(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video Linda & I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
Are you hiding purchases from your spouse? Or, is this something your spouse may be doing?
Have you seen those memes where they are hiding the FedEx deliveries?
The FedEx guy shows up and you are taking that package and hiding it in your closet before your husband sees it.
Or do you have one of these doormats?
We put up a poll on Instagram (if you’re not following us, go follow us on Instagram @seedtime), but we put up a poll on our stories, asking people who’s done this and it’s more than half the people that responded said yes.
Before we share our story, Linda and I recorded our discussion that you can listen to on our Podcast, or you can watch our discussion below:
Linda’s addiction to Starbucks
Linda: I was hiding purchases, hard core, for a while with a Starbucks addiction. So I would basically go get my drink every single day. Sometimes I would pay cash so Bob really wouldn’t know. But I knew that he was seeing the bank statements.
I don’t know what I was actually thinking, but I was like, if he doesn’t see the cup, then there won’t be a conversation about it. And I even remember when we would be out, I got one every single time, guys. I think they put something in…
Bob: They put something in there. What do they put in there?
Linda: …but it makes you really HAVE to have it.
Bob: Yeah, it’s going to be like the cigarette companies. When you find out, wait a minute, it’s addictive.
Linda: Yeah. It’s addictive. But anyway, so we’d be out, you know, running errands on a Saturday and I’d mumble, “can I go to Starbucks?” And he’s like, what? What? I just didn’t want to talk about it. It was it was kind of a problem I had. But also, I was just like, I don’t need to hear about it.
Bob: Okay. But I don’t know, like I have not always been a perfect spouse. I don’t know if I was…
Linda: Not always, but you are now?
Judging your spouse makes you unapproachable
Bob: But now I am. I don’t know if I was overbearing at any point that helped make you feel like you couldn’t talk about it.
Linda: I’m sure there was an element of that.
Bob: I’m sorry if I was. But you had more going on than just that, right? It wasn’t like I was screaming at you every time you went to Starbucks.
Linda: Oh, no no no. For sure. For sure. I don’t think you ever screamed at me. I don’t think you are ever really that upset. For us, we are kind of on the health, what would you call that?
Bob: The healthy food spectrum? Is that a spectrum that we can be on?
Linda: And Bob would be like, this stuff is terrible for you. He’s like you shouldn’t. And then I thought, well, I’m spending all my money on Starbucks. Even if he didn’t project any of this, which I honestly don’t remember, I felt so much judgment for spending my money at Starbucks every day.
Bob: Well, and at this point, yeah I we were pretty tight financially too at this point.
Linda: No, no, no. This was later when we were…
Bob: This is when we were super rich, later on?
Linda: No, but I know we’ve talked about before. Our spend money, this was coming out of my spending money. So this addiction wasn’t directly affecting him, but…
Bob: Well this is a tangent we should take. Yeah, if you don’t have… Your hair looks great, honey.
The two budget categories that married couples must have
Bob: If you’re married and you don’t have personal spending money, if you have all your money in one big bucket, like please you, your marriage is going to be so much better if you create separate categories. Really what you need to do is you need to get our Real Money Method and do that.
But even if you don’t do that, just break out separate spending categories for each of you. We did this when we first did this 15 years ago and it changed our marriage.
The number of fights that we went from having to not having it was mind blowing. Just because of this…
Bob: …insanely simple thing of breaking out two buckets. This is Linda’s money that she can do whatever she wants with and I don’t care what she does with it.
Linda: My Starbucks addiction was coming out of my separate category. And I was spending it all on green tea frappuccinos with a quarter of the ice.
Bob: So I didn’t really care.
Linda: It wasn’t like I was taking our rent money and spending it on my green tea frappuccino. But he really wasn’t affected by this.
The addictive green tea frappuccino
Bob: Why don’t you tell them what it was like? So, Linda, this is really funny. If anybody’s worked at Starbucks, she would get a green tea frappuccino with not half, but one quarter of the ice.
Linda: I was like, they would make it with light ice. And I was like, they took out two ice cubes. I want this a quarter of the ice. Cause I, it was, it was more like a milkshake it was so good.
