‘Man Flu’ is an actual condition
This is definitely a thing. It is an actual condition. As a Doctor I have seen some very sick people and hence I do admit that my threshold for actually conceding that someone is sick is fairly high. Even so, I still firmly believe that males are not as good at functioning when they are even mildly unwell.
Females on the other hand, even if they are coughing up blood, and breathing with an iron lung, can still manage to get up three times to breast feed their children, get up early to get the kids to school, perhaps even manage to get to work, come home, help with homework and cook dinner. She may or may not take a couple of Panadol to help her through. Stopping is not an option.
Male/husband on the other hand will need to sniffle, cough, and splutter his way through the day. He will need multiple words of sympathy and encouragement and take days to recover. The severity of illness may range from simple sniffles to the actual flu (man flu) however the manifestation is the same and will need the same degree of caring/rest/soup and tissues. I am the kind of person who would have to be vomiting blood from my eyeballs before I call in sick. I imagine I will be even worse now that I work for myself. However, I have learnt to have double standards when it comes to my husband. I understand that his threshold of illness is just not quite as high as mine. Men need some serious sympathy at the mere sign of sniffles/headaches/cough. I have learnt to use ‘man flu’ as an excuse to love and nurture him. I make him chicken soup. I rub his temples. I scratch his back and I make him lemon and ginger tea. I understand that he may need to rest more, be loved more, and that is so okay. He has man flu. It is a condition. He can’t help it. I can help to restore him back to full health. What a privilege. Mark has man flu as we speak. I am about to make him a lemon mint smoothie and give him a head rub.
Think of ‘man flu’ as an opportunity to love your husband. It will help you through I promise you.
Excellent. That has been established. Very important. Let’s move on.
I am nervous to talk about this topic. There was a temptation for me to not write about this as I in no way feel qualified. Nor do I consider myself an expert on this matter. It is, regardless, sincerely on my heart at the moment. There are two reasons for this. Number one, I am aware that it is one of the two leading causes of marital breakups. These are finances and the death of a child. The second reason that it is on my mind is because yesterday Mark and I went through our finances.
I am not going to lie. Finances is definitely something that Mark and I can do better. In the past our desire to be generous has perhaps overtaken the wisdom of stewarding our resources well. Being a good steward of our resources and living within margin, as well as living very generous lives is something that we are still learning to find a healthy balance of. While one day perhaps I will feel confident to provide more advice on the practicalities of this, presently I do not, as we are just working this out for ourselves. I would however love to talk about some mind-sets that Mark and I have learnt together regarding finances in marriage over the years. While we do not have all the answers yet. My desire is that in sharing my heart, it will open up conversation and perhaps we can all learn together. Here goes.
Get rid of the credit card and the ‘need to have immediately’ mentality
We are such a right now generation. Since there are banks throwing credit cards at us, shops offering interest free products, coupled with our materialistic Western mind-set, it is very easy for us to slip in to a false sense of entitlement for things we actually do not need.
For example. I, like a lot of people, use my lap top constantly. I got it three years ago. It’s a simple mac book, and I have used it for study, writing, business, and life every single day. Recently the mouse and many keys on the key pad broke. Given that I use it in almost every facet of my life, when it first broke, I felt immediate panic at the thought of not having it. However since Mark and I have currently only launched our business we are not in a position to replace it unless it was to go on a credit card (which we do not have) or an interest free payment plan.
I went through a series of emotions. After the initial panic, I decided that I could not possibly cope without a laptop. Once it was established that it could not be easily fixed, my mind went to how I could possibly replace it right now. For I ‘deserved’ it! After all this was not pleasure, or frivolous spending, it was my livelihood!
I am a writer. I need it for my business.
Plus we could put it on an interest free repayment at our local Harvey Norman so I could get it immediately with no negative consequences right?
Why did I immediately think I was entitled to a new one? Why did I think I could not possibly wait 6 months without one? If the option was not there what would I do? I’ll tell you what we did. Mark and I got a little mouse that he found spare at his office, and attached that to the USB. He found a little Bluetooth keyboard at Harvey Norman for $20 that he linked to my computer for! It works fantastically. My lap top is a little cumbersome and not quite so portable. But it works. And I don’t need to go into debt to get a new one. And it will be just fine for a few months until we wait and SAVE to buy a new one. Wait and save… being the operative word. When I get a new one, I will be filled with such gratitude and enjoy everything about it.
