It’s 3 AM. Do you know where your money is?
You and your partner have decided to buy a house, and your fear is that your credit report will show a bankruptcy you never mentioned before getting married. Or, your long neglected student loan is learning to play the violin in case you have to resort to becoming a street musician for extra cash.
Money conversations can bring up a wheelbarrow of emotions in spite of the binding marriage vows. This gets very personal, this is all about trust.
So, how do you dig yourself out of this hole?
First, communicating with those closest to you. Your posse, the people you feel safe with. As you start sharing your financial situation, and you will see those people not run away and not judge you, (they have their own issues) you will feel a bit more courageous, and wee bit more secure with yourself.
Second, get a grip on repaying the debts, creating a sustainable commitment, even if it is $25 a month. Keeping your self-commitments is the beginning point to building self-respect and self-trust. "Owning your stuff" is where self-respect sits, next to trust.
Thirdly, keep a journal and be compassionate with your efforts. You need to feel good about coming ‘clean.’ That’s power.
Fourth, sitting with your partner and being able to present your debts with a plan shows inner strength and character. Angry as he/she might become, keeping your dignity and being able to talk about the shame that the debt triggers, gives you power and control.
YOU need to be the best caretaker of your mind, heart and body. You have heard this so many times: if you don’t put yourself first, no one else will. If you commit to truly owning your ‘stuff’, you will make a better partner and have a richer life.
Be a full person first, the rest will follow like dominoes.