I’ve always heard that money issues are one of the top reasons for divorce in the US, but when I went looking for statistics about causes for divorce, I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a reputable source to justify this claim.
Sooo, who knows? But, I did find this law office (site here) that provided a Top 10 list of reasons for divorce in America. Don’t know how reputable it is (would have loved to see a Nation-wide survey done by someplace that is not affiliated with making money from divorce….like a Gallop poll or something), but here ya go:
Top 10 Reasons for Divorce in the US (according to these guys):
8. Inability to have children
7. Loss of Interest
5. Lack of communication
4. Addiction Problems
3. Social Networks
1. MONEY ISSUES
So there you have it.
I bring this up because my husband has just come off a 16-day work stint (yes – 16 days in a row with no days off). Right now we are lucky to be in a place financially that money is not a big issue. We have enough to pay all of our bills and put a hefty amount toward debt payments each month. If we really stay nose-to-the-grind, we’ll be debt free in just another 2-3 years! That’s fabulous, right? (especially considering when I started blogging in March 2014 we had almost $150,000 in debt!!!!)
Well, yes. It’s certainly a good thing. We haven’t had an argument about money in a long, long time. We may have disagreements (like, he wants to put more toward savings and I want to put more toward debt), but no actual “fights.”
But you know what we’ve had a couple arguments about lately? Time. I was originally going to title this post “Time versus Money” because those feel like the two options we’re having to select between.
Husband’s business has been crazy busy lately (he owns a small wood flooring business). This is an awesome thing because he could unexpectedly have a solid week off work if a job were to cancel, or there’s subfloor issues that need to be fixed, etc. etc. etc. We can never “count” on the next job so his motto has always been that he must work while there’s work to be had. Things always traditionally slow down around the winter holidays. No one wants someone ripping up their floors and making a mess over Thanksgiving or Christmas, ya know?
So the issue is this: time or money. What’s more important? I’ve been feeling like a single Mom a lot lately. I do it all: cooking, cleaning, yard work, taking care of the dog, the kids, household chores and errands, etc etc etc. Meanwhile, hubs has been working basically all day, every day. He usually works doing flooring from 7am-4pm, then he might come home for a couple hours, and go back out again in the evening to do bids. Then he comes home and takes time to write up and email out estimates. Plus, the phone calls are incessant. ALL.THE.TIME he gets calls from customers, his employees, the stores he sub-contracts through, etc. It’s endless. So I’ve been feeling a bit neglected and sorry for myself. And when I bring it up, the question is always the same: Would you rather me work less and make less money???
Knowing that this is not how things will be forever I just grit my teeth and bear it. But it was certainly interesting to see “careers” listed at the #9 reason for divorce. I think this whole time-issue that I bring up could certainly fall under the career category.
Anyway, this is just something I’ve been thinking about as of late and wanted to bring it up.
Between the options of time or money, which would you select and why? I’m sticking to our debt-reduction goals and picking “money” right now, with the knowledge that inevitably we’ll have more time down the road when business slows down a bit. But it still doesn’t make the present very fun!
Like we mentioned above, addiction is one of the leading causes for divorce in the U.S. If you or your spouse is suffering from addiction dont let it destroy your life. If you want to learn more about rehab check out this real-life alcoholic story.
Hi, I’m Ashley! Arizonan on paper, Texan at heart. Lover of running, blogging, and all things cheeeeese. Late 30’s, married mother of two, working as a professor at a major university in the southwest. Trying to finally (finally!) pay off that ridiculous 6-digit student loan debt!
I have personally been down this road…years back when I was in my 40’s (I am 66 now). Honestly, I wish I had allowed more time to kick back with hubby and daughter and enjoy life a bit more. Yes, we paid of debt faster but working that hard takes a toll on a person…some in the present…some later on. Your children are only young once, and need to be building memories with their dad as well as dad and mom as a team. Yes, we are still together and strongly so but do feel we “wasted” a bit of our youth striving for the “buck”. Think carefully about the whole picture…not just the immediate goal…then decide. There are no guarantees in life at all.
Some good points here. I definitely think husband’s level of work is not sustainable long-term. But the goal is for him to get away from the installation portion eventually (and, instead, spend his days in a shop doing the “business” end of things – marketing, bids, etc. during the day). I certainly appreciate the comment that there are no guarantees in life, though. All too true!
Ashley, I’ve been there, too, except we had four children. I think I would just look on it as a season of your life. I would definitely go for the money. I am not saying this because I value money more than family life. I don’t think that at all. But right now you have an opportunity to change your family’s life for the better by throwing as much at debt, and as hard as you can throw it, right now. When that debt is gone, you will have more freedom to choose how to spend your TIME. You said yourself that a break will probably come during the holidays. That will be here before you know it! Hang in there.