I am finding that our mindset here in the West is need focused. So entitled. We want things immediately. We think we need them. As a result some of us have lost the ability to wait, to appreciate what we have, and to save. Mark and I have learnt over the years that if you can’t afford it right now, don’t buy it. Save for it. Sometimes in the process we have realised we didn’t need it anyway.
So cut up your credit card my friends. Get a debit card instead. Don’t buy what you cannot afford to have.
NOTE: I recognise some very mature people use credit cards for legitimately frugal and strategic reasons, and can do this with total self-control. I find this inspiring! I am not talking to you here… I am talking to the other 80% of us that are not quite in your arena yet!
Talk about everything
In our marriage Mark is definitely the finance person. I love to earn money, however my mind just does not excel at doing budgets and spreadsheets. Mark however ‘froths’ on that stuff! He loves order and structure. While he manages a lot (all) of the finance for our business and our lives, we talk about everything. We talk about how much is coming in, what expenses we have, and how much is going out. How much is going on the loan, on generosity, on rent and on other bills. We have a goal as to how much we want to save each week. I know what we have for groceries, petrol and spending. We have goals for what to do with our savings (e.g. get out of debt, save for a deposit on a house and go on holidays).
Because we discussed and have agreed on everything with our finances, we have common goals. Being unified prevents us from ever arguing about money. I feel like we are like a little team.
Indulge each other in one or two things you love
Mark knows what is important to me. I know what is important to him. We allow for indulgences that we know are important to each other. For me, I love to treat myself to lashes, and I have a gym membership! Mark loves to have Nandos and an unlimited coffee budget. Seriously. He adores coffee. (He also loves Bibles which at the moment we had to curb as it was getting out of hand). One day Mark Greenwood I will buy you and all your friends your 400 dollar premium Goat skin Bibles whenever you want.
My point is that even though he is the ‘finance man’ we talk about everything. We partner together. We communicate what is important for each other to splurge on. We know what we are working towards. It is like a little glorious team.
Budgets are important but Do not overrule God’s voice
Mark and I have learnt that even though we may have a budget all set up we never want to hold rigidly to it if we feel an invitation to give generously over and above what we have allocated each week. Sometimes in our marriage one or both of us have heard God about giving various amounts of money or buying various items for people on our heart. We have learnt to trust one another and to be obedient.
Plus giving makes me actually become a little drunk with joy so I think it blesses me more than anyone else
Sincerely. Mark knows this is true.
While I believe in being resourceful with what we have, we never want ‘margin’ or budgets to replace the ability to hear God’s voice and miss the opportunity to be opulently generous at His invitation.
Follow love, not need
This is a huge lesson that I have learnt through our years of marriage. I used to hear requests for money or see a need and feel instantly to give. However I have learnt that there are always going to be stark needs all around and opportunities to give everywhere. While it is very important to have compassion and sometimes totally right to give when there is an immediate need, other times it is so okay to take a breath and ask the Father. I have caught myself giving where there is a need but not necessarily from a grace for it in my life. I am then giving out of obligation rather than out of Love. There is not a whole lot of wisdom in that.
There have been other times where I have felt to give to someone who does not appear to need anything! Usually it feels like a gentle invitation from the Holy Spirit or a huge overwhelming Love for a person. We have found that when we are obedient to this then that is where we have seen truly miraculous timely provision for that person/family.
Don’t get me wrong, other times there will be obvious need and it will be right to give. My thoughts are to take a breath and always be motivated by Love.
I cannot believe I am already over 1500 words (my Mark Greenwood induced word limit).
I think I spent a little too much time talking about man flu. I have no regrets.
I wonder if this has been useful? Finances are something Mark and I are constantly seeking further revelation on. This is just what we have been learning so far. There is so much more that we can learn. I so desire to learn how to steward what He has given us with wisdom, generosity and margin so that we can handle the increase that He undoubtedly has in store for us all.
Being Blessed for me looks like everyone on my street being looked after
More thoughts to come.
I pray you are enjoying this marriage series and that our transparency will open conversation on a subject so close to my heart and the Fathers.
You’re deeply loved and richly cherished.
The Healthy Hiccup