Looking for Spiritual Advice

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Looking for Spiritual Advice

Postby Modified_Choking » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:23 am

I've got myself in a real pickle and am very discouraged because I just don't know what to do.

I got married 4 yrs ago. About the time I was about to get married I was living in an apartment, had 17K of revolving debt plus 10k of student loans. I picked up most of debt traveling the country trying to gain the kind of experience I thought I needed for my career. Anyway, 4 years ago...I was already working my day-cubicle job and a second part-time carry-over from college to pay for wedding expenses. I could have maintained the second job to eliminate the debt but it would have taken quite a while.

About this time we were experiencing the real estate boom in NJ that has recently declined. But, I had an idea which was nothing new, people do it all the time... My parents were living in the house I grew up in but they didn't own. Thet had at one point but couldn't pay. Somehow they had convinced a wealthy relative to buy it and they were paying rent. My idea was that if I could get the financing that we could fix it and sell it as a family venture. The house was very run down. Second worst on the street for sure and maybe the neighborhood. At this time my younger bro/sis were also living there.

Everyone agreed. My mom contacted the owner (her side of family) and we didn't hear anything for 6 weeks. Finally, I contacted them. I was met with a very stern and terse comment that they wanted nothing more to do with the house. And I was to speak to another distant family member who now had power of attorney. I did speak with the other person at which time I was informed that an eviction hearing at the County was scheduled in four days. I was totally unaware as it was kept from everyone by my mom. I was told that I was welcome to make an offer of 295K. I told the guy, no can do. The best I could offer is 204K the max. lend amount of the Veterans loan program.

Well, the next day I was contacted by a real estate agent who told me that the distant relatives would sell at 204K. We eventually did purchase the house. I later learned that the max. VA lend amount was 240K; I either made the honest mistake or the VA website was in error. Nonethelss we got it at 204K. We eventually had to do a no-money-down conventional because my debt-to-ratio was too high and the VA wouldn't approve.

Based on these initial events I have always believed that I had made the right decision in buying the house and that was just a perfect example of how God was making it all possible.

My goal was and has always been to try and prepare the house as quickly as possible for sale to take advantage of the boom. Well, because I am writing this now it never did happen and I'm losing my way in what feels to be a big way. It's as if everything is crumbling down around and within. The problems start after the purchase of the house.

However, to put it in perspective, at the peak about two years ago (2 yrs after purchase) my model house was selling at an AVG of 420K. I had figured with a good deal of elbow grease during the first year of ownership we could clean the house out of all the clutter and junk my parents had allowed to accumulate. Here's a before/after example of the junk in the backyard. That boat was sitting there for five years or more and each year stuff got piled under it like the boat was a pavillion or sumthin. I replaced the space with a nice fence and a play set for the kids.
Image
Image

Another goal for the first year was to change the outside appearance for a re-finance. In this way, I could get rid of PMI and get a HELOC to cover fix-it costs. In the end, I did just that and people were amazed at the transformation. All the neighbors fell in love with me as one can imagine. Don't get me wrong the Lord blessed all along the way. For example a friend donated some cultured stone so we could re-face the front of the house.

The second year was going to be devoted to interior transformation. For the most part, that happened. New carpets, new windows, some trim and painting was done. I'm not saying my family didn't do anything but every little thing was a fight. I lost my drive because I got very little help or had to fight to get it. In general, it's as if no one around me understands these matters nor did they ever understand 1.) what the goal was and 2.) what's involved in making it happen.

At about the 2.5 year mark my wife was fed up and forced the issue of putting the house up for sale however I didn't beleive it was ready and figured we would take a big hit. Sure enough, that's what happened. We got 1 offer after 9 months because the market had already started to take a nose dive and, that offer was 60K below where we had listed on advice of our agent. If the house had sold then I would have made 67K which seems like a lot but not really. I would have to take it all for myself for it to really be effective for my wife and I. But being a Christian man I will not forsake my parents and keep it all, regardless. Either way the cost of living is so damned high here that I thought I needed more for this to work. You see part of this was to help my parents, so they can get some of their financial mess together. I figure if that can happen now while they are still capable, it will be easier on me and my siblings in the future. Anyway, seeing as how the house wasn't ready to be on the market in the first place, and (of course) hardly anything was done to the house while on the market because I didn't push the issue, I wouldn't accept the offer and took the house off the market.

