7 Ways Debt Can Tear a Family Apart

Can debt really tear a family apart? Absolutely. That’s why it’s important as wives and moms to stay on a budget and live a frugal lifestyle. Your family deserves a happy home, and staying debt free is just one way to make it that way!

debt and your family

That’s why this post is so pertinent for moms like you to read. I desire all of you to have happy, healthy homes, and if you’re soaring into debt because you are striving to live a certain lifestyle, you need to be warned. You need to know that debt will only bring stress, discontentment and harm into your marriage and family. It’s really not worth the instant happiness factor you get when purchasing that new, over-priced TV.

Here’s the sad reality:: Debt can tear a family apart. Once families find themselves caught up in debt, it is very difficult to crawl out of the stress-causing web in which they have become cunningly tangled.

how debt hurts your family

I remember being pregnant with baby number three. As soon as everyone else found out the pressure was on.

“You need to buy a bigger car or van.” someone would say.

“Yeah, I know. But, we don’t have the money for a bigger car yet.” I would reply.

Do you know the typical response?

“Oh, well. Just get a loan. You can make payments and have a nice car to travel in.”

Sure, our tiny, two door car was getting a bit squishy with two babies — but it worked. I still remember fretting about how I was going to fit two car seats in the back seat of our tiny, two-door car. But, we made it work and we didn’t owe anyone a penny.

The tension began to rise as people saw that we had not heeded their advice.

“Why not ask your husband to get a second job?”

Wow. I almost choked on that suggestion.

“A second job? He goes to work from 7:30 am to 4:30 p.m., then turns around to leave for college at 5:50 p.m. and doesn’t come home until 10 pm. When is he suppose to work another job?”

“Oh, he could work on the weekends.” was the curt reply.

“Ok. Then I would never see him.” I responded.

My husband and I valued our time together more than having a new car, but we also knew that going into debt would only hurt our family. What was the solution?

We took our need to God in prayer.

Many times we would pray something like this.

“God, you see our need for another car. We ask you to provide something perfect for our family. We will not go into debt to buy one, but we don’t see how it is financially possible to buy one. Please show us what to do!”

Within a few months, three family members gave my husband money as a graduation gift. We did not expect the amounts they gave, but were truly thankful. We then began searching for a van, and my husband found a perfect fit. But it was a little more than we had planned.

“We will have to sell our car to cover the remaining amount.” my husband informed me.

Other family members knew our desire to sell our car in one day so we could purchase the van. They thought we were crazy. No one buys and sells a car in one day!

My husband parked the car in our front yard and put a “for sale” sign on it. Then, he walked to college.

The next morning we had several people knocking on our door asking about the car. Within a few hours, our car was sold and we turned around and handed a sweet lady cash for her van. We drove that van for many years all over the country.

What did we learn from this instance?

That God can provide — and it will be in His time. We also learned that we didn’t need to borrow to meet our needs. If we truly needed something, God would provide — somehow.

If we had listened to well-meaning friends and family, we could have easily let debt tear our family apart. We could still be striving to provide for six kids with thousands of dollars of debt haunting us. But, with God’s provision and guidance, we are debt-free. We still have bills to pay every month, but we do not have years of over-spending draining our energy and finances. It brings much liberty to our family’s finances and gives us many opportunities to pray with our kids about special needs, instead of continually borrowing from others.

Debt is a slippery slope that only pulls a family downward. Families can be drained and broken-up before they realize they have a problem with this money-hungry monster.


  • It adds stress. As your monthly bills keep popping up every month, you wonder how can you get your bills paid? You still have to pay mortgage, utilites, insurance, grocery bills and more! But, how are you going to chip away the debt you’ve accumulated if you only have a hundred dollars left every month after bills? Just the cold, hard facts of reality cause you to stress out — every time you see a bill. The sad reality of handing over half of your paycheck to a debt collector is anything but comforting. Having this knowledge looming overhead heightens the financial stress in your home. It may even make you agitated at other members in your family. Couples have been known to take their stresses out on their family. Don’t let debt make you snap at yours!
  • It negatively effects your friendships.The bill collectors call over and over. Everyone in your family gets tired of answering the phones and explaining why the bills are still not paid. Before you know it, you have changed your phone number — again. Friends get tired of keeping up with your “new” numbers. They get tired of inviting you out for dinner or other fun outings, only to get a rejection because you have no money left over after paying those sneaky interest rates. Sometimes you may even become so desperate you ask your friends to lend you some money. Before you know it, your friends call less and end up moving on to other, healthier relationships.
  • It creates a false reality for your kids. Your kids grow up seeing you buy and buy. You want a bigger TV? You go and buy one. You want to take a vacation twice a year? You book the plane tickets and begin planning your itinerary. Never do your kids see you calculate your budget, pray for needed items or pay for large items with cash. Instead, they see their parents talk about buying something and swiping this plastic card to pay for things — whenever they want them. Nothing is unreachable or unreasonable. Your kids grow up with the view that they can have it all, when they want it. They don’t see to point to save, pray or budget for large desired items. They can have everything they want — now!
  • It inhibits you from investing in special moments. Your son is finally getting married and you have little money to put into the wedding. Why? The last 15 years you spent more than you really had. You want to make the day special, but you just can’t. Your daughter graduates from college and you have nothing to give her except a hug. You now are stricken in your heart as you wish you could re-live your earlier days and avoid debt. If you had, you may have had the money for a special trip or gift to share with your daughter. If you are a young parent, avoid debt now so you can invest in your children’s special moments — and even leave them an inheritance. If you continue to be swallowed up in debt, there may be no inheritance left for your children once you leave this earth.
  • It can push a husband and wife apart. If the wife desires to keep spending, even though the budget shows there is no more money — disputes are sure to follow. What if the wife desires to save money, but the husband can’t give up his hunting expenditures or other expensive hobbies? As the debt grows, so does the rift between a frugal-minded spouse and a spend-easy spouse.
  • It prevents you from “getting ahead.” When interest rates keep tracking you down, there is very little money left to get ahead of the bills and finances. When your son needs new shoes for the soccer team or your daughter needs new glasses, many times there is no money sitting in savings to cover these costs. Knowing that you are unable to provide items your kids need adds pressure and stress to your family.
  • It creates a covetous spirit. As soon as your family becomes accustomed to the borrowing lifestyle, the sky is the limit for “stuff.” Commercials flash across your TV and soon you are calling the 800 number to order the very best cookware EVER! Then, your kids are whining about their friends that have this new toy. You take them to the store and buy them the exact toy so they are happy as well. A borrowing and spending life-style can become addictive, and only leads to ruin. The thirst for more can never be quenched. Discontentment is soon to rear its ugly head. A discontent home is breeding grounds for disagreements, fights and even separation. It’s simply not worth it to plunge your family into debt.

Debt will only pull your family further apart from one another. When your family prays, budgets and works towards a financial goal together, it creates a special unity. But, if you continually overspend and borrow — it only creates rifts that are many times difficult to fix.

Avoid debt as you begin your new year. It’s an important step to creating a happy home!

Need some ideas to pinch your pennies and stay within your budget? Try these frugal-friendly posts below!

Gain Your Husband’s Trust — Financially
5 Steps to Cut Your Grocery Bill Without Coupons!
Just a Dab Will do Ya—Raising Kids the Frugal Way