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I fought with the mortgage company today.
Twice recently they told me they paid our homeowner's insurance out of our escrow account.
Sounded good to me, because that is what they are supposed to do.
But then our insurance company emailed me to say, in not so many words, "Hey, ya'll gonna pay your homeowner's insurance or what? Because come Oct. 1, you'll be without insurance and that would just suck."
(That's my loose interpretation. I'm sure it was more professional than that).
I dialed the mortgage company AGAIN, only to have a nice customer service gal look up our account and sheepishly say, "Looks like we were supposed to pay it. But we didn't."
(Keep in mind, this was the third call. A call just 20 minutes earlier to the mortgage company and a different customer service rep told me they had paid it, but sent it to Illinois, even though the address on the statement was in Texas).
Quite the confidence builder, if I must say so myself. Who are these people and why do they torture me so?
Any hoo, I realize these are first world problems. And we have cash on hand, so I'm not worried about our mortgage company holding our insurance payment hostage -- or, in their case, not knowing what exactly they did with it. It's like a hostage they have misplaced.
(We will pay the bill and I'll fight with the mortgage company another day).
Wouldn't you agree, though, that bills and financial uncertainties rarely have a calming effect on marriage?
Nothing screams "no sex tonight" like "I spent the day on the phone with the incompetent mortgage company, and our homeowner's insurance is about to lapse. Don't leave the iron plugged in, okay?"
In most marriages, financial stress is a real mood killer. Maybe it's a mood killer in yours.
Here are 3 ways financial stress damages sexual desire:
1. It's a huge distraction.
Money problems drain energy freakishly fast.
And it's not like you don't already have enough on your mind, what with the lost permission slips, boatload of laundry and over-optimistic promise you made to bake 4 dozen cupcakes for some fundraiser (which sounded noble at the time, but now is a huge thorn in your side).
When we are overwhelmed with wondering how certain bills are going to get paid, we have little energy left to nurture sexual connection with our spouse. We just feel too distracted, too spent, too done. Nothing left to give to the relationship and no desire to make love.
2. It diminishes our sense of security.
When people don't feel financially secure -- especially wives -- they tend to not want to be emotionally or physically vulnerable. (The husband dynamic of this may be that he feels inadequate as a provider, so he doesn't want to be emotionally or physically vulnerable).
Yet, tender vulnerability is what ushers a husband and wife into profound sexual intimacy. I'm not saying financial security is everything. But most people have chosen to live a life that carries with it a sundry of financial obligations (rent, mortgages, cell phone bills, car payments, etc.)
If we have financial obligations and can't pay them, we don't feel secure.
Resentment grows, insecurity increases, motives are questioned. Sex becomes unbearably laborious to navigate -- if a couple can navigate it at all. In those moments, we feel especially exposed -- and not in a good way -- because we can't escape the feeling that security has already been compromised.
3. It fuels division.
In some marriages, financial stress is causing so much division that there is increasing doubt about whether their covenant commitment can even survive.
Division is the go-to method of Satan, and he will do whatever he can to destroy that which is designed by God. Satan particularly has his sight set on marriage.
Precarious finances create the perfect scenario for the enemy to further divide you and your spouse.
As the chasm widens, sex becomes nothing more than collateral damage. The emotional costs maybe are apparent, but the spiritual losses often slip under the radar -- which, not surprisingly, is exactly as Satan would have it.
Financial stress and division in a marriage often go hand-in-hand.
I am humble enough and aware enough to know that some financial struggles in a marriage are not of the couple's own making. Job losses, injuries, illnesses, natural disasters, family circumstances and so forth sometimes put people in financial desolation that they could neither have prepared for nor rectify.
I remember getting a comment from a reader who shared how difficult their finances were because of ongoing medical treatment their child needed. Obviously, they weren't being irresponsible with their money. They were simply trying to take care of their kid.
In those situations where the financial chaos was not of their own making, my prayer is a husband and wife are able to gain a perspective that keeps them united -- emotionally, spiritually and yes, sexually.
If your financial stress, though, is more of your own making, then I encourage you to consider what is at stake. As painful as it may be to make changes and dig yourself out of the mess, do it.
Do it as two people on the same team with a shared focus to build a foundation that will strengthen your marriage. Even in the midst of the mess, you may find that your sexual desire increases -- if you are on the same team fighting the financial battle together.
And if you have never been in financial stress, I encourage you to not wait to decide to live below your means. Resist the urge to believe that happiness is found in nicer things, when true richness is found in the depth of our relationships, particularly with God and with our spouse.
God is amazingly faithful and full of hope. No matter your situation, if you seek His Word and heart on finances, marriage and sex, you will find He has great interest and insight in how you handle all of those.
And if your mortgage company happens to forget what to do with your escrow account, remember -- it's a first world problem. Go have sex with your spouse, get some sleep and then deal with the mortgage company in the morning.
That's my plan. Just sayin.