Can a small salary destroy a family? What is the reason for the quarrels - lack of money or lack of understanding? How to survive the financial crisis in a single family? About this argues the head of the St. Petersburg Orthodox Association "Marital Meetings" Archpriest Alexander Diaghilev.
“Finances sing romances” and family disorders - is there a connection?
Usually people who come to me as a priest complain separately about economic difficulties and separately about problems in the family. Another thing is that when we begin to understand, it turns out that the connection is often present. And this is not always the result of a general economic crisis.
There are people who have problems with getting a job, for example, because of internal fears, insecurity in their ability to do something qualitatively and make good money. The basis here is infantilism, more often it is male infantilism.
For the same reason, it happens like this: a person works honestly, spends too much time at work, appears at home for a short time (leaves early and late arrives or regularly leaves on business trips), and as a result brings little money home, but is afraid to lose his job and even stutter that his work is more expensive. This can lead to family conflicts, and sometimes even to frank attacks of jealousy - a woman begins to suspect her husband: “In general, do you work? Or maybe you're doing something else? You always have little money! ”
A situation may also arise when the wife earns more than her husband — the husband may feel psychological oppression, especially when the wives reproach the husbands with this. Because of this, disruptions, aggression, withdrawal into various forms of surrogates, such as alcohol, computer games and so on, occur.
As a priest, in such situations I tried to read notations to people about patience and humility. Now I approach this issue in a slightly different way.
The fact is that over the past hundred years the family has been very transformed. And we get a conflict between the idea of the family, which we learned from our ancestors - great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, and modern reality. The traditional idea is that a man should be a getter. But this was true for those times when the majority of women were engaged in household work, and the social status of men was higher, and men were educated on average better than women. The peculiarity of our days is that women are often better educated than men, and can earn more than their husbands, because they are more accurate, responsible, and suffer less from alcohol dependence. It is impossible to return to the previous situation a century ago - for this it is necessary that the social status of a woman sharply falls.
This contradiction between the old ideas about the family and the current reality puts pressure on both husband and wife. He has a complex: "I am an inferior man, my wife earns more than I do." And then a man can either relax and perceive his wife as a mother (and women, of course, do not like this), or this complex stimulates him to change the situation, to develop for some reason, for example, to receive additional education, to increase attentiveness, to the acquisition of new skills, to get rid of addictions, and so on.
Where does infantilism come from
Many modern Russian women have an attitude that, as an information virus, is passed down from generation to generation from women who have survived the war and repression: “I must be strong, men cannot be trusted, you cannot rely on them, and what to do is life like that.” As a result, women are hyper-caring for the boys, without giving them the opportunity to develop the independence and responsibility for their own decisions. And girls, on the contrary, are taught: "You're a girl, you can."
Men are often not affected by the upbringing process, because, again, in the post-war generation the idea came up that raising children is not a male occupation (therefore, men almost never go to pedagogical universities), that a man’s task is to earn money, give it to his wife, taking off further responsibility for the family, and even repairing sockets and taps at home. And the rest - the woman herself will cope ...
A man wants to be strong, responsible, decisive, but he has no idea how to show his strength in his own family (except how to beat his wife or children while drunk). He was left no place in the family for the manifestation of masculine strength, they are not ready to listen to his opinion, but to physically influence his beloved people and force himself to obey, in fact, he does not want to, he is ashamed of himself later if he raised his hand at someone . He did not see an example in childhood that mom trusted dad and consulted with him, more often mom decided everything herself, and she put dad before the fact, money was at the disposal of mom, and dad, in the best case, had a “nest egg”. And he perceives that it is so.
The woman, in fact, wants to be weak, she wants to trust the man, but right there this same desire is blocked by that very internal attitude: “You can’t be strong, don’t trust him!” - especially if mother acted in relation to dad, and a girl from childhood saw it. She will grow up and will saw her husband for weakness, while doing everything so that he does not become strong, responsible and independent.
Income - total
The economic situation is now basically unstable. It used to be, in Soviet times, many got a job in their youth and worked in one place for decades. Now this is happening less and less, it is not known who can lose their jobs, who can get it, who can be transferred to a low-paid position, or suddenly get a promotion. And if today someone from the family receives more than the other, this does not mean that it will always be so.
It is important to understand: "Our family incomes are OURs, not mine and yours separately." God gives these funds to us as a unit of two people.
