Why I Felt Justified Committing Financial Infidelity
**You may or may not know our story, but if you want to read about it (for context sake), find it here.**
A conversation with myself in March 2015:
‘Max’s 5th birthday is coming up, and we STILL don’t have enough room in the budget to throw him a party. Granted, we’re just trying to stay afloat with this new baby and a 3 year old, too. And I’m just soooooo tired. Tired of diapers, tired of just barely surviving each month, and tired of feeling TRAPPED...
You know, I think I remember seeing that cute Thomas the Train shirt on sale at Target. And I remember seeing that ad on Facebook for the ‘Day Out with Thomas’ coming to Birmingham the same weekend as Max’s birthday… Hmmm… I’ll just open a credit card to pay for it all. At least I still have good credit! Nic hasn’t taken THAT away from me yet. Besides, Max will only have ONE 5th birthday. It’s not his fault we have no money. And he deserves to have a happy memory. And SO DO I. Good grief, all I do is serve all my people 24/7 - we could all use a happy day to celebrate.
There. It’s done. The “Day Out with Thomas” tickets have been purchased, and I bought that cute Thomas shirt from Target (free shipping - WIN!).’
You may or may not relate to the conversation I had in my head. But that inner monologue was one of MANY I had over the course of our first 10 years of marriage. I felt entitled to opening credit cards because I couldn’t control anything else about our situation. And I wanted to feel happy… even though I wasn’t.
But do you see what that mindset created? A vicious cycle of bad financial decisions that only made our bad situation even worse. I felt justified in opening credit cards for the sake of ‘making my kids happy’. I felt justified in keeping those credit cards a secret from my husband because ‘he’d done me wrong all these years… and besides, what’s a couple credit cards in relation to the hurt and pain and misery he’s caused me?’
"I felt entitled to opening credit cards because I couldn’t control anything else about our situation."
I chose to believe the lies of the enemy. I chose to buy into the lie that I wouldn’t be happy unless I took matters into my own hands. I chose to ignore the fact I’d actually be HURTING my boys (and me!) by opening those credit cards. By listening to the deceiver, I made my situation even WORSE. Because you know what? It wasn’t really about wanting the boys to be happy on their birthdays. NO. It was about ME wanting to keep the appearance that our family was ‘doing fine’ and we had a happy life. Because I didn’t want to face the truth of our situation either. I didn’t want to acknowledge how miserable and unhappy I was.
By believing the deceiver, I ignored the truth: my kids didn’t “need” those things. What they needed was a Momma who was choosing to get the help she needed (despite the decisions their Dad was making). What they needed was a Momma who was being PRESENT with them, instead of numbing out to Netflix or mindlessly scrolling social media. What they needed was a Momma who knew her worth based on what JESUS says about her - not the messages of betrayal and rejection she kept receiving from Nic.
It has now been just over one month since we became debt-free using the Baby Steps from this plan. Nic and I are on the same page with our money since we started using a budget in October 2017 (when we reconciled). It is still surreal to feel such freedom and peace about our financial state. And it is such a gift to not worry ‘if Nic might find out about the credit cards’. It’s honestly unbelievable to me I even did that. Because now, on this side of the debt, I can’t imagine going back to credit cards or debt or deceit or keeping secrets EVER again.
Freedom is worth it all, friends. And while it is SO wonderful to experience financial peace, we never would have tasted freedom without first allowing the PRINCE of Peace to change our hearts. (If you want to learn more about that process, you can read more here.)
There is always ALWAYS hope. Ask for help, get into counseling, and have faith in the One who brings broken marriages back to life.
Please note, there are always situations where reconciliation is simply not an option. We fully recognize that. Our goal is to help couples who might still be able to reach reconciliation to get to that point.