As a part of my daily journaling process, I try to recall one thing I’ve learned in the last 24 hours. And yesterday I learned that January 8th is ‘Divorce Day’ in America. And January is Divorce month. That’s right, this is the time when lawyers generally get the most files for divorce versus any other particular day or month in the year. So why, you ask? Well, why anything in the world these days? Money.
Things that cause us stress can also cause our relationships to be stressed. And in much of the world today, one of the greatest forms of stress is money stress. I dare propose that it may even cause people in the most affluent societies the most stress of all, as they try to keep up with the Joneses. And apparently, following the holiday season in America, divorce filings surge as people start to come to terms with the financial damage they’ve done. Maybe one partner perceives the other to have spent too much, or not been forthright about their spending? And maybe the other thinks the other one is ruining the season. And maybe this leads to some tension. We all know how it goes.
The perception of dissatisfaction in one’s lot in life and, by extension, their marriage, can be heightened by advertisements on TV and Instagram celebrities celebrating their seemingly flawless family Christmas, surrounded by all the food and goods that you are led to believe yours also has to include (despite the fact their goods were provided by their sponsors in order to convince you that your Christmas must include these items, but I digress).
In Spain, ‘Divorce Month’ is August, when the weather is unbearably hot. And in Germany, it’s February. Valentine’s Day, to be precise. That’s right, in Germany, a completely made-up holiday imported from America in order to sell red-and-white things in the name of our love for each other is the day most people decide to officially request to end their marriages.
So how do we give thanks for our situation rather than look down on it while not feeling like we’re ‘settling’ for anything less than what we ‘deserve’? Well, what do I propose? Focus on what you have. Get rich by feeling rich. Stop feeling like you ‘deserve’ anything and start looking at what you have to offer to others. Just like this blog is about reverse brain-washing the way you think about money, you must reverse-brainwash the way you think about many things that cost the average person too much money in their lives and ultimately deprives them of their life of freedom.
So you’re able to afford a Holiday meal with family? Great! Who needs a new iPad under the tree to look up a trendy pumpkin-spice recipe up on anyway? Heck, due to whatever circumstance, a lot of people around the world aren’t able to be with their families, or even anyone at all on Christmas (or their most celebrated holidays). So if you are, great! You’re already among the lucky! Are you going into the new year with your family intact and your head on your shoulders? WINNING!!!!!!
And if you have a little more debt than expected as your holiday spending hangover starts to lighten, don’t forget the pain it has caused you. But don’t leave your spouse based on the stress it has caused you either. Talk to them. Get on the same page. Start to value your time, and your time together, more than money or things, and it won’t be hard to enjoy your next holiday season with all the joy, much less of the stress and none of the unnecessary debt to carry over into the New Year.
And I’m sure when the time comes around again I will have some tips and thoughts on how to do that, as I tackle these challenges myself with my first Christmas at home with family in 5 years in 2018! In the meantime, feel free to leave any thoughts, questions or tips in the comments section below!