Instead of fixed roles - constant dialogue
For a family of the early twentieth century and previous centuries, rigidly assigned family roles were characteristic. We still have archaic ideas, and the type of family has changed. And the old views stop working.
Often, the realization that the family no longer has to live according to the ideas of a hundred years ago, helps reconciliation. It is necessary through dialogue to find ways of interaction between close people. This means that no one should guess anything by default - everything needs to be negotiated. If one of the spouses thinks that the other will guess something, but he didn’t guess, this does not mean that he didn’t guess badly, it means that people haven’t agreed. That is why there was a need for such programs as “Marital Meetings”, “School for Parents and Carers”. In essence, these are family dialogue training programs.
When turning to friends for support, you need to understand that they can both help and hinder. Often, friends themselves do not have a family life. For example, a divorced woman can offer her friend, who has problems with her husband, a way to solve the problem that she once chose herself: “And you get divorced!” Although she herself can suffer from loneliness. But the example of people who do not get divorced because they just tolerate each other is also not the most inspiring. And if friends tell me that the way out of the family crisis is a properly built dialogue, this will be real help.
“What makes us family?”
There is a general answer: “We are made a family by love, mutual understanding, intimate relationships, joint economy.” To this can be added the item "children born to us." But the answer to the question “what makes us a family here and now?” Is not always obvious. Maybe it’s worth it to ask yourself regularly. And each time you have to answer it a little differently. It is not a fact that what makes us a family in a particular situation will always make us a family or will help others to feel like a family. In this case, do we feel like a family or, on the contrary, does it separate us?
On the other hand, overcoming difficulties also helps the couple feel like a family. It is relatively easy for one to live when all is well. But disaster should happen - for example, fell at home, tucked up or even broke his leg - and who goes to the pharmacy for groceries? It will be difficult to call a doctor by phone. And if it’s a stroke or a heart attack, you can only die because no one provides first aid, doesn’t call a doctor, doesn’t provide a life-saving medicine ... So during the crisis, it helps you out that you are not alone.
As stated in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward in their labor: for if one falls, the other will raise his companion. But woe to one when he falls, and there is no other who would lift him. Also, if two are lying, then it’s warm to them, but one how to keep warm? And if one of them begins to overcome, then the two will stand against him: and the thread twisted three times will not soon break ”(Ecclesiastes 4, 9-12).
“Look at you, and enough of you”
Often, oddly enough, the first reaction to a crisis situation in the family is positive (if there is no gross oversight due to which a person was fired). The murmur begins later, when for some time there is no money for everyday basic needs. And claims to neighbors begin, caused by the external situation, problems.
But it happens the other way around: people refer to external circumstances, and if you dig up, the matter is in their internal state. In any case, you need to approach the issue from a spiritual point of view and look for flaws in yourself, and not in another person.
Oddly enough this will sound from the lips of the priest, however, I will quote Sigmund Freud: “The only person with whom you must compare yourself is you in the past. The only person you should be better than is who you are now. ” It's true. Rev. Ambrose of Optina also said: "Look at yourself, and that's enough from you." With regard to our topic, we can say: "Look at yourself, not at the husband (or wife)." And the question: “What can I change in another person, and not in myself?” Is an initially incorrect approach.
Without sacrifice in the family can not do. However, in a family, each spouse should, by and large, live easier than one. It is said: “it’s not good for a man to be alone” (Genesis 2, 18), so it should be good for both of them, moreover, for each of them individually, and otherwise - why create a family at all? So sacrifice is necessary, but not all the time and not "in one gate."
A sober assessment: lack is not always a sin, hobbies are not always infantilism
One of the highest virtues is sobriety, a sober assessment of oneself with recognition of one's weaknesses and acceptance of them. Something should be accepted with humility, something with the thought: “It is worth working on it.” We must understand that our shortcomings are not always sins. The word "lack" comes from the word "lack." If I am missing something, this does not mean that I am sinning. But acquiring new positive qualities is good.
I don’t know how to play the piano and, most likely, I will never be an outstanding pianist, but this is not a sin. Nevertheless, if in principle I learn to play, for me it will be a certain development that can stimulate something else.
Even a hobby can become during a crisis - a new source of income. Of course, if a hobby takes a lot of time and because of this a person begins to have problems at work or in the family, then the claims of the second half are understandable. But it also happens that a hobby is just what a person should do, just at some point he decided that this business was not something that would give him a guarantee of financial independence. But perhaps it will help a person find a new job, and he will not only work for money, but also do what he likes.