So, here I am now four years and all I do is fight with my wife and I have very little of relationship with my parents. My wife despises my parents because of the roadblock that they were/are. She envies my brother and sister because they've since found spouses of their own and have moved on. They were once contributing financially when they lived here but not since they got married. I am increasingly becoming financially strapped having to cover carrying costs and the costs that my siblings had once contributed. No matter what I do at work, I can't seem to get a promotion or raise that will put a dent in any of the costs and I can't get my wife to help me out other than a measly part-time job that brings in about 150 bucks a month. I've asked her to help me by actually persuing the career that she once claimed she wanted to do. My mom had even watched our first child for us while she went to school. But since graduating, she won't do anything with her career. All she says to me is "I'm tired of living with your parents; kick them out, kill them, I don't care." But, even though she says that, I know that their financial contribution is what has allowed my wife to stay home with our children and not really have to work under the status-quo.

As for what keeps me sane in all of this...duck hunting, some fishing and Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I feel screwed by parents for having been difficult and basically causing us to miss the recent boom but what am I to do-they are my parents and they were gonna be out on the street going back to the beginning of all this? I'd do the same thing for my wife's parents - including her estranged dad whom she has not seen in 16 years. Actually, this house to some degree allowed us to purchase a small used Jetta for her mom a couple of years ago when she was down on her luck.

So where I am now is that I just don't know what to do anymore. Nothing gets cleaned-up or fixed unless I take the initiative. My wife is pushing real hard again. She wants me to use the equity to buy a trailer for my parents to get them out. If I do that they will have to cover the costs which is totally fair but then my wife and I will immediately need to come up with $600-800 bucks a month or just use the equity account to pay for bills and at the same time try and get the house ready and sold in a very short period of time. I fear that any chance of getting profit from this house will be squandered away and then I'll either be breaking even or losing money with the way the market is...the total opposite of the intended goals to begin with!

I am sorry that this post is so long and I'm almost wary of why I'm sending out to a place for the world to see into my life but...

All I was trying to do is make things better for myself and my parents and in the end it just seems like the saying "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" is applicable.

If anyone has words of encouragement or chastisement lay it on me.
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Postby thaner » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:02 am

This is going to be quick and over simplified. Your wife is critical to your life. You get married and leave your family. After God she is priority number 1. She is hurt. You need to work things out with her first. Do the math and ask her what she wants to do? The parents can go if she will work to cover the cost. Let her decide which is more important. Child care can often offset a second income so do the math first to see which way to go.

The parents have to go. Bad idea to live with them in the first place. You need to help care for them, but living with them is not ideal. Particularly when it sounds like they dug themselves into the whole house mess in the first place and they don't sound like they are doing much to get out of it or help you. They need to be responsible for themselves.

You need out. Profit, break even or a little loss. Get out and get on your own. Cut expensive, work two jobs, what ever to get out of debt. It is better to take a little loss than to get continually drained by interest and too high of debt. Loosing you wife over this or suffering years of a bad relationship that will take a long time to repair is too high a cost to hang in on the house deal. It could be years before the market turns again. How long do you want to suffer through this?

God bless, and I will be praying for you!
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Postby thaner » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:48 am

I am sure the issues and family dynamics are much more complex than can be addressed here easily so I think the best advice is probably to pray, pray, and then pray some more. Try fasting and some serious all day praying on the weekend and ask for God's direction and His assurance of peace on the decision. Start cross referencing the bible looking for all area that address husband, wife, family, and financial issues so your decisions are based on sound doctrine. Make sure to get your wife active with you in prayer and looking at the bible together so you are working together to find God’s will. You both need to make these decisions together and you both need to be spiritually focused and have your harts in the right place. Consult with your pastor and some of the elders at your church. Be sure to take your wife along. Chances are you will get some good biblical advice there and you can work through all the issues. They may also have some very good financial input. Usually there are one or more elders in your church that is very good with money and they are in your areas so they can probably give you much better real state advice or point you to someone in your church who can. They are usually older and have a lot of experience with these types of issues from personal experiences and from counseling others.

