Always pay your debts…

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Seems pretty obvious right?

I don’t just mean financial either. I also mean emotional debt too.

I am the first to admit that I am shocking with my own finances. I’m a “you can’t take it to the grave” kind of guy. Money burns through my pockets rather quickly. So this statement is important for me to take on board too!

Each time in my past I have managed to pay off debt a wonderful sensation of freedom washes over me. Then I dry off and get myself in debt again. This is where my lack of patience has let me down soooo many times. Definitely ‘a dog with a bone’ scenario. I have had some success at handling these types of situations, but I still find it difficult.

It’s strange too, as I HATE owing someone money. I flash back to the days I was studying. Yes  I still have a massive student loan, but I knew when I took it on board that I would eventually get a good job that would make it easier for me to pay off. Which it basically has. Basically.

Anyway, student loan aside I had family and friends reminding me to go for scholarships and grants for Maaori students. Which of course is a brilliant idea. But herein lay an extreme moral issue for me. Part of the criteria for these grants was you having to prove what you had been doing to support your local tribe/iwi. Since both my iwi are miles and miles away  from me (geographically) I hadn’t done much at all. So I felt guilty even applying for them. Plus I didn’t want to be morally obligated (in debt) to my iwi in the future. I figured if I wanted to help my iwi later on then I would make that decision and not have anyone else ‘force’ me to do it. Something I am very glad I stuck too.

Right now I am only financially in debt to the NZ government for my student loan. Along with my bank of course.

When we sign up for these loans we of course have to have a legitimate reason and we have to show that we are actually able to pay them back. We fill our a contract, sign it off and wait for the loan to be accepted. Always a nervous time. Especially if you are really, really wanting to purchase something AWESOME!! If you get declined, which I have been before, you have a huge sense of disappointment. For me I usually end up doing some retail therapy OR trying to find another avenue to get the finances I need to get whatever the heck it is I wanted so bad. Dog with a bone.

Now your probably waiting for the connection this has to my blog. It’s simple really. When we enter into any kind of relationship we form an ‘unwritten’ contract with that person. We don’t actually have a set figure or amount of cash that we want to loan from them. What we want from them is love/affection/company/sex or something along those lines. We sometimes look at these relationships as investments. We think about how much time and effort we wish to place into the relationship. i guess this is where the whole dating thing occurs. You meet, you make plans to go out, you spend money on each other; movies, dinner, etc. You have started making your investment. You both decide at some point that you want to continue this relationship and become an exclusive couple. This is where your invisible signatures are used to seal your contract. And thus begins the process of your emotional debt accumulation.

To some people this may seem a little simplistic or dramatic way to look at relationships, but I was influenced by a debt article I just read. NOBODY likes having debt. We can all nod our heads to that. What I want us to think about is the idea of emotional debt.

We do things for each other in a relationship and we usually expect to GET something back in return. Something as simple as a back rub can be seen as a debt. Picking the kids up from school. Dropping the forgotten wallet to your partners work. Cooking dinner and leaving it in the oven. Bringing flowers home “just cause”. All can be seen as emotional debt. I know that some people will read this and think “Heck no, I do this because I love them”, which is probably right. But don’t believe the hype people. Everyone and I mean everyone starts taking stock of this emotional currency. Eventually. Maybe not at first, but eventually. Then somewhere along the line the ledger seems to become unbalanced. Not always, but usually. Then resentment starts to build. One of you decides that the others emotional debt is getting a little out of hand. They need to be held accountable for this debt. How do you get them to pay this back?

You have all been a part of or seen/heard arguments like “why can’t you cook dinner?” or “it’s your turn to watch the kids!” or “you spend more time with that xbox than you do with me!”…You know the list goes on. It all becomes turn based. You, without knowing, start trying to balance this emotional debt ledger. If you are able to get the balance right you BOTH start to feel less resentment. The more you are able to invest into your relationship in a positive way the less debt you will accumulate. Seems pretty simple right? Well we all know it isn’t that simple. Nothing in relationships is simple.

