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After working with the Bradleys, financial expert Jean Chatzky says Lisa and Steven's lack of communication is a two-way street.

"[Steven] shuts down—he doesn't talk to [Lisa]," says Jean. "She doesn't want to go home and be not spoken to, so she goes to the mall, which makes him angrier so he doesn't talk. It goes around and around and around!"

Until they mend their relationship, Jean says the Bradleys won't be able to eliminate their debt for good. Dr. Robin agrees with Jean on both points. "The truth is, emotionally both of you are absent from your lives," Dr. Robin tells Lisa and Steven. "You're absent from your marriage and the spending has become the thing you can fight about instead [of talking about your feelings]."

Dr. Robin has a wake-up call for the Bradleys. "You could change your money spending, but if this deep deprivation in communication exists in this marriage, you are going to find one kind of exit or another—spending, drinking, affairs," she says. "So the exits have to be closed and you have to learn, 'How are we going to rebuild this relationship?'"
FROM: The Debt Diet: Part 3
Published on January 01, 2006