As far as your wife working you need to really look at that. It sounds like your children are not school age. It is easier for her to work when they are in school all day. All day day care for multiple children can really put a dent in the extra income and young children need their mother. She only has one chance to nurture them before they are off into the world. You may be better off working a second job to get things under control until the kids are all in school and you can shift gears a little later.
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Postby dudejcb » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:44 pm

I know Thaner means well, but I'm not convinced that fasting and reading the Bible will help... in this world you do for yourself and God watches.

From your post you seem intelligent, thoughtful, and giving... but perhaps used a bit. maybe by everyone. What do your instincts tell you. Is your wife a contributing partner in life, or is it something else? Something less?

I have been married to the same woman for 30 years, but that is not always the way things work out, and we are total opposites and we've had our battles.

I suugest you both find a couselor and take a Meyers-Briggs, or Kiersey-Bates personality preference test to see how you each line up psychology wise. Regardless of how it turns out, you should have a better appreciation and understanding for where the other is coming from, as well as for ourself. That will help your relationship so long as there is no blame, just understanding, and appreciation for the diversity of each individual.

Once your emotional foundation with the wife is grounded (if not already) and you are a team in life, do try to break free from the bondage of your parents andthe house, regardless of cost. You are young enought oi recover, and your parents need to be responsible for themselves. Do not be an enabler. your impulse to help you parents is noble, but they are adults, and you have your own family to think of, and it is your priority. Good luck and take care.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:28 am

Thank you for your thoughts. The fact that you took the time to read/respond means a lot.

I have already concluded that in order to truly prepare this house for sale I cannot do it with my parents in the house for previously stated reasons. They just plain have too much junk that they won't remove to make the house showable. And, their lack of urgency on any matter regarding this house is nothing more than a discouragement to me.

As for seeking other advice in my church. We met with our pastor and his wife a number of times regularly on these matters. Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset with him but for a few weeks he kept digging for something else wrong with me or my wife or our marriage but eventually became satisfied with the fact that for the most part the current problem is a function of money and market.

Bottom line we missed the boom... but could conceivably still make it given extra cash flow. I think the pastor was tuned-in to that because his wife was in the process of taking a job when we were counseling; they wanted their children to attend a Christian school and they could not afford it on his salary alone. Now I have to admit I did get a little upset with his wife because when I was expressing frustration over my wife making little or no effort to pursue her career, the pastors' wife got a little snippy with me. I don't remember the exact words but I was expressing that I didn't think it was so wrong of me to expect that my wife could contribute especially since she had taken steps in the past towards her own career. The pastors wife said something like "Well, she shouldn't have to work!" I found that offensive knowing that she was going back to work. And, one of their children is young enough that the child has to go to daycare. So I say - so what if her going back to work was for the 'all-righteous' goal of sending the kids to Christian school.

If you ask me, that was no different than my situation...the bottom line was money or the lack thereof.

The thing is, it's totally within my wife's reach to make the kind of extra money I think we need to keep this house until the market turns around (or) until we can get it ready for sale without having to make a mad-dash again like I had attempted the first time around and all of that applies regardless of the subject of living in the same house as my parents. Because if we don't make a decent profit on this house we're going to be in the same situation - just in a different place. But, reality is that she uses my parents as an excuse for everything. In the past she had said that she wanted to work. She could do her work at night unlike myself as I am expected to keep office hours.

On the subject of me taking a second job. I had one when we bought the house and kept it until my wife complained day and night that I was never home. So I stopped because she said that she would work instead. She did get a job doing what she is trained for but after two months quit claiming she couldn't focus on work because everything at home was so bad.

