February 23, 2009

home economics

illustration by Sam Flores

illustration by Sam Flores

My son is a huge superhero fan. Last time we were in San Francisco, we found a shirt his size with an illustration of several popular superheros as children by Sam Flores. I've tried to keep up on his stuff from time to time. When I saw this piece to the left, I felt a connection with it and it sparked a few thoughts in me...

Personal finances seems to be one of the most argued over issues within marriages. For Brooke and I, this is certainly true. Growing up, I remember my parents arguing about money quite a bit. This tension often increases for couples who are homeowners.

Today, a homeowner may find themselves owing more than their house is worth. You can end up feeling tangled up in a constant mess of home maintenance and projects that often end up costing more than people figured into your budget when you decided you could afford to buy. At times, Brooke and I have felt constrained by our home mortgage–binding us to a lifestyle that doesn't measure up to our dreams or ideals... Suddenly, your home owns you, to paraphrase Tyler Durden. Coming to this realization is what I like to call, "Waking up from the 'American Dream [Nightmare].'"

This sense of being "trapped" adds a huge stress to relationships. I find a lot of strength in my life through my relationship with Brooke. Her love for me gives me endurance in chasing my dreams and remaining faithful to my convictions. I want to protect and nurture what I have with her.

So, how do those of us that are idealists balance relationships and mortgages with our ideals?

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Jason Coker said...

I drink and smoke in moderation. That helps.

Here's how it works with me: when I'm not providing very well because of my ideals (like now), I get anxious and depressed. When Jenell engages me in conversation about money I get defensive. Every inquiry feels like an indictment. I snap at her. Being the fighter that she is, the favor is usually returned. And so it goes.

On good days knowing this comes in handy because I recognize it beforehand. My instinct is to clinch up, but I can choose to be humble and not so self-important. I can remember God. I can remember Jenell is not my adversary. I can lay down my guns and be open and transparent. When I am, we usually find grace to reassure each other and move forward.

That's it man. That's the best I've got.

Jason Evans said...

Thanks, Coker. What helps you remember to remember that this is how you want to handle things?

Jason Coker said...

Sorry for the long delay...I just happened to check back.

I like the old saying that there are two wolves at war within us. The one that wins is the one you feed. I always pursue what I want, but I have conflicting desires. I tend to "remember" well when I've been feeding my better desires.

As I write this I'm noticing Kenneson's book on your bookshelf. He has quite a bit to say about this.

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