Skip to main content

Unexpected Lessons


Since I'm taking a break from writing this week, I was looking back through my blog archive and found this one from 2012. 

When I was single, I had never had a budget. I had never saved away in an account. I never felt I needed to. I made sure all my bills were paid and appointments were made and that seemed to be enough. 

I never understood why a couple would want to get a divorce over something as intangible as money. It didn't seem like such a complicated thing. 

After all, now that I'm married, life should be better with two incomes, right? That means twice the money to spend as we please. Right?

Not exactly. 

There are two vehicles, two mouths, and two very different ways of looking at finances. Not to mention four hands pulling out of one bank account.  The car needs new tires, the furnace stopped working, and I need a wedding present for a friend this weekend. But the mortgage is due, the phone bill is due, and that parking ticket still needs to be paid.

We have felt the pressure, and even in days when we have plenty, there is still a nagging thought in the back of our minds that we've forgotten something. There have been disagreements over money, misunderstandings over money, and hurt feelings over money. This intangible, uncomplicated thing has so many times gotten out of hand! 

Now I understand why couples get divorced over finances...it's really hard work! A lot of times there's been some shame and guilt over what we owe and the financial mistakes we've made in the past. There are things we've had to relearn about the way our parents taught us, or failed to teach us, about finances. 

Learning to handle money as a married couple and now a family has meant constant communication about what our financial priorities are. It has meant sitting down and figuring out why and how we're earning and spending the way we are. It's taken hours of reading and researching and planning and we still get it wrong a lot. We still think we have everything financially figured out when something unexpected happens and we need to start again from square one. 

We're learning that finances, like the rest of marriage, is a process. That we're never going to "get there" but that being open and willing to learn is what's important. Learning this has taken the pressure off of getting it right all the time. We could let money lead us to anger, bitterness, and divorce, but instead we're learning that it makes for some unexpected lessons in humility and forgiveness. 





Comments

Stephanie M said…
After almost 40 years of marriage, I have learned the lessons you teach. It still helps me to read your words. Keep up the wonderful work. You're a blessing!
Sarah Heath said…
Wow, Stephanie, that means a lot coming from a veteran like yourself! Thank you for the kind words.

Popular posts from this blog

Inspiration

There's a secretary desk in my dining room that has been waiting to be fixed and refinished for almost four years. For almost two years after I triumphantly found it on Craigslist, it sat completely untouched. It's been moved from house to house and room to room, waiting patiently. I finally started pulling it apart two winters ago and still haven't managed to paint all of it. Every day it looks sadly at me as I go about doing the rest of the urgent things on my to-do list. Every day it gets pushed back to the bottom of the list. I don't have enough time. I don't have enough energy. I don't have the right tools for the job. And yet deep inside I know I want to do this project and should do this project and will feel so much better once it's done and looking all pretty. 

Sadly, that desk isn't the only project I haven't finished. My daughter's baby shadow boxes, my vegetable garden, my first book, and don't even get me started on my wedding al…

Body Image

I remember being 6 years old in my dance class. My mom walked out of the parent waiting area and offered me a sip of her Sprite. Two sips in I heard the teacher say from the front of the room, "That's enough. She doesn't need any more sweets. She's big enough." Some of the other girls snickered. After we finished our winter show later that month, I never went back to dance lessons again. 

I remember being 8 years old and my parents had friends over for dinner. The youngest was my age so upstairs we went to play. I sat on the edge of my bed while she ransacked my room. I told her she was being too rough with my stuff. She turned around, poked me in the stomach, and out of nowhere said,"Well at least I'm not chubby." I had no words for her statement but I spent the rest of the evening avoiding her by pretending to help in the kitchen. 

At 13 years old, my best guy friend told me that he would be interested in dating me if my legs were a little leaner an…