Bob: So yeah, so she would do this, get a quarter of the ice, but then they would feel obligated to fill it up. And so what that meant is they just basically dumped more of this simple sugary syrup in there.
Linda: Or milk. So yeah, it was super sugary.
Bob: And you loved it, it was great. It’s like liquid fudge, like that intense.
Linda: Except for it was like the, the macha. Yes. But anyway, that’s neither here nor there.
How to stop hiding things from your spouse
Linda: The point is I was trying to hide this from him. And so even though there’s a part of it, that is really kind of funny, I think, because it’s so relatable. I started realizing, is this a problem that I’m hiding something from my husband?
This was the question I started to ask myself.
Bob: It’s a good question to ask.
Linda: I just was wondering if I’m hiding this from him, would it be easy to hide other things from him and how would I feel if he was hiding things from me?
Help from the Holy Spirit
So I just started going down this path, just because I felt like I wasn’t really being honest with him and maybe there was something in there that I was just getting convicted, by the Holy Spirit.
It’s like, maybe this isn’t the best approach. That was how I got to this conclusion of, maybe I should just stop hiding this.
Being honest with yourself
But then as I started going down this path and start trying to just be a little bit more honest and open and not care. Like, honestly, I was just trying to not care if he saw the container. But. What I started to realize about myself is that I was actually super shameful about it. And I think this is the part where maybe it doesn’t get…
Bob: Shameful about…
Linda: …talked about much.
Bob: …about the addiction, about the spending, like what specifically?
Linda: I think it was just something that I felt like I was caught doing. Which is silly because he’s my husband. He’s not my parent. You do, you know what I mean?
It was just this trigger of if he catches me, I’m going to get in trouble. And maybe it was because it was something I knew I didn’t like about myself. I knew I could hear his words and I knew he was right. That this addiction and hiding my purchases from him is not the best thing for me.
I could see it in my body. Where I was like, this is not great for me. I was getting a ton of migraines and every time I get a migraine, I was like, oh man, is he going to bring it up? I’m pretty sure that I had an excessive amount of migraines due to this addiction.
Acknowledging the problem and finding how to solve it
Linda: I already knew it, but it was a problem that I did not know how to change or solve. And so the more it got brought up, the worse I felt about it. Does that make sense? So it was just like this, this whole ball of all these different things wrapped up in shame.
How your spouse can help
Bob: So what from your perspective about me, what did I do, right? What did I do wrong in any of these situations? What would you have done differently? Or what would you coach someone like me to do and to handle it?
Linda: I did tell you at one point, I was like, please just stop talking to me about this.
I think it took me years to get to the point where I just said, please stop talking to me about this. I understand. I just don’t know how to change.
Bob: So what’s funny about this is I’ve had a nail biting habit for a long, long time. And I’ve come into the same thing where there are seasons where I fight it and try to break it.
But then I’m really working on trying to break this habit or addiction or whatever, we’ll call it. Where it’s like, I want your support. I want your reminders. And then there’s other times where it’s like, I’m just too…
Linda: Because he wears like a shock collar, but it’s a bracelet.
Bob: We can talk about that. It’s called Pavlok for anybody, wants to look it up.
Linda: It’s created for breaking habits.
Knowing when to help, and how to help
Bob: But anyway, there’s times where it’s like, I’m in the fight. Yes. I want the support. And those are times where it’s like, I can’t, I’m not in the mindset, the frame of mind to fight that battle right now. So I don’t need you to…
Linda: Make me feel bad about it.
Bob: Yeah… keep bugging me about this thing.
Linda: Because it’s not helping me change. It’s just making me angry. And it’s just making me frustrated, making me feel more shameful or whatever the emotion is.
Bob: Yeah. So that, to me, based on what we’re saying, that sounds like a topic for conversation, between husband and wife. Where are you on the spectrum? Like, are you trying right now or not? And it’s like, no guilt or shame if you’re not. But I just need to know how can I help you and support you, right?
Linda: Right. Yes. And I do think that you were good about that. And I think once I finally came to that, where it was like, I just needed to know, I can’t do this on my own. I’m not in a place where I even really want to try. I know it’s wrong. And that’s where I’m like, can you please just drive to Starbucks and let me get my drink?
