We knew moving here would involve living on drastically reduced means, but knowing it and living it are two different things. We have expenses we never had before, salaries that aren’t what they used to be. Money challenges aren’t something we’ve constantly had to deal with in our marriage, but we’ve never learned how to deal with them well. Every dollar sign seems connected via flinching raw nerve to some murky place that’s roiling with arguments and resentments and unspoken self-esteem issues. I hate fighting about money because it never feels like it’s about money, it feels like it’s about … oh, you know. A thousand other things. Who works harder, who bears the biggest burden, who’s more responsible. Sometimes things can go to shit so fast — thirty seconds of defensive, angry conversation and look at all the damage that was done. Jesus, everything was fine just a minute ago. Now: smoking ruins as far as the eye can see.
So we pick things up and tread delicately for a while and we say our apologies and slowly things get back to where they’re supposed to be, and oh, thank god. But all of that takes work, and it isn’t easy. Love is easy. It’s humility and forgiveness and self-awareness that isn’t, sometimes.