That’s similar to what I think. Good points made by Financial Fan.
We actually had to make the decision a few years ago for my husband to walk away from a six figure income working as an executive director for the world’s largest retailer (or Voldemort as we lovingly refer to it), with a company car and gas card and $20K+ bonuses, because he was on call literally 24/7. As in, people were salty about him not answering the phone at 2am. He would come home at 7:30pm, kiss me and the baby, grab some dinner, and head to his home office to work some more. The stress of having to be “on” all the time eventually took a toll on his health, and he had to go on medical leave for stress-related heart problems. At 30. That was not a sustainable life for us, as this was pretty much the company culture for upper management so there was really no end in sight for his work load to become more manageable. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he got the news that one of his friends in a similar work position as him, a healthy and active 51-year old man, dropped dead in a store parking lot from a heart attack. It was a big reality check for him, and for me as well. I would rather have my husband alive and making less money than keeled over from a heart attack in his thirties. The money was nice, and we had no debt aside from a mortgage, but the health issues and stress sealed the deal. He took some time off to finish up a degree and do some nonprofit work, and now he is employed at another company doing what he loves with room for advancement, and making enough for us to be comfortable without having to be consistently on call. I do miss those big bonuses, though. 🙂
All that to say, if this is a season of life then I would probably power through with the knowledge that his time will likely free up as the business grows and he potentially hires more employees to shoulder more of the load, or that you will be debt free in the near future and it won’t be necessary for him to bring in as much so he could slow down a little. Just keep that in mind when resentment starts to creep in. Be sure to make a little time for you too, even if that means getting a babysitter for a few hours just to sit in a coffee shop by yourself and read a book or something. If it preserves your sanity and helps you recharge a bit, then it’s money well spent!
Wow, how scary!!! I think in situations like this (working all the time, etc.) there has to be an exit strategy. It’s not realistic (nor is it healthy) to have this type of lifestyle forever!
I know what you mean about the constant phone calls and no-work around Christmas. BF is part-owner of a local concrete and tile company. We both just took a week of vacation from work together and I could have thrown his cell phone out the window!!
YES! The phone calls are the worst! Even when he’s “off” he’s never really off. Fortunately, I’m kind of used to this. My mom is a realtor so growing up, she always had to be available by phone for customers and house showings, etc.
This is horrible to say but my daughter got married on 8/16 to a loser and I hope she gets a divorce. She works all the time and he sits home looking for a job (wink, wink) and playing xbox. I hope she wakes up before they have children together.
Oh wow, that’s super recent! Are they young? I know many (generally male) friends who had a season in their life like this during their early-mid-twenties. Hopefully your son-in-law gets his act together sooner rather than later!
I can totally relate to this since my husband and I both work 60-80hrs a week (don’t worry we don’t have kids ;). I think it’s a hard balance because the short term goal is to pay off debt but that is only a small part of having a good life which is your overall goal. Sometimes you have to realize that there will always be obstacles in life and you can’t live trying to get through something (ie I just need to get by until I finish my education, until my kids are x age, etc). If you just get by, you miss everything. This is a bit rambly and I don’t have an answer that will help you. What I do is once a month we have a great adventure. For us this means one day no cell phones, no tv, we go out hiking,biking or camping just enjoying the moment. It really recharges me. Hang in there you re doing great! I admire your drive!
A little tough love here—Ashley, it seems your husband is working very hard to pay off debt, and a great deal of this debt is what YOU brought into your family with astronomical student loans. I don’t think you can complain about this situation! Just sayin’!
Literally laughed out loud at this. Yes, yes, very true. Good perspective-bomb ; )
It’s hard when you are self employed, because you have to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak. Remember it is temporary and make the most of the time you do have together.
Danger Danger! It is concerning that you threw out the big “D”-word in the title of the post, and then shared your feelings of being like a single mom lately.
I don’t know if your post was just an innocent question about finding the right balance, but to me, it looks like a fast approach to the danger zone – that you are sharing these feelings publicly instead of working through them with him. If I discovered that my wife had said something like this in a public forum, it would throw up a HUGE red flag that there is a serious issue we need to work through.
