When Matt and I went through premarital counseling, our pastor and almost every book we read warned us of the power of money in a marriage. Money is blamed as one of the leading causes of divorce. And while I hate to think that something material plays such a significant part in a marriage, I can testify to its power.
We need money. The grocery store is not going to accept one of my blog posts as payment, and the mortgage company wouldn’t find one of my kids’ drawings cute. Money pays the bills, and the paid bills ensure we’re warm at night with clothes on our back. So when money is hard to find, and financial problems begin to mount, so does the stress and tension.
Matt and I took steps together to try to overcome the difficulties of having a house in another state that wouldn’t sell while only having one income to cover the bills and needs of a family of five. We tried to set up an emergency savings fund, but Mr. Murphy would show up every month or so to lay claim to his share. We were facing an endless cycle of putting money in the bank to then have to take it out. Any bad financial decisions that we made previously were magnified 10,000 fold because we couldn’t make any headway.
Matt and I decided to enroll in a small group in our church that was teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I knew I wanted to join this group, but I was honestly a little apprehensive at the same time. Every month Matt and I would fight as we worked on the budget, and I was afraid that those monthly fights would now become weekly! Thankfully, my fears were for naught.
One of the benefits of the course is that we were taking advice and instruction from an outside third party. When we were doing our monthly budgets, the guidelines weren’t coming from Matt or from me but from Mr. Ramsey, and he wasn’t taking sides. The arguments stopped.
For the first time we had a game plan where we could feel we were gaining momentum. We now were in agreement as to the way we wanted to attack our debt and save for the future, and at the beginning of each month, every dollar we owned was assigned a place.
For the first time in about five years I can breathe.
I am so thankful for a hardworking husband who has always done whatever it takes so that I could stay home with our children. He is an amazing provider, and I am glad that we now have a game plan to ensure we make the most of his hard work. And I am thankful that we are on the path to finding financial peace.
I look forward to the day when money won’t control us, but we will control our money completely. One day, maybe many years away, but one day we will be able to use our money as a means to bless other people and not just a necessity to pay the bills.
I know this post isn’t poetic or maybe even interesting, but I don’t want to forget the relief and gratitude I feel right now. This past Wednesday we completed our last class, and I know we are graduating with the tools to make wise financial decisions. At the beginning of each month, I get a little excited knowing that we have another chance to knock out some debt.
We’re getting there. It will take time. And sacrifice. But it’s so worth it.
Those who read my blog regularly know that I typically don’t use it to endorse products, but I am going to today. I would highly recommend that anyone who isn’t set for retirement with a paid-off house and money ready to give to those in need take this course. If a person has debt, he should take this course. If a person doesn’t have debt but doesn’t have a clear vision on how to save, she should take this course. If a couple needs to know the best way to save for their kids’ college or their own retirement, they should take this course–no matter their age.
Everything we have is a gift. God has entrusted us with His money, and we will be held accountable for how we used it. I hope that one day when I face my Maker, He will be able to say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:21, New International Version, 2010).
For this ‘Focus On It Friday,’ for what can you be thankful? Leave a comment below, and share your thanks!
*I was not compensated in any way by Dave Ramsey or his organization, The Lampo Group. I wrote this blog post simply because I am thankful. However, if Dave Ramsey wanted to compensate me for it, we would be able to take care of our debt faster. 😉