Look guys...I'm sorry but even though I have what seems to be a good job it's just so hard to make ends meet. Most of the families in my church and most other people I know have two-earner households regardless if they are swimming in debt or not. And, they work it out. Some send the kids to daycare and some do not. I'm not saying I want my kids in daycare. Truth is we could probably get my Mom to do it if the chips were down and we could pay her some to make it fair - for lack of a better way to say it.

I know that living in the same house as my parents was a dicey subject especially when you take into consideration 'Leave and cleave'. Unfortunately this was a business venture (with family) that went bad...or certainly not as expected. While I want to do right as much as I can by my parents, my main goal is for my wife and me. Now, in the ruins of missing the real estate boom, I believe that with the additional income that I always thought my wife would earn, we would be ok - still tight but ok. I know that I would have to send my parents on their way, lovingly. Sure I would be sad that more was not accomplished financially through the initial concept on the house deal but I know I have to do whatever to get my wife and me on our own. I just thought she would be more understanding of the fact that 1.) I didn't come to our marriage with a fat bankroll and 2.) I don't make a million bucks each year.

So here I am...the only one who (in my own opinion) understands anything about the financial aspects of these matters and that which needs to be done in support of such matters but can't get the people who are supposed to love me the most to play along.

I know I ranted again but I did read your answers. I will consider your suggestions.
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Postby dudejcb » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:34 am

don't worry you're not alone. with homes selling so high it takes two incomes for everyone unless your single salary is above $80k and that's a pretty high number for most workers, even professional engineers.

Really... look in the Keirsey Bates thing. Even though some of the questions seem arbitrary and it's hard to make a choice on some, you'll be surprised when you discover your "type" and read the description of it. You'll recognize yourself in the description. Same with your wife. the good part is you will begin to understand why those in your life (if they take the test) make the (bulk of the) choices they do, and realize, that's just the way they are... it's not always concious choice thing. they're just wired that way.

Once you understand their choice making process you may begin to see better ways to approach them when it comes to proposing changes, or problem solving.

I've taken the test about 6 or 7 tmes in the last 25 years, and while my score on certain attributes changes as I get older and grow, overall, my personality type has stayed the same. Knowing how I am gives me a chance to modify some of the things I did unconciously before that set off my wife, who is the EXACT opposite on every attribute!

The book that has all this stuff is called Please Understand Me and it is written by, who else, Keirsey and Bates.

Their work is based on the original work by reknowned psychiatris Carl Jung (pronounced "young") and he was a protege of Freud.
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Postby AWOTIS » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:52 am

it sounds like you are waging a one man battle to get this house improved. if your parents aren't helping i think they need to go.you are doing this for them as well as for you. your trying to get their dept problems fixed before their parting of this world is a good idea but they need to help themselves, remember God helps them who helps themselves. may i suggest trying to get your parents a large camp trailer and put it in a trailer park their rent would be cheaper for a space rental than a house rent or house payment and they should be able to afford that. by you helping them they are refuseing to help them selves and are riding the gravy train you are providing.

it looks like your trying to do your best. just keep trying and give it up to God and he will provide the answers for you in one way or anouther.

by the way the fence and the kids playground look great.. keep up the good work.... :thumbsup:
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Postby Modified_Choking » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:26 am

it sounds like you are waging a one man battle


That's about what it's been like in terms of 'making it all happen'.

Thanks for the response.
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Postby Duckorbust » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:05 am

First of all, my heart goes out to you. I agree with most things said to this point, but I agree most with seeking God. As christians, we do that by praying and reading his word. Let me say this: The steps of a righteous man are ordered by God. I want to encourage you by telling you that God has a plan for your life. His word tells us that it is a plan for you to prosper. No matter how bad it seems to get, he is in control....ALWAYS! He has your answer. You just need to seek him. Sometimes he gives that through someone and sometimes it might even come in an audible voice straight from God himself. Your relationship with your wife comes above your relationship with your parents. As it apears that you do, I also love my parents deeply, but your wife comes first. You need to sit down with her and decide what's best for your family (you, your wife, and your kids). Now that decison might not benefit everyone involved, but in the end, I think your parents will see that. Right now it sounds like with your parents, there is no sense of urgancy because at this point, they have nothing invested. I wish you well, and I will definately put your situation on my prayer list. When people pray things happen. There is power in prayer. You have my utmost respect because of your intentions, and I know everything will be fine as long as you seek God.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:51 pm