In today’s business world – success often comes at the expense of relationships and balance. (Read this and ask yourself if this is the kind of life you want for your family: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/why-pepsico-ceo-indra-k-nooyi-cant-have-it-all/373750/)
I am grateful that you have extra income from your husband’s business right now but it may be time to put some focus on your marriage, together, and come up with a balanced way of investing in your relationship along with your investments in your careers, kids, and debt payoff. My reaction to this post is that it is a private matter that you two need to talk to each other about – soon – rather than talking to the Internet about it. That can be a slippery slope. Is the BAD community really any different than Divorce Reason #3 – social networks? I would strongly caution you about bringing up open relationship struggles on the blog – for your sake.
I also echo Anonymous’s comments above – sounds like his hard work is enabling your family to pay off debt that is mostly from your education – careful not to lose the perspective!
Hope you can have a serious heart to hear with him soon. You can get through it! Think of the days when you’ll be debt-free! You stand to be wildly successful and very comfortable!
I appreciate the concern! Honestly, we are in no way in a divorce-mindset. I was originally going to just talk about the time versus money issue, but then decided to couch the issue in the larger divorce context because of the obvious connection between divorce and money issues (that career was one of the causes for divorce was a surprise to me). I think this is actually an issue that a lot of people can relate to. I think one of the main reasons that we’re placing so much value on work now is so that it doesn’t have to take main-stage in our lives later (since we’ll be free from debt and have much more flexibility in terms of choosing to work, etc.) I really liked Ro’s perspective (above) that there are no guarantees in life. I do think we’ll continue pressing on for now, but we have an exit strategy in mind (in terms of work) and I fully believe that this pace will let up in the next couple of months over the holidays. It will be a nice little reprieve.
good, i’m glad there’s nothing serious. debt payoff is easy and exciting at first, but when sacrifices stretch into months and years it can really build up anxiety and resentment if you aren’t careful.
we’ve learned through this process that we can be totally content on a restricted budget and with both of us reaching for additional income opportunities, but we absolutely must use a part of our resources (budget, time, etc.) to build up our relationship. That’s the balance. you may have to budget in some date nights, or turn away a customer or two in order to spend time together, and sacrifice something else from our budget if necessary.
good luck – 16 days in a row is probably too much – you could certainly make do on a little less income if that got him a day off every now and then.
maybe he’s approaching the point of hiring somebody else to manage jobs – and he can grow his overall business that way by freeing up time to pursue more customers?
I totally agree!
Regarding the change in business model – I hope! We’ve talked a lot about it. He certainly has enough work to warrant an additional hire. The problem is more of finding the right person. He’s been burned in the past with employee-issues and its challenging to find good people. He’s on the lookout though. That’s definitely where he wants to be headed (and me, too!)
Girl, I hope you prepared yourself for some serious backlash on this post. The D word is no joke! I do understand what you mean though.
I’m thankful that I’ve been able to break my husband’s work-a-holic ways. We don’t need him to work overtime, so why do it? Nobody ever reaches their death bed and says, “boy, I wish I had spent more time at work!” I’d rather lead a more simple life than have him be a slave to his job.
I have a friend who’s hubby works almost non stop, and she wears it like a badge of honor that he is never home, works long hours and isn’t around for family time. How is that a good lifestyle???? Interestingly enough, they are up to their eyes in debt! No thanks!
Yikes! Your friend is a perfect example of the hamster wheel – debt means we must work, then we buy more, work more to pay for it, buy more, repeat. No thanks! Once we are debt free, we’re never going back (with the exception that we’ll probably have to incur some debt to buy a home….but we’ll try to pay it off ahead of schedule, too)
Adam put my exact thoughts into words. If you will be debt free in 2-3 years and hard-work is the only enabler, you need to stick with it.
Unfortunately I am sensing a negative thought pattern in your posting lately despite the fact that your posts sound cheerful and bubbly. Struggling to decide what is a want versus need, wanting to get a “modest” 2000 dollar table, complaining about fluctuating pay and now the “d” word due to hard work your husband is willing to do… May be I am reading this wrong. I hope I am.
You are doing so well putting a budget together getting rid of debt, prioritizing your debt and snowballing your debt. Don’t let negative thoughts get in the way.
I appreciate the comment. I wouldn’t worry – we really are fine. I just think there are so many issues related to debt beside the actual debt, itself. It helps to get others’ perspectives and hear others’ experiences throughout the debt-repayment process. And, sure, we all have good days and bad days (myself included), but I would certainly consider myself a mostly positive person. Sorry if some of the posts have sounded like they’ve had a negative undertone!
I didn’t detect this undertone. And I like that you don’t just write about successes but also about obstacles (like the now smaller pay from one of the universities; or the time consuming calls with the cable company). To me it’s totally understandable that there is frustration about those things (as well as juggeling all those chores atm).
Make sure that you and your husband get a break every now and then though.