A sober assessment of one’s merits is also important - but not as an occasion for pride, but as an acknowledgment of the talents that God has given us, as an occasion for further steps in life, in service to God and others.
Do not stoop to sin and wait for the "promised land"
I can honestly say that I myself am in a difficult situation because I was transferred to a very small church, in an area that is only formally considered the territory of the city, and in fact, around summer cottages, where many houses are mostly uninhabited for most of the year. There are few parishioners, and most of them have to come from far away, although there are churches and closer to their homes, so I am very grateful to them that every Sunday, every holiday, they decide to overcome this difficult path and come to our temple. But, in the end, there are still a few of them, so the financial situation of both the parish and my family is under constant threat, and this is putting pressure on us.
I will lie if I say that I am not at all familiar with the feeling of despondency. There are situations when it is very sad and disturbing. What strengthens me? What the Lord does not leave! I believe in Him and see that in this situation He is next to me. Sometimes on the verge, but never before had we been hungry or had nothing to pay for the apartment.
Having arrived at this parish, I somehow began to especially experience the biblical images from the book of Exodus. When the Israeli people went out of Egypt into the desert, who said that the desert would be easy and comfortable? The desert is hardship. And it’s understandable why the Jews who were brought out of slavery, nevertheless, murmured against Moses, remembered meat boilers in Egypt - although when necessary, God gave them manna, quails, and water from a stone ... A person wants stability, and here is the unknown, there are no guarantees: whether there will be manna in the morning, whether the water will again go out of the waterless rock from the blow of Aaron’s rod on it.
But you need to trust God, and there is no other choice, and still be attentive to what is happening around, remembering that if you pray and are faithful to God in His commandments, no matter how hard it is, you will not go down to sin as a “way of solution” of your problem, then one day you will see a sign from the Lord: "The Promised Land is there."
And at this moment it is also important to be prepared for change. After all, both job loss is stress, and after long unemployment, which you get used to, a new job that requires some new responsibility also turns out to be stress, sometimes even less. In this situation, a person needs spiritual support. Priests and psychologists here can help a person understand what he wants, what he is striving for, what will become for him “the land where milk and honey flow”.
Again, when Moses brought the Jews out into the wilderness, Moses didn’t know where they were going — if he knew they would go there right away, but time would have passed, maturity would come, experience should have appeared, and loyalty to God and His commandments should have been shown, before the time came to enter that very land.
The correct assessment of the situation will help you survive the personality crisis. When a person is not seriously satisfied with something in one sphere of life, it may seem to him that in other moments things are unsatisfactory. But this is not necessarily the case. First of all, conduct a kind of revision of the state of your affairs. You can do this with a pen and notebook, capturing information. Go through all aspects: health, family, work, friends, hobbies, love, financial situation and other issues important to you.
First of all, it’s important for you to see what you need to work on in your life. Secondly, such lists will help you understand that not everything is as sad as it seems at first glance.
Try to be objective and do not dramatize the situation.
Once you identify the underlying problem, it will be easier for you to get out of life's impasse. Make a clear plan of action on how to fix this situation. For example, when an unloved job depresses you, you need to develop steps to find a new one.
Depending on what you currently lack in life, set yourself goals and determine your motivation. Remember that in a difficult period of time, it is especially important for you to be a strong person. Do not allow yourself to sag. If you are very worried about the situation, set a deadline for yourself when you stop doing it. Read motivational literature, watch positive films and be sure to move towards your goal day after day.
Economic difficulties, like personal ones, can be overcome. The main thing is to choose the right strategy and not depart from the unlabeled plan. First of all, try to get rid of debt. Think about which of your loans and credits are the most important and largest. If you can’t deal with all the debtors at once, start with the largest.
Naturally, you need to become more economical and more practical. Reduce the cost of items that are not your first need. Despite financial difficulties, it is still advisable to set aside some part of one's permanent income, for example, ten percent of the salary.
To maintain peace of mind, find free ways to treat yourself. Let you refuse going to the cinema for a while. But that means you can't watch a great movie at home.
Walking in the streets or in the park, taking care of yourself at home, good books and chatting with loved ones do not cost much.
Try to support other members of your family, especially if one of them has lost his job. In difficult times, closeness between relatives, strong relationships and family ties are especially important. Rather than swear and blame each other for problems with money, it is better to look for a new place of work for a loved one together.