You have my utmost respect because of your intentions... -Duckorbust


Thank you. I have taken a lot of heat from people saying that I did not leave my parents. I can certainly see how they would think this but, my intensions were never along the lines of ..."I can't live w/o my mommy."

Well, regardless of intentions, I guess that's the way it's played itself out...

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Postby cdaily » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:44 pm

Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He's a money guy, but a Christian money guy. He has a radio show and some books out. I'm not going to say a lot about him in case you've heard of him. After reading your posts, one of his favorite sayings keeps popping in my head. It's "to heck with the cheese, get me out of the trap." It basically means in your situation, what good is a big profit if it costs you your marriage. You're wife and children are your priority. I love my parents and I work with my dad while my mom watches my girls. I see them every day and we are very close, but when it comes to wife or parents, wife wins. If you're going it alone like it seems you are, no one in the situation can fault you in my opinion. If they were interested in it then they would help. If it were me, I would cut my losses before they include more than money. God bless you and your family. Always seek God when you need help. Always praise Him when He bails you out and praise Him in the bad times too. He knows you by name and life is definitely not about going it alone why God watches.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:13 pm

Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey?


Yes, I have. Thank you. Actually I was given his video series and book by another couple who recently joined our church. I can agree with all of it including the Crown Financial Money Map Program as well which is similar. However, actually making it all happen under my specific circumstances isn't so easy; primarily because of the increased burden as my siblings have backed-out. In theory, if I sell this house and have some profit I 'should' be in somewhat of a better position in terms of debt but as I've suggested in earlier posts due to the depressed housing market I am concerned that my efforts will have been for naught.

Nonetheless, it is true that I can't sacrifice my marriage over all of this. It's just all a big dissapointment 1.) given my original intensions and 2.) noting my intensions...the overall lack of understanding and cooperation that I've had to deal with.

Thanks for your thoughts and words of encouragement.
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Postby cdaily » Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:26 pm

I don't envy the position you're in in regards to your family. Why I brought up Dave Ramsey was not so much debt, but for the quote. It is easy for me to give advice because I'm not in your shoes, but I would cut my losses before they became more than financial. Best of luck, and God bless. Merry Christmas.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:09 am

Update.

My wife and I have been working through a lot (to say the least). We devised a plan to use our tax returns in combination with selling a number of belongings to get monthly cash-flow where it needs to be. She agreed to take on work...atleast make a concerted effort and stop pointing the finger at me all the time.

But...you know the old saying..."Ducks on a pond - frozen rope!"

No. Wrong one. Try this one..."When it rains, it pours!"

Yes. That's it. So I was laid-off yesterday. Just another dimension that I now have to deal with. Don't mistake my sarcasm. It's O.K. my spirits are alright. Ego damaged? Yeah, but who's wouldn't be?

So, the perverbial gravy-train ran out of turkey and cranberry sauce...up late looking for a job...getting a bit delerious.

Keeping the faith! Thanks Again Faith-Spiritual Forum.
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Postby cdaily » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:19 am

Man, that stinks. No advice from this guy. I'll be praying for you.
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Postby YAMAHA RIDER » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:32 pm

I also will be praying for you.

God bless!
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Postby Modified_Choking » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:54 pm

Thanks. I got a little crazy last night. I just couldn't sleep. Anyway, I'm looking for new work. Something will turn up.
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Postby AWOTIS » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:31 am

KEEP THE FAITH......

things happen for a reason so just keep praying and we'll pray for you too.. you never can have enough prayer.. :thumbsup:
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