Tips like these helped us pay off $127K in debt. You can read our story in Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
Paying off debt isn’t for wimps. It’s especially not for wimps who are married. Honoring one another is key when it comes to paying off debt AND remaining married at the end of the journey. Here are 7 Things to Do for Your Husband While Paying Off Debt.
Before you get all, “Oh, no she didn’t. She needs to tell my HUSBAND what to do for me while we’re paying off our debt. SNAP SNAP,” know that I’m working on a companion piece for husbands that you pass along to him (as long as you don’t violate the principle of Quit Nagging in this post).
Our kids were young when we began our debt slaying journey (infant and 5). After a long day of nursing, changing diapers, quelling fits, finding fun things to do that didn’t cost any money, and as they grew older breaking up fights, as soon as the King of Free hit the door, I was ready to explode. Most days, I had a list of grievances prepared (“She did this and what are you going to do about it?!”) along with a list of things I wanted to get done the minute he hit the door. I discovered through experience that it was a better idea to pause and greet my hubs in peace—even if I looked and felt bedraggled. Allowing a few minutes of decompression where he could change out of his work clothes, eat something and move into the home without being bombarded was important. I am the first to admit that I still struggle with this (today’s list includes a 6-year-old who didn’t take a shower when she was supposed to and a tween who decided to use my expensive-to-me haircare product on her sister without asking before said shower occurred). Give him 15 minutes, ladies, before you overwhelm with your own list.
Bow-chicka-wow-wow … there is one marital activity that does not cost a single red cent, y’all. And the fellas, they love it. And if you’re honest, you love it too, but it may take a bit more time to warm up to the idea. (Side note: I had a high school teacher who once said boys are microwaves, girls are crockpots. The incredibly accurate innuendo totally flew over my head. Now I get it and I still love the teacher, but ewwwwww. Wrong, just wrong.) I’m not going to go into graphic detail here so you can’t look me in the eye the next time we meet, but let’s just say this element of your marriage is incredibly important. Don’t phone it in or smack him away. ’Nuff said.
Tell Him How You Feel.
Your husband is not Carnac, Zoltar or a Magic 8 Ball. He does not know everything you are feeling. He cannot hear the conversations going on in your head. You are going to need to tell him when you feel afraid, confused, overwhelmed or discouraged. But take note, there is a difference between sharing your feelings and delivering a beat down about everything he’s doing that is wrong.
Express Your Gratitude.
Thank you is such a simple turn of the phrase. However, if you are to pay off debt and keep your vows, you need to reintroduce it into your regular vernacular. It was one of the 7 Things to Say to Your Spouse When You’re Paying Off Debt I have shared before. Both husbands and wives sacrifice everything from personal time to sleep to emotional energy in the pursuit of paying off debt. Saying “Thank you” goes a long way.
Turn Off the TV or Your Phone.
Hi, my name is Cherie and I’m addicted to my phone. I jump when it makes a notification pop. I rush to it first thing in the morning to see the headlines, forecast and my feed. It drives my husband batty. I have made the conscious choice of never bringing it into the bedroom, but I could still stand to put it away and leave it alone when my husband talks to me. You may not be tempted by your phone. You might be tempted to read or knit or watch TV or conduct scientific experiments or plot out a plan to end world hunger. When your spouse is talking to you, shut it down. Even if you’re curious or concerned or bored. Shut it down.
Quit Yo’ Nagging.
Here’s what I don’t want you to hear. I don’t want you to think that I’m encouraging you to shut down, never voice your opinion, allow someone to roll all over you or be some sort of Silent Susie who doesn’t say “We need to do this, now.” However, there is a great temptation to speak to the ones we love the most with the least amount of respect. Maybe it’s because we feel so comfortable. Maybe it’s because we feel safe enough in their love for us. However, there are times when I catch myself saying things to my husband that I would NEVER say to a friend or a stranger. Yes, that dripping faucet seems to bother me more than it does him. But then again, my nagging probably sounds like a dripping faucet. Choo! Choo! All aboard the crazy train.
Let’s be honest. Your budget for hobbies zeroes out when you’re paying off debt. You rarely eat at restaurants. Luxuries? Pbfft. A thing of the past, but there are ways you can spoil your husband. Make him a favorite dinner. Encourage him to hang out with his friends. Let him choose what you’ll watch on TV. You know your husband better than me. You know the simple pleasures that bring him joy. Seek them out and make them a part of your regular routine. Create sacred spaces of rest and encouragement. Since your resources are limited, it might be a challenge, but I know you are creative enough to pull off something magnificent. One word of wisdom, learned via experience—sometimes I spoil my husband in the ways I’d love to be spoiled. He never seems to mind; however, just because one spouse loves a certain simple pleasure, the other might not have the same inclination. It’s a bit tricksy, you know?
What would you add? What actions have encouraged your husband in the process of paying off debt?
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out I on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!