Dear Wood Nymph,
I know this is going to sound awful but after being married for two years now I am more miserable than happy. I thought Greg was going to change that. You know, that once we were married I’d start feeling more positive in life but I don’t. I still feel like I’m missing something and Greg keeps telling me that all I ever do is mope. I don’t think that’s true but he doesn’t seem to try and makes things better. He just reacts and gets mad. I’m not sure if I want to keep trying in our marriage or just leave.

Los Angeles

Hello Kathy,

One of the most common mistakes that especially young people make when they are married is that they believe that once they have a mate that mate is going to make them happy. That NEVER happens. The truth is and I will quote Doctor Kinder and Doctor Cowan—marriage was never meant to be the antidote to personal difficulties or dissatisfactions. Yet to most of us it assumes that position in our lives. They go on to say that the truth is it’s a whole lot easier to blame somebody else for something that’s not quite right than to look inside and realize that we are the only ones who ultimately can change our experiences.

If you were my daughter I would also tell you what Rainer Maria Rilke, the poet had to say:
If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse
yourself, tell yourself you are not poet enough to summon up
its riches, since for the creator there is no poverty or poor
unimportant place.

 I have a challenge for you—Whatever you do today say to yourself that you love doing it…yes, I mean even the most mundane things like washing the dishes or going to the market, or if you work, whatever you’re job is…Just put love into whatever you do—work or play--and see what happens.

The Wood Nymph



                                        The Wood Nymph Series

     There is no doubt about it, money problems are at the root of most family fights, broken homes and divorces. One statistic tells us that lack of communication is the major reason for these sad endings but, let’s face it, when most husbands and wives get into deep financial woes and/or over their heads in debt they stop talking to one another and start bickering and arguing. No, we must agree that its money problems that head the list for troubled marital

     There a reason why this is so but you might not want to hear it: Most young people are indoctrinated with the notion that marriage is about love and devotion. I dislike breaking that bubble but I can tell you right now this is not correct and this is why so many marriages simply do not last. Now listen closely—love and devotion is about the marital relationship while the marriage itself is about the business of the marital partners of that relationship. I’ll explain it this way: The relationship we have with our spouses is all about the emotional and psychological ties we have with them; that is about our loving and caring; our sexual communion of being together and the pure joys of living and sharing our daily lives one with the other. The marriage on the other hand is about acquisition and financial security; it is the business of the committed partners which is about cars, and home ownership, furniture, investments and savings accounts. If young people were taught this much in their homes and schools we would have much fewer young people jumping into marriages for the romantic myth of it all. After all, even from ancient times marriage itself has always been about land ownership and creating heirs—and in fact, no matter what you have been led to believe, love was never a prerequisite
for marriage until Freud came along in the 20th century—that’s only around a hundred years ago folks. In many places around the globe—even today—parents decide who their children will marry and so loving each other only occurs sometime after the ceremony and as the couple slowly grow in the marriage as committed partners.

     The point being—we are NOT our marriages just as we are not our professions or jobs. We are—as married couples—the co-managers of the marriage and like every other business partners it is up each to run the “business” successfully. Unlike other businesses marriages do not profit as such of course but rather serve more like holding companies—That is, where all the stuff like diamond jewelry, television sets, table and chairs, golf clubs and so on are kept as the marriages commodities. The more money and commodities the more successful the marriage! It is possible of course to have a happy and very successful and rich marital relationship and in a marriage that is a failure and impoverished. This is true in reverse to—some people have very successful marriages with all the material wealth imaginable and yet have unsuccessful marital relationships.

     If people were taught only this much about marriage they would be far more apt to make sure that they had a proper nest egg and a plan for a successful financial future before walking down the aisle and cutting the wedding cake.. Unfortunately, we romanticize the concept of marriage and, truth be told, too many couples wed without giving much thought at all to how they are going to create their marriage financially secure in the least. As a result, the most in love couple prior to marriage end up blaming each other for their financial suffering, for not having everything they thought the marriage would provide and the next thing you know…separation and divorce.

     Think about what is being said here with as much clarity as you can muster—there are plenty of exceptions I am sure but isn’t most of the money problems your having right now because you simply did not really plan ahead; you did not think through your decision making and you were, in a term, immature in most of your motives and decision making.

     Could this be? Well we must generalize here as people end up behind the financial eight ball for all kinds of reasons but, in general, a lot more married people are enduring serious money problems because they didn’t have a financial plan to begin with and so the business of their marriages failed just like any other poorly run business will eventually fail.

    Okay, I know, you’ve stopped by the survival station for help on surviving your financial troubles and you feel that so far all you’ve gotten is a hand slap for getting yourself in the mess you’re in. The motivation for sharing the above was not at all to condemn (or hand slap) anyone for ending up with a stack of money problems. After all we have a culture that supports debt as a means of having and then condemns the debtor for having more than he or she can afford. That’s a double-edge sword, right? Right!

     Why the above is written is for another reason altogether—it is to remind you (or inform you) that you are not your marriage and that your marriage should in fact be viewed as an entity outside yourself; something that you cannot any longer assume that as long as you and your spouse are getting along okay, then your marriage is okay. This, as stated in the above, is not at all the case. You may be having a wonderful marital relationship with your mate while your marriage is going broke. And, accordingly, once the marriage is in deep financial problems most typically the marital relationship begins to fall apart also. Indeed, your marriage is something that you and your spouse needs to take care of and nurture—after all, you would not open a hot dog stand and expect it to run itself and yet people invariably expect this out of the marriages.

     Now then, with all this in mind, what happens to a marriage when it falls into overwhelming debt or there just isn’t enough money to sustain it? Like an ordinary business it endures hard times and often, like ordinary businesses…it goes out of business but in the case of marriage most of the partners do not walk away, taking their losses and continue on as friends but rather end up divorcing, and if there is children, end up confusing and hurting them as well. Breaking
up a marriage can be much more disheartening than breaking up an ordinary business!

     But what can be done once the damage is already done? That is, once a marriage is in deep financial trouble, how are problems between husband and wife avoided so that their marital relationship survives and as a result so does their marriage?

     First of all, it doesn’t matter which mate (or if both) are responsible for the financial problems, it will only destroy the chances for survival if both mates blame each other or one mate blames the other for their money problems. All blaming serves is the destruction of the partnership. And anyway, the real truth is usually that both have played a role in creating those financial problems anyway. It any case, no matter who or what is the cause, DO NOT turn on each other because all you're doing is excusing yourself from the responsibility of facing the actual problems. And what I am saying here is do not fight each other but instead fight your problems…together!

      If you do not expend your energy on wasted accusations and/or giving excuses for past actions and put both your minds to work on structuring a plan that will reconstruct the marriage’s holdings and work toward the goals that you set. This can take a lot of courage since when it comes to finances there is seldom a quick fix answer—debt that you possible made in 3 minutes can take years to repair much less to pay off. It simply isn’t easy to overcome mistakes that you’ve made for the construct of your marriage but, I promise you, it will be a lot easier and the results will be far more positive if you have actually committed yourselves to truly fight your problems instead of each other. There is one last thing: now and then when the problems are really to impossible to solve remember that it is not the end of the world to bankrupt your marriage as marriages can be reconstructedit is the end, however, if you bankrupt your lives together.

     Are you having a difficult time trying to make your marriage survive and succeed? Send your questions and/or tell your story to The Wood Nymph.

     If you would like to submit your story or question CLICK HERE.

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