But it sounds like your expecting one during thanksgiving / christmas anyway, so maybe you can reward yourself a little bit with something fun during this time. (Not telling you to spend crazy money; but there should be plenty of cheap ways to make nice memories.)
Life is all about finding a balance. I didn’t get the sense from this post that you are considering “D”, but from an academia background…just doing some research. It is important for all young married couples with kids to make time for themselves. It’s very easy to get lost in diapers, bills, bottles, daycare, etc. and forget about what made you a couple to start with. I know you appreciate how hard you husband is working and is on board with the debt free quest. I do think it’s time to take a night off just for you too. This should be something scheduled in regularly – even if regularly is every two – three weeks. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be just the two of you. Being debt free is a great and attainable goal, but if at the end of 2 – 3 years, you guys look at each other and realize you have forgotten what brought you together, there is a problem. Don’t forget to take time to nuture your marriage. Consider it the most important investment you can make in your debt free journey.
I definitely agree! Hubs and I have talked about needing to do a date night more regularly (even if only once a month). I just hate how expensive babysitters are and the fact that we don’t live close to family! Our sitter charges $13/hour, so we’re talking an easy $50 minimum, not including whatever we do on our date. I tried to ask a Mom friend about trading care but she was pretty “meh” about it (they also have family close by, so they get free child care that way). I’d love to find a high schooler that I can pay a little less, but no luck so far.
And, by the way, you are correct that we are in no way considering/talking about/thinking about divorce. Sorry to scare some folks! That was not my intention!
A long time ago we made the choice that time would come before money. It wasn’t always easy making ends meet, especially when I became a stay at home mom so we could have more family time on weekends, but we stuck to our guns. Now, 16+ years into our marriage, we’re so happy with that decision. We struggled our way out of 60k in student loans plus credit card and car loan debt, and we’ve been debt free for 5 years. Thanks to a company that prioritizes results over working extra hours, my husband has progressed further in his career than many coworkers who work 60+ hours a week. I guess I’m trying to say that you’re at the beginning of this debt journey and might be looking at it differently than you will 10+ years down the road. Do you want to say that you forfeited family time for a faster payoff, or be proud that you were able to find a balance? I know I sound biased, but I’m happy we found that balance.
I think I may write a whole post dedicated to this topic (balance), so before I launch into a whole response I’ll just say that I think you’re right that it’s a tough choice. I’m a firm believer in working to live, not living to work. Know what I mean? ; )
Not sure if it’s really a time or money kind of question but rather one of “balance”. I was married for 14 years and then got a divorce. We had a severely disabled child despite both of us being in perfect health (his disabilities were due to a random gene mutation that was discovered a few years back meaning it didn’t come from either parent-we were tested). 90% of parents of special needs children get a divorce In our case, we worked opposite shifts to care for our son-I worked days and he worked the night shift so we never saw each other. We did date night in the beginning, even if it meant making a nice dinner at home. Once I was divorced, I was working full time but always 12 hour plus days which didn’t bode well with a special needs child. I changed jobs and got one that paid more however I vowed never again to do that. I took a job with less travel and my new motto was that when I was at work, I was at work and when I was at home, I was at home meaning no more business at night. I always had a full briefcase of stuff to do every night prior to making that decision. I was still able to make a very good income however I just drew the boundaries. I couldn’t be two places at once. I made sure to get home earlier and spent more time with my son. It wasn’t easy and at work it was just so busy and stressful when every second of every day was accounted for. Although divorced, my ex husband and I still work really close together for our son (most people no matter where we are at still call him my husband and think we are married, lol). I still have to work hard at balancing things since it’s a lot of work and I don’t get much sleep caring for my son.
While I totally understand your husband wanting to take on every job, you have to figure out a way to get a little balance and reconnect every day. At the present time, I’d cut him a little slack since he’s working so hard to support your family and get you both out of debt. I know you are working hard too. What I do think is important, is to begin to develop your vision as to what you want your life to look like when you are out of debt. That might mean, defining those work/home boundaries better so that you don’t have to go through this again. In the meantime, plan a little date for the two of you, even if it’s just two hours or so at home, where no business can be discussed. Order in your favorite comfort food for the hubs, put on some nice music, a little candlelight and a beautiful table. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I always love the way eating by candlelight changes the conversation. A lot of small business owners do the same thing as your husband, work all day, bids at night and then estimates. It’s not easy. Good luck.
