Updated: Feb 17, 2020
Some people have told me that they envy the way my husband and I agree so quickly on things, and almost seem to never have a bad moment.... and can scarcely believe we have ever had rough times. Well folks- I'd like to take this moment to let you know- all marriages have rough times. Ours included. While I'm happy to say "Thank you for your kind words," that you would think such things, it's just not the truth.
One of the things that has been key to my husband and I having a strong marriage, is learning to trust each other. It is not always simple- and we've both been burned once or twice on the back of selfishness.
Being real here.
But trust has seen us through MANY marriage troubles.
I would love to offer an experience that ALWAYS brings me back to our first upscale apartment that we couldn't afford 4 years into our marriage.
I will ALWAYS remember this experience as we were in the worst spot we have ever been in financially in our entire marriage. We literally were living week-to-week on "peanuts." Mowing lawns, taking side jobs, and staring at the ceiling at night, wondering how we were going to make it next week, and praying for deliverance. We had miracles happen. Meals that somehow stretched for 3 days, church family and neighbors bringing us meals that we did not ask for that also somehow sustained us for days at a time.
And I got back from a meeting for my little part time job I was trying to make work while being a new mom and supporting my husbands multiple jobs..... and I was tired and I was frustrated. As was the norm. One night in particular, I was doing dishes and my back was to my husband, who was sitting on the couch with his eyes closed looking worn out. And he nonchalantly let me know that he had decided that his car needed new tires and went ahead and got them done and used a credit card.
I vividly remember this moment.
I remember being angry that he had violated our earlier agreement to not spend more than $50 without consulting one another. I was angry that he felt his car was more important than food for us and our 2 yr old daughter.
If I'm being honest, I was angry that he had gone out and spent money without me.
I remember what I was wearing.
I remember the feeling rising in my chest to yell and scream and rip up the bill that he handed me to put into our family financial binder.
But then something happened that was not only saving of our marriage that day, but a testimony to me of a higher power aware of my life.
I vividly remember having an indescribable feeling come over me in that livid moment, telling me that this would be a defining moment for our marriage. How I react now, will have large consequence in our relationship.
I KNOW that that feeling was God through His Holy Spirit. I KNOW He is aware of our lives and WILL help us as we seek His guidance. "Ask and ye shall receive..."
I stared at the bill, I even remember the amount...... $249.79.
I remember my blood wanting to boil, but I remember my soul willing myself to regain control, and think about the eternal consequences of this moment. I stared at the bill while thinking about all of this, my husband with his back to me at the counter. I'm sure he was awaiting a battle and gathering thoughts of his own.
But gratefully (and I attribute my success to the grace of God) I realized in that moment, that new tires on his car would not impact the rest of my life. $249.79 could be paid off in a few months, and that my husband was keenly aware of our finances, and must have felt a true need to make this purchase to put us in this situation....... God's grace..... I'm telling you.
So after taking some deep breaths...... I said as genuinely and quietly as I could, "Well, I know you know our situation, and trust that you did the best thing for our family." I handed him back the bill, avoided eye contact and walked back to our room to change out of my work clothes.
My husband didn't say anything for a good half hour. I just went on to make a meager dinner of canned chicken and a Lipton rice mix with some canned peaches on the side.
I don't recall him ever saying anything after that in reference to my reaction, but I know that he and I felt an understanding pass between us that day. That our finances didn't define our marriage. That our financial troubles weren't the end of the world. And most importantly- that we could trust each other with our expenditures from then on with full fidelity.
We did, after a few weeks, come full circle and talk about this moment again and express gratitude for each other's responses. And believe it or not, we felt more in love after this experience.
Just a few months after this, we were offered a great job, and those tires were paid off first thing. That little car drove for years and kept our family safe. I have only speculated a few times what might have happened if I had given into my anger and retaliated without trust and love and God's grace for my short comings.
I don't pretend to be the heroin of my marriage..... my husband has had plenty of moments that he has been kind and patient with me after I had make a mistake as well. And it takes BOTH people being willing to seek out that trust, and love with fidelity for the appreciation of your spouse and gratitude for what they bring to your life. And do the same with your finances.
I am not a financial expert or a marriage counselor.
But if money causes stress in your marriage- I encourage you to see where your trust lies with your spouse and your money. Do you make purchases that you don't tell each other about (other than maybe an occasional surprise gift) that you KNOW that they should know about? Do you just buy things and "hope" that it works out in the budget book that month? Do you falsely accuse one another of purchases that are not needed without real discussion on WHY and HOW and WHO it will benefit and the lasting effects of the purchases? I have seen marriages fall apart and crumble from the misuse of money. Simple small lies or deceits about finances blossomed into bankruptcy's, credit card debt beyond control, and families and children torn apart and lives wounded from lack of personal responsibility and trust in marriage.
If you have things you suspect your spouse is doing with your money, take the time to ask about it, and if there are problems, seek the God's guidance and get it resolved quickly. And if you are the one that are the made money spender of the family and have not been honest with your spouse about your own expenditures and possibly bad money habits, allow your spouse to be a part of your change. Build that trust together and I KNOW your marriage will be happier and your love for one another will grow 100 fold.
Appendage: How does this apply to health? I am... after all... a certified health mentor. Why include this in my blog? Because I have seen more times than I every thought I would- the decision to change your health, creating a necessity in investing in varies tools to start and perpetuate a health change. Perhaps some supplements, perhaps psychiatric help, perhaps an online gym membership, perhaps personal coaching sessions, etc etc etc. And because of the need to invest money, a spouse or partner becomes unsupportive, even angry about their partner looking to change their health. I've even had potential clients tell me they don't dare even ask their spouse or partner if they can get the help they need- primarily for financial reasons. I understand financial struggle. Believe me. I do. But I also understand that untreated conditions only worsen. Untreated budgets, untreated marriages, untreated obesity, untreated emotional eating, untreated mental illness, heck- an untreated common cold. WILL WORSEN. If the desire is there- if the personal responsibility is evident, my friends- help your partner help themselves! SUPPORT them in their NEED to change. I promise that a partnership where both partners are physically healthy will BLOW your mind with how much joy, happiness, satisfaction, trust and responsibility will flow. It will be worth every single cent. In our marriage, every investment we have made to our health has amplified the positives in our marriage and family of 7, 100%.