One of my many writing projects is a book about how we got out of debt. As I piece together a timeline of numbers and milestones, it’s been interesting to see the process, how it started, how it kept going. How some of the changes we made took a long time. Some of the changes were scary and intimidating and I remember how I often wondered if this was the right path. If we were pushing ourselves and making hard changes that we would soon regret.
It’s also reminded me of how resistant my husband was to some of my more radical ideas in the beginning.
The first response to cutting our $90 a month cable package and selling our DVR was, NO WAY.
Of course, it was hockey season and the Canucks were doing well. And we had a lot of movies stored up on the DVR. Movies that would of cost us a lot to rent. But Movies that were rarely found the time to watch.
Despite the emphatic no from my better half, I had planted a seed. And a few weeks later the topic came up again and he said, maybe after hockey play offs.
Another month passed and by then we decided to just try it out. We would cut the cable and sell our DVR at the end of the playoffs.
We tried it. And we liked it.
Cutting cable set us up for the big one: getting rid of our car.
That was also met with resistance. I showed Chris some spreadsheets, how much the car was costing us in insurance, maintenance and fuel, and what we would save if we sold it, used ZipCar or rented when we needed to and rented out our parking spot. By my calculations we could save several thousand dollars a year plus whatever we got for the car.
Again, the seed was planted and the idea grew. At some point in the summer we said yes, we were going to try it. It took us a few more months to make it a reality. It’s now been almost two years since we’ve owned a car.
Now I think back and it wasn’t that my husband was resistant, it’s that he needed time to process the change. I’d been sitting with the idea for weeks before I sprang it on him. I was also proposing things that would impact him more than me. I’d spent a lot of time not owning a car. I’d also been without cable for long stretches in my childhood and adulthood.
If he had turned around and asked me to give up meat or to move to the suburbs, I would have had a hard time saying yes immediately.
The last two years have been full of change for us: for my husband even more than for me.
He’s made a dramatic career change and moved overseas.
Despite logging 15 years as a musician that toured through North America he has never lived outside of the Greater Vancouver area.
I did my undergraduate degree in the US and spent four years of my 20′s moving between London, Ontario and Victoria, BC. All of my five siblings have lived in another country or moved cross country. My parents are immigrants. Moving abroad isn’t that strange for my side of the family.
My husband has been exceptionally resilient and exceptionally open minded with all of this change. With me getting rid of our stuff and our car and the cable TV.
Be patient with your spouse and family. I remember so well the manic energy I had for decluttering and cutting our debt and bills in the beginning. I thought about it constantly. I schemed and planned and made goals for the week.
And then I expected my husband to psychically absorb all that planning and reasoning when I told him we needed to get rid of the 85% of his wardrobe he never wore. He didn’t need to hurry up and change, I needed to slow down and be patient.
Anyone else been frustrated with slow change and how long it can take to get family to agree to try new things?