Don’t let money woes lead to marital trouble

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Liz Brisacher Sharp’s mother, Diana Grieg, is celebrating her 92th birthday this week. PHOTO PROVIDED

This week our family will be celebrating the 92nd birthday of an amazing women — my mother, Diana Grieg. My mother and father retired to the Isle of Palms after my mother completed her doctorate at New York University. This occurred after she retired from 30 years as a speech and language pathologist (aka “speech teacher”) in New Jersey public schools.

Once in the Lowcountry, she turned her expertise and talent to assisting victims of strokes. Her aim was not just to improve her clients’ communication skills, but to also improve their bruised confidence with inspiring results. I am blessed to still enjoy her wisdom in our many discussions.

Happy Birthday, mom. We love you. I hope to honor both of my parents as I try to impart inspiration and wisdom through this column.

Dear Liz,

My husband and I are fighting more and more about money. The economy has improved some, but it left us behind and we even lived on credit cards. We are upside down on our mortgage. We have three school-aged children, who are feeling the tension and acting out more. Help.


Dear “Drowning,”

Run, don’t walk, to the best licensed professional you can find — even if you go alone first. Money fights are usually about power, but in this economy, it is also about how and where we apply our resources, and how we get out of debt.

I am a believer in the programs available on www.daveramsey.com. The Perfect Money Makeover is a book (and program) that you can find almost anywhere. There are on-line and local seminars of “Financial Peace University.” (Not trying to do a commercial here) But, it works if both partners get on board, even if one starts first.

Most people do not know how to budget, how to reduce debt, how to live on less and sacrifice and especially how to work as a team. Dave Ramsey does have a Christian orientation as well, which can be helpful, and not in a pushy preachy way.

Google the “HALO” government program for your mortgage. Your children are suffering; they are not learning communication or conflict resolution skills and certainly not learning how to manage money wisely, which starts at home at a young age.

Don’t wait. There is a lot of help and hope.

Dear Liz,

My husband just went into rehab. I am so grateful, but also scared to death. He has struggled with alcohol addiction since being in the military. He refused regular help until he became physical with me one day. But, what is wrong with me? I am scared. Will I still like him sober? Will he like me?

Silly me?

No, not silly. Just rather normal and (somewhat co-dependent.) That basically means you can’t be okay unless the addict is okay and okay with you. Part of his recovery should include working with you and on your relationship. And in the meantime, you need your own counseling.

You ask an important question. The whole family needs to be in a process of recovery. There is a huge difference between “stopping drinking” and being in recovery. Contact your husband’s case-manager about your resources. Since you are most likely on Tri-care insurance, contact them for a list of covered counselors for you (and your children.)

Thank you for your service to our country. This is a process. And a journey. Best wishes. Keep me posted.

Contact Liz via asksharpliz@gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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