ChevGirl Writes In And Says “My Marriage is Suffering Because of Our Debt”


“Dear Steve,

Well I am not thinking about death or anything, I am a Christian. I am just having a very difficult time with our finances. The stress is becoming unbearable. My marriage is suffering because of it.

Me and my husband work in agriculture, we do not make much and we are $55,000 in debt. I have payments to make almost every day of the month and hardly have anything left just to live. I don’t know what to do.

Should I avoid bankruptcy and try debt Consolidation?


Dear ChevGirl,

Not that long ago i wrote an article about getting out of debt from a Christian point of view. You can read it here.

I am so sorry that your debt is causing stress and hardship in your marriage. Those feeling seem to emerge as a byproduct of fear, loss and blame rather than as the result of anything either of you did. In a perfect world it would be much better for the two of you to sit down and have a quiet and open conversation about what you are feeling and why you think you each feel that way.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Here is what I have seen over the years of helping others and enjoying the luxury of observing these situations as a third party.

When you are up against the wall and the bills feel like they are closing in on you it is normal for people to feel tension and stress. I have found that a big component is the regret and pain that it creates in our lives because of lifestyle changes that reduced income impose.

When everything was going along great, we tend to enjoy a certain lifestyle. Maybe that is going out to eat more often, weekend trips, techno-gadget toys, clothes, or whatever. We begin to feel entitled to those luxuries and when our income can no longer support those things we begin to feel cheated and angry. Certainly we work hard and deserve to have those things, at least that is what we say to ourselves. The reality is that we are entitled to nothing, not even our next breath. Want to know more about this?
In a relationship, one person is typically the saver and the other one is the spender. It’s true, opposites do attract. In times of trouble the saver will blame the spender for all the troubles. That’s not fair. If that issue is not addressed in good times then throwing it up as the cause in bad times is not helpful and when it does happen, it causes relationship problems.

Money worries also cause irrational fear, depression and anxiety. They create a worry about what tomorrow will bring and real trepidation about what will happen next. That’s a whole lot of stress for one or two people to deal with. That stress tends to manifest itself as curt conversations, strange looks, tense voices, lack of intimacy, no love, no tenderness, depression, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, forgetfulness, and on and on.

All those secondary issues are just the symptoms of the underlying issue, the money stress. Until that is addressed, all these other things don’t typically get better.

So let’s look at your situation. It sounds like you are in over your head. You have three choices:

  1. File Bankruptcy – You can contact a bankruptcy attorney through this link and find a local bankruptcy lawyer to help you to go bankrupt. Bankruptcy is a legal, logical and reasonable path for many to follow when faced with overwhelming debt and no expectation that it can be repaid as the creditors demand. The only downside here is that you need to clearly think through your personal opinions about your faith and bankruptcy to make sure you are not creating any secondary guilt if you decide that bankruptcy is the best path for you to follow.
  2. Pay What You Can Afford – You could either pay your creditors what you can afford or try a credit counseling or debt management program to get one consolidated monthly payment and see if that is sustainable for you. Unless you can make all of the five to seven years of payments then you may be throwing good money after bad. But a credit counseling program may certainly be a reasonable holding tank for you while you decide. The debt management approach may diminish some of the collection pressure you are feeling at the moment.
  3. Do Nothing – Doing nothing is always an option but almost never a good one. However, if you are uncertain about what to do right now, take a nothing break for a week or so, investigate your options and then decide on a course of action to follow.

As you travel on this journey I have seen many a marriage end in divorce over debt problems. Many of those relationships didn’t have to end that way if the couples had found a way to communicate and work together as a team rather than working against each other through blame and anger.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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