I first came across the term “Spousal Approval Unit” (SAU) on Facebook while triathlon training. The concept is that Triathletes (especially Ironman wannabes like me) have a very expensive and time consuming hobby that can be VERY selfish. This can lead to some marital discord (ie: when I would only show up at home long enough between training sessions to plunder the savings account and sign up for another race). The concept of the SAUs is to understand that you (the athlete) need to engage in some give and take to make a marriage successful. As a triathlete, you are going to be doing a whole bunch of taking and you better start keeping track of how much and make some kind of effort to set up a re-payment plan (both personally and fiscally).
Think of it as a home equity loan from the bank. You better have a financial plan set up to repay the loan before then bank forecloses. Most of us think that we are paying the SAU debt back aggressively while we are just barely making the monthly payments (and then borrowing more).
I thought SAUs were a joke.
Then I did an Ironman.
It is very easy to get very wrapped up in that and get very self centered. Fortunately, I have a very loving and supportive family who encouraged my dreams, and let me be successful.
So, post-Ironamn, I made a promise to myself that I would cut back on the travel and the expenses for the next few years.
Then, the DisneyLand Star Wars Half Marathon came around. I love Disney and I am a total Star Wars geek. I “needed” to run it. I justified it to myself that it would be my one and only big running trip of the year. Everything else would be local. Just like that, I made a big withdrawal on the overdrawn SAU line of credit.
So, of course, Disney just announced a second Star Wars race (this one in Florida) to complement the one in California. Three more races, five more medals (including a special Coast to Coast medal).
Lets be clear, this mental balence sheet that I am tracking is something in my own head. My wife is very loving, generous, and supportive and does NOT keep track of every purchase and race registration. But I keep a mental log to make sure that I am not being overly abusive of that generosity. I just know that there have been a lot of withdrawals over the last few years, and I need to stop making such large and frequent SAU cash advances. I can’t even think of a way to justify this new one (and I am trying hard not too…)
So, if anyone has a few thousand extra SAUs floating around, I could sure use a donation. Alternatively, anyone know a good 12 step program for running or Disney that might help???