Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Together We Mooch, Divided We Pay: Relevant Marital Matters

While "a couple breathing life into their marriage personifies love," it's admittedly a force of will when a family falls on hard times, and a couple is tested. Facing your children and trying to explain a job loss alone is wrenching. It's in times like these that taking the long view is the difficult but advisable path.

In fact, work it out together creatively. Take inspiration from writer, Judith Levine, who along with her partner Paul committed to stepping off the consumer treadmill for a year. She chronicled their experience in Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. I found this part of her account particularly inspiring:

Not shopping connected Paul and me with community in concrete ways. We
devoted more time to activism and more money to favorite causes. Meanwhile,
I paid off an $8,000 credit card debt without really trying and haven't run
it upagain. I still shop less than I did. And on more or less the same
income, I give away much more money than I used to.The shopping hiatus
reminded me how sweet it is to take home the perfect pair of trousers or sit
in a café watching the world. Unless you're a monk, material abstinence does
not magnify the spirit. Still, compared with either consumption or
abstention, the best soul-grower is social connection.

Not shopping isn't necessarily the answer, it's the mission behind it that counts. They were united in their effort, even if one was not so enthused at first, and they connect with others. And, don't forget your sense of humor! One journalist couple decided to put their mooching skills to the test as a couple. Their friends may be shaking their heads, but they are working together on their pretty entertaining quest. And that's the point...together.

For better or worse people...it's in the fine print.

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