How to find your breakthrough
Bob: Yeah. So I think it’s worth talking about how you got out of this, which is God’s grace.
Linda: It’s God’s grace. It’s a hundred percent God’s grace because I was literally walking down the street on my way to get one. We came to visit downtown Franklin. We stayed in a cute little AirBnb in downtown Franklin, so I could walk into the downtown area and they had a Starbucks right there.
Bob: Franklin, Tennessee for anybody who’s curious.
Linda: Franklin, Tennessee. Yes. It’s great. You should totally come visit or come live here.
Bob: We don’t need anybody else to live here. There’s too many people here.
Take your struggles to God
Linda: Anyway. So I was on my way walking down and I don’t know, I don’t understand what, but I felt this thing inside me go just don’t get one. And I was like, okay. And I’m not kidding from that moment on, I just have not gotten one. And it has not had a hold on me the way it did before.
Bob: So God broke the thing off of you basically.
Linda: Literally just broke it and I prayed for years. Like, I don’t want to want these, please make it so I don’t want them. But I, I lacked the willpower to actually quit.
Realizing the affects of the addiction
Linda: I do remember at one point you told me, “do you know how much you’re spending a month on Starbucks? Do you know that it’s this much day, which is this much a week, which is this month, that much a month and this much a year.” And I was like, oh my gosh, are you kidding me? It definitely added this, well what can I do instead. It gave me some incentive to try and think of some other methods.
Bob: Having the information…
Linda: Having the information.
Bob: Like being able to see what’s actually happening.
Finding freedom and healing
Linda: What I got from this is that there’s actually freedom from addiction and hiding it is keeping the freedom and the healing from happening in your heart.
And so I honestly didn’t get to the point where I had this thing break off of me until I was very open with Bob about it. “‘m going to go get Starbucks today. Can you take me or we’re going together? Can we go stop over there?”
Bob: Yeah. That’s a really interesting point that you had to admit it, acknowledge it. Be honest about the thing that, that had happened before the breakthrough kind of came.
Bob: That’s really interesting. I never thought of it that way.
Your spouse cares about you and wants to help you through your struggle
Linda: And I do appreciate that when I would say, just leave me alone about it. You really would leave me alone. Cause I knew you knew it was a problem. Like you can see it from the outside. You know what I mean?
Bob: I care about you. You know, the financial component again, like I said, it was your spending money, so I just didn’t care as much. It wasn’t affecting our household finances as much. But yeah, I cared about you. Anything that we’re addicted to is not good. We shouldn’t have any other masters other than Jesus, you know? So yeah, so I want to live where nothing is in control. I’m not a slave to anything.
Bob: And I want the same for you.
Open communication is key
Linda: So, I think anyone listening to this, if you’re married or even if you’re not, and you have this problem, I think it would be great to go and open up to someone about this or preferably your spouse.
But also, if you are the person who someone comes to you, have a ton of grace, as much as you can possibly muster. To be able to just hear them and not have to, you know, ride their case about it or get on them about it. Or every time you see them doing something, it’s like, oh, well, there you go again.
You said you didn’t want to do that anymore. And here you go. There’s a way to just even when you are biting your nails, I’ll just kind of do this. Sometimes take my hand away because sometimes you don’t want the help. And I think it’s okay that sometimes you’re not in that place.
And also that you can just pray and ask God for breakthrough in this area. Right?
Throwing a brick vs. writing a letter
Bob: I was just, I forgot what book it was in. I was reading a book yesterday and the woman used an illustration about communicating hard messages that I’m like, that’s great illustration. And she basically said, you can take a brick and write a message on it and throw it through someone’s window.
Or you can write them a letter and send it to it. You can communicate a message both ways, but they’re received very, very differently. And the outcome of each action is going to be very, very different.
And so you know, and I think we all know this. If we’re married, having grace, communicating difficult things in a kind tone works so much better than anger and frustration and everything else, but yeah.
Linda: Yeah. There you go.
Bob: Write a letter, don’t throw a brick through a window.