Client Q&A: Linda Potgieter
“I used to hold on to guilt wondering how to balance time with my business, my husband, my kids and not lose my mind. What I found out is it’s not actually not that difficult! “
“The first thing to remember is that you and your spouse are a team, so lashing out at them is not going to help the team. Being patient through it all until they get it will be difficult and will be frustrating but it’s important to stay the course.”
I want to dive into your perspective! What was your wife doing that caused distrust in your marriage?
Oh wow, it wasn’t terrible but it was just enough, you know? We were trying to get on the same page financially and paying off our debt and go forward in a good way. Then she would go to visit her mom in Vegas and would stop by a casino… and once she gets the bug it’s hard for her to stop gambling.
So from time to time we would have a talk about it and I would really try to communicate my frustration with it but trying to be merciful because she’s my partner, you know. If she falls down I need to pick her up as best I can.
But was it really the gambling itself that caused distrust or the result of it?
The result was bad. You know, however much money it was, was just gone, just like that. And it was going against the direction we talked about and had agreed upon.
Your wife told me she put you guys in debt 3 times because of her gambling, what kind of debt are we talking?
It wasn’t any worse, to be honest. It was only ever a couple hundred dollars here and there – not like 2,000 dollars. It was more the principle of the thing that hurt.
As the man of the household how did it feel to be working and bringing the money in, only to have a spouse who wasn’t sharing that financial vision to pay off debt? Did it put pressure on you?
It was very frustrating, like pushing a giant rock uphill only to have it fall back on you. I don’t want to be harsh with her but the situation called for a pretty urgent reaction. But I didn’t want to overdo it.
I wouldn’t say it put some pressure on me, I just felt stuck.
How long did this go on?
It went on for the first 7 out of our 10 years of our marriage.
You guys are not on that path anymore, so what brought the change in your life?
There are two parts to it really. The first part was every time we talked about it something finally started clicking with her about how much it was hurting me and she realized how I was trying to be patient with her.
The second part was my wife coming out to First Steps to Success and a
ll of the sudden the light really turned on as far as how we really needed to get our finances together.
It was at First Steps To Success that she picked up War On Debt, a strategy to pay off debt and felt convicted to come together with you on this vision. So what’s the end of this story? How much have you paid off now?
We have paid off $165,000 of debt in 34 months.
Are you shocked that your wife has come in agreement to no longer spend the way she was spending?
Yes, it truly is amazing and just feels like we’re on the same page. We’re still on a journey to paying off the rest of our debt and I make mistakes here and there too. But at least now we’re facing the battle together.
Did you ever feel disrespected or dishonored by your spouse when she was doing this?
Ultimately, I’d have to say yes. I didn’t feel like it was intentional I just felt like she didn’t “get it”, you know? Sometimes there’s things you understand intellectually but you don’t understand the heart of the issue? I would describe how she acted to be that way.
And how is it now, being on the other side of that?
Just being unified makes a big difference. Last year was a great year for us and there were several milestones that we celebrated in our plan to pay off debt.
Do you look at her differently?
No, she’s as awesome as she ever was. It’s just now we’re actually on the same page which is amazing.
What would you advise to other men out there or spouses in a situation like yours?
I’ve actually had this kind of conversation before. The first thing to remember is that you and your spouse are a team, so lashing out at them is not going to help the team. Being patient through it all until they get it will be difficult and will be frustrating but it’s important to stay the course. It’s important to state the situation and how it’s affecting you and give them a chance to know the truth for what it is.
Going about it in a good way is really the best way to get results in the end.