Paying off this debt is more important than ANY financial debt. Bankruptcy is an option not many people like to take OR have even considered when being in major debt. I would equate this to Divorce. Which begs the question, why is it easier for people to divorce? Why can people throw away a relationship with someone easier than they can wipe out their own personal debts? I think there is more of a social stigma placed on Bankruptcy than there is on divorce. Because it happens so often in today’s society it has become accepted. Which I feel makes a farce of the concept of marriage too. For me, even though I have never been married, you only get married once. It is for the rest of your life. It should be for the rest of your life. But now, people get married at the drop of a hat. Why? Cause they know they can get out of it that easily too. If they aren’t emotionally invested as much as the other person the ramifications (emotionally and financially) won’t impact them as much.

I digress. What’s my point in all this? Well it really goes back to my post title. Always pay your debts. Regardless of them being financial or emotional once they are paid off your life will flow as it should flow. Money comes and goes, trust me I know, but how much are you willing to invest to keep the one you love? How much are you really willing to lose in the end?

  1. stevepmoore says:

    This post (and the whole blog) gives me much pause for thought about my relationship with my wife. We broke up for two years before eventually getting back together and getting wed.

    I hear what you say about the contracts and debts that exist within relationships. But I also feel that seeing only that can be consuming, and can even attract more of the same. One of the best things I learnt from my wife is that things don’t have to equal. I don’t think I really got that in ‘part one’ of our relationship, but since understanding that, I feel it has helped us no end.

    You are right: we are always keeping account at some level – that’s just being human I guess. But I feel there’s a level past that, where giving more without getting anything back has a joy of its own.

    • Thanks for the insightful comment Steve.

      I absolutely agree with you about finding joy in giving. I am naturally a generous person (hence the financial issues, giving away money here and there) so I LOVE seeing people smile when they receive something from me. It’s the whole withdrawal system that I am constantly trying to reduce.

      On another note, I would be very interested in hearing about you and your wife’s journey sometime.

  2. Alegra says:

    Great thoughts, D. When Dan and I first got married we came across the idea of an emotional bank account and how every relationship has one. The idea was we need to put some deposits in every day because there will be those challenging moments when we need to take out more than we are able to put in. I think this running empty emotionally is one of the challenges relationships come up against when two people begin to live their lives together and take on stressors/blessings like mortgages, babies, job, health issues.
    Also this is very timely because now that we have a steady income but increased financial responsibility we have been meaning to get more organized with our finances.

    • Exactly!

      We both know how ‘challenges’ can force you to take stock of your life and where you want it to go AND where you think God wants you to go with it too. It’s actually Sione’s 2 that got me thinking again. It got reminded me that what I am trying to do right now, is without a doubt the RIGHT thing.

      You and Dan have everything you need to succeed in life. There is nothing missing. You have wonderful children, wonderful familia/whanau AND best of all you have D!!

  3. esccmedia says:

    Very interesting post, bro.

    Being in the more beginning stages of a relationship, I am already noticing a large deficit in my relationships ’emotional bank/account’. I quite often put things into the account, some of which I consider considerable deposits, and I feel that the return I am getting is not sufficient – she may do one thing for every 3 of mine, and quite often something I’ve already deposited.
    When I talk about these things with her, I feel as though I’m talking to a customer rep in New Delhi – we both get confused because we struggle to understand each other, and things sometimes end up worse because of it.

    So I am left thinking, as much as I currently like my bank, perhaps it is time for me to find another bank that will give me a better return/interest rate.


  4. EC, you have been thinking about this for a while I’m sure. And I know that what you are saying is the truth. You have been trying to communicate with her every chance you get and she,well both of you, are not on the same page. You are in the “what to do now?” mode. Only you can make that decision bro. Only you have all the information to make that decision too.

    I think you already know bro. What ever decision you make I will be here to support you regardless if I feel it is not the best decision for you. Thats what friends are for!

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