money x relationships
You thought I was talking about sex, right?
Actually, no. The same words can describe how most people deal with money… Money can be one of the hardest topics to share about and at the same time it controls how we feel about finances in our relationships. Unfortunately, money and sex are two of the top reasons for divorce in America and we tend to feel judged or ashamed for openly discussing these topics. But here at frontline, we don’t shy away from that. So why don’t we talk more about money? Or rather, as I like to call it, why don’t we talk more about our personal dreams and goals?
“I would love to travel the world…”
“I dream of helping and personally impacting people’s lives with my finances”
Isn’t that usually the dream? For my husband and I they were. We weren’t always on the same page about money but in this case, we were both excited once we made the decision together to take control of our money. We had so much debt individually when we got married but learned quickly how much peace and healing there is in knowing there is no judgement in how we got here and there is a path forward that we can take to overcome the 6-figure debt we owed good ol’ Sallie Mae.
There is also a lot of peace when you know you are not the only one, as many as 44.7 million Americans have student loan debt, according to a 2018 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The total amount of student loan debt equals to about $1.47 trillion! That in itself is crazy, but also encouraging when you’re down on yourself about the bit you have.
Around the same time we started focusing on our finances, we had been married for 4 years and started thinking about growing our family, as in baby! We tried and tried but each month was a disappointment for over 2 years. At this point, anyone telling me “it will happen at the right time” received an internal side eye. It was a very big prayer request and to be honest I felt impatient and nervous because I wasn’t getting any younger and I truly believed we were ready to start a family.
During these two very disappointing years with no baby news, we were vigorously trying to pay off our debt and live a financially free life within our means. We budgeted everything like crazy. The original loan length was 10 years, according to the math if we’d kept paying our monthly minimum payment. But we managed to pay it off in 4 years. Our goal was to pay off a total of $150,000 by August 2017, and we were able to pay it off by February 2017.
I can’t describe to you how that felt. When we clicked the final payoff amount in February, a rush of excitement and overwhelming love for my husband as we achieved our goal together. It was extremely hard but we were closer than ever and the intimacy I felt with him at that moment was something we had never felt before.
You see that’s what communication does, it brings forth real intimacy. Just like sex does, and being open about that with our struggles and our desires. Communication about topics that sometimes can feel uncomfortable changes you, your relationship and your view on things for the better. This isn’t a typical article but it’s a necessary one, when you open the dialogue for things you struggle with things shift. We are testament to that.
But this wasn’t out miracle, financial freedom wasn’t it. Within a week of paying off our debt, we found out we were expecting! You can imagine the joy we felt and confirmation knowing that God was crafting our story. Turns out learning patience, diligence, and building a strong marriage and feeling financially free is important when having a baby, who knew? The timing was perfect.
I share my story because I fully believe that creating an open dialog about your dreams and working on taking control of your money together can create intimacy in your relationships and in us as individuals. When you communicate how you feel about money it will open up a new area in your life that you never thought to uncover. Better yet, if you get to accomplish your goal together, it becomes a releasing achievement that you can share. The partnership and companionship you feel when you accomplish your small milestones together, step by step, diligently and equally yoked together will strengthen your relationships like never before.
And closing thought, this is not only for married couples. Don’t wait until you’re married. If you’re reading this and thinking you can get serious about money after you’re married I would encourage you to take a moment to think about your current dreams. Yes, you will have new dreams to build with your spouse one day but today, at this moment you are beautifully and wonderfully made. That means you have your own dreams that have been planted in you, which are achieved by daily progress and diligence. Don’t wait for a guy. Why not start today?