I am my dh’s second wife. When married the first time he worked alot of hours, out-of-town,
and night turn. He didn’t spend alot of time with his two daughters and when we married and
also had two children, he decided to put family first. Like dh said not many get the chance to
do a do-over with their life but he did. I understand the need to pay off the debt, but how long
till your dh’s health is affected and you or he feels resentful because of all the time away from
your children. Granted we have no where the debt you have but we live on less than $2800 per month take home. You husband is killing himself if he keeps this up. Cheryl
My spouse and I have been independent consultants for just over ten years now and for probably the first six we worked way more than we should have or needed to because we were afraid the well might dry up. but it hasn’t and we have relaxed. Vacations, rest and relaxation are necessary. It will all even out eventually. Focus on being together when you can and be thankful for ability to get out of debt so fast.
Well I’ve been on both sides. First husband made good money but all he did was work no family time. He missed most everything with our son. My son has lived with him for many years when we got a divorce. In this case he’ll think nothing of giving our son $200, but almost never does anything with him. So even though we live 600 miles apart our son is a lot closer to me. He literally tells me everything which is very cool. He doesn’t talk to his dad about anything. My ex said, “I have plenty of money to give, but not time.” He doesn’t have to work as much as he does–it’s sad really.
My current husband doesn’t make much money. We do ok together although right now is really tight while I’m on unemployment and going to school. It’s only til January though. I will say family is #1 with him. We do everything together. When my son would come up for the summer he taught him so many things. The man can fix anything. Honestly we make about $75K less than my ex–probably close to poverty for some, but I know I’m way happier with things this way. I’m a 1000 times happier than I was when I had the supposed “good life.”
Even listening to how much your family make in your posts seems like a lot to me sometimes, but I’m sure you have a higher cost of living than me too. I live in Maine in the sticks. It’s not cheap, but way less than a lot of people. Sadly up here $9-10 is an average wage. Lots of people graduating from college up here then working at McDonald’s. We just don’t have high wages on average.
I worked a lot after my divorce mainly because I had to, but I missed so much of my sons life. You don’t get that back. For me it’s no contest family is everything.
love this story. it always seems that the people who give up the rat race for the sake of prioritizing family swear they are happier.
I also wonder if you just need some time for yourself maybe even with other adults and no children. I can only imagine what it’s like taking care of twins with no family around. I know when I was a single mom with just one 2 year old away from my family it was daunting at times. Both you and your husband sound like you’re working hard all the time. Perhaps one of your goals could be finding a great babysitter for less, or making more close friends in the area that may be willing to swap? Could you go on lunch dates while the girls are in daycare?
I think the lunch date idea is one of the most viable ones, particularly since sometimes husbands’ jobs will finish mid-day or something happens where his day is cut short (e.g., if its storming he can’t make cuts outside). The “making friend” thing is so much easier said than done! I would LOVE to make more Mom friends in the area. I’ve been to a couple meet-up groups and know a few neighbors with children, but it’s always felt a little artificial when we’ve gotten together. I do consider myself to have a couple “real” friends in Tucson, but most don’t live very close, and some actually live pretty far (like 45-60 minutes…makes it an ordeal to coordinate kids’ schedules and try to do a Mommy meet-up)
I just wanted to let you know that your husband’s goals are definitely possible. It is actually kind of strange, but you remind me sooooo much of my cousin. She also has twins and her husband owns a hardwood floor business. The only difference is that she is a little further down the road than you.
When my cousin and her husband were first married, he worked ALL THE TIME. I remember feeling sorry for her, because it seemed like she was a single mom. But his business grew and he hired more workers, and now he does mainly office work. I don’t know all the details of their debt, but I can tell you that they own a gorgeous house, new cars, and they go on several vacations every year. They struggled for the first 5 years or so, but they seem to be living a great life now.
That’s so awesome for your cousin! I’m a little torn because, on one hand, that sounds like a great life that I would love to have! But on the other hand, I really, really want to eventually move back to Austin to be closer to family (which would mean the husband’s business dissolves). The better husband’s business gets, the harder it is to justify a move. But I guess if we were able to afford several vacations a year, then we could go visit family frequently!
My suggestion? Enforce an un-breakable date night for just the two of you. We’ve been in these seasons also, where one or both of us are just always working, and it does take a toil on the relationship.
Making time together mandatory is an important solution. In your case maybe it could be every Thursday evening having someone come and sit with the twins while they are asleep, while you and your spouse go out for three hours for dinner and a mall walk ( no movie, you need to be able to talk!). Or every Sunday afternoon from 1-4 being set ‘family time’ where you play games, go to the park or etc.
The main thing is force some time together and make it unbreakable. It will help. Try it. 🙂
I love these ideas – especially the set “family time”! Thanks for the comment!