She went three times a day to Starbucks. Yes. And she was spending $600 a month on Starbucks and she was unwilling to stop up that habit. Now that story is very unfortunately, where he literally abandoned her in the middle of the night like, took everything that he needed and just left because he felt she wasn’t listening. I mean, it was a lot of things, right. It was there was that there was the spending, but also there was a lot of disrespect and other in other areas, they were trying to have kids. And she would openly talk about things he wasn’t doing, that he should have been doing to for his own male part of the of the infertility process, just in front of co workers of his which was incredibly disrespectful. Right. So, but that’s the that’s the kind of thing like, in them. I don’t know this for sure. But let’s use this as a hypothesis. If they were to talk about money, he’s not just bringing in her Starbucks. It’s her Starbucks spending habits. It’s also you disrespect me, anyway.
Dr. Joe Beam 10:52
Yep. But that was like the icing on the cake. Right? It’s like yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because elicited man $600 a month to an enlisted man and military is a heck of a lot of money. It’s a lot for not if you’re, you know, the guy that lucky got Lila most he probably could afford $20 a day for Starbucks.
Kimberly Holmes 11:12
Okay, probably Elon Musk, but for the rest of us live in a little closer to earth.
Dr. Joe Beam 11:17
I am a fan of Elon Musk. I just want everybody to know.
Kimberly Holmes 11:21
I’m a fan of Justin Bieber. I bet he could spend six hundred dollars.
Dr. Joe Beam 11:23
He probably could we look at that and say, okay, so then people should actually live in some kind of a budget. And the ones that do. They work out the budget together, it’s still a problem, in my opinion, if one of them walks in and tells the other, right, this is the budget, you’re going to live by exactly, because there’s no compromise in that. But if they can work it out, together, this is what we have to do. And sometimes you have to actually go without some things. And I have seen couples where that that can be a problem, because it’s like, but but my friend gets to buy that, why don’t I, that friend over there gets to have that, why can’t I it really comes down to whether you value the relationship or your desires, which one is the most important. It comes down to them. Because there have been people throughout history that have had nothing, and had tremendous relationships and really good lives. You don’t have to have money to have a really good life. I was born in a farmhouse. And it was a it had no running water. It had no central air, no central heat, it had a fireplace in the living room. So that’s where I was born, because it was February and they moved my mother’s bed where the fireplace was. And my grandfather was his house and grandmother. They lived their whole lives like that had their children raised them, et cetera. They didn’t have to have much money. And so it’s really what’s most important to you things are relationship, it really comes down to that prestige, age, or relationship. I have had lots of money at one point in my life. Let’s stop and think about back when children used to have money. A long time ago, I’ve had lots of money, one point in my life, and I have been so destitute, I lived in the backseat of my car, I have done all those things. And and therefore when I see the value in money, I’ve come to realize you don’t have to have it. If you’re willing to live a lifestyle that you can afford. You don’t have to have more money, make it great. So what’s our recommendation to couples if they have any stress over this reception? Recession?
Kimberly Holmes 13:38
And and I think we need to touch just a bit on the last thing you just said, which is staying within a lifestyle you can afford. So there’s probably several people listening to this who are like, two years ago, we could afford right? All of the same things. Right? Nothing has changed, except the prices of everything have gone up? Exactly. So in those kinds of situations, it’s still good to start with a conversation with your spouse and and even just having it where you start with a vision of the future. What are some of the goals that we have together? What are things we want to be able to do together? How much do we want to be able to save for retirement? And you don’t have to get too much into that on the first one. Because it can be overwhelming. But what you’re trying to do here is what is the goal we can work towards together here? And how can we come together enough? And maybe it’s just for the next year, we we want to be able to you know, have that emergency fund and continue to keep up with the cost of inflation. So what do we need to do over the next 12 months to get us there? What can we cut, cut and then when you start with that vision of what you’re trying to do together, you’re more likely to work together towards that. Now, there also may be other times where in that in that vision of what you want to do together in the future. You decide Did you know we are going to take more of a risk in certain areas of our life because maybe one of them wants to start and become an entrepreneur and both of you together decide, we’re going to take our savings fund, we’re going to put it towards this, this investment of them starting their company, but we’re doing it together. It’s not just one of them saying it’s what I’m going to do spending all of the money. And then the other spouse who didn’t want it to happen in the first place, is even more stressed about finances, because she or he didn’t agree or approve with spending all of that money, right. So just get on the same page with the vision and then work together on how you can compromise in the short term to help you work towards that vision in the long term.
Dr. Joe Beam 15:41
Kimberly, as we were talking about this, I can’t remember exactly how long ago this was, it was 25 to 30 years ago, it had to be there was a when the oil boom went through a big recession. So we’d have to look up the dates as to when that was, but it was way back. Shortly thereafter, I met a banker who had just lost everything. He had put all of his investments into oil. And he had three or four different houses. He had one knock in Spain, for example. I mean, he this guy was a multimillionaire. And when that went down, he lost everything. Now, I’m talking to him and his wife. And his wife said, of course, we had to sell the houses. She said, I actually wound up having to sell most of my clothes. And she had only very luxurious, she said I had one luxurious dress left. And I was going to wear it in this particular meeting where I met them, I was going to wear it here. And so we bought economy tickets on the airplane to fly here and a pack that dress and I put a can of hairspray in the bag. And it exploded somewhere in the flight. Apparently, that were the luggage was wasn’t pressurized. She said I opened it up. And my last beautiful dress was completely unusable from this point on mean to the point where you literally have to throw it away. And I’m looking at her and she seems to be at peace. And I said, Why are you not more upset about that? She said, Well, we still have each other. And I think it’s kind of a good thing. I lost the last thing that tied me back to the money. Because we’ll be okay, we’re not gonna starve. We definitely had to change our lifestyle. And who knows how we will end up in the long run, right? Obviously not giving up. But I’m okay. God is with us. My husband loves me, I love him. We’re gonna be alright.
Kimberly Holmes 17:33
So the takeaways for this is really coming to that to that place in your heart, even maybe before having the conversation of money is not the end goal. Having the strong relationships, strong family being together, that’s more important than anything else. But to have those conversations, start with that vision, work together to compromise cut spending where you can and that can help you get through a looming recession or any other financial difficulties that your marriage faces. For further help. We would love to help you if you want to know more, not just about the finance side, but about how to really get your relationship to be the best that it can be. We can continue to help you with that at marriage helper. We have way more behind what we have been talking about here that you can find through workshops and courses that we have. Just go to marriage helper.com. And if this has been a helpful episode for you, share it with a friend and please leave us a five star review. That is the best gift that you can give us and guess what? It’s free doesn’t cost any money. It helps the show to be able to reach even more people. Dr. Joe, thank you for joining me.
Dr. Joe Beam 18:45
Thank you for having me.
Marriage Helper 18:46
I’ll see you all next week.