I have a solid relationship with my husband. We have been crazy about each other for the past 13 years and I fully intend for us to die together in bed like in the notebook. What? I’m a romantic?! We are the closest of friends and not saying that everything has been easy for us but our relationship has always been thriving and steadfast. Before Charlie and I decided to take Financial Peace University we knew that if there was one area in our relationship that needed some guidance it was with finances. We weren’t extravagantly different than the average American when it came to spending but we definitely had different opinions on how we wanted to steward our money.
In FPU, Dave Ramsey talks about how with every married couple there is a free spirit and a nerd. Nerds enjoy putting together the monthly budget and calculating the numbers. They like that it gives them control, and they feel like they are taking care of their loved ones. Free spirits don’t want to have anything to do with the numbers and tend to “forget” about a budget. They may feel controlled or not cared for and appear irresponsible to the nerd. I am without a doubt the free spirit of our relationship and before doing FPU I loathed when Charlie and I would have talk finances. We almost always ended in a fight with me getting upset, feeling controlled and he feeling disrespected and uncared for. I didn’t understand his frustration and wanted more that he would understand me first.
Even with a beautiful relationship that we already had we were driving a wedge between each other. The number-one cause of divorce in America is money fights. But when couples learn to agree on their money and are determined not to let it drive them apart, they form a unity that is crucial for a successful marriage. I didn’t realize how I was hurting my husband by spending money and hiding purchases without knowing what our financial state was at. I used credit cards to get what I wanted when I wanted and often indulged in luxuries that we really couldn’t afford. I was selfish, prideful and didn’t understand why I had to have all these boundaries on money that was mine. I mean I deserved it after all…right? He was so hungry to pay off debt and have structure that he would use ant extra earned money to pay off larger payments on credit cards before discussing it with me which lead me to use my credit card for any extra needs for our family.
We were on a downward spiral of poor communication and handling our money. The challenge in a marriage is to work through the different identities, ideals and values you each bring to the relationship. You win at marriage by losing your need to get your way in every battle. You get a happy marriage by giving up selfish desires in order to win together
Once we learned our identities, we unlocked this foreign language and were able to understand each other. For the first time he understood how I felt trapped in his idea of a budget and I got how truly disrespected he felt when I would had no regard for our money. Through FPU, we learned how crucial it was that we both be a part of the budget. It’s important that both spouses be involved with creating the monthly budget. The partner with the natural gift can prepare the budget, but the decision-making must be done by both of you. Once we got this down we begin enjoying budget meetings and respectfully hearing from each other. We often would end with discussing about our future financial plan after we were out of debt and it was so nice to have dreams and goals together.
Our marriage has changed significantly. We have been united with finances and we have so much joy working together. The best part is planning cash paid vacations and surprises for the kids! If we can’t afford something there isn’t even a question to buy it anymore until we have saved enough for it. There is no longer guilt, remorse or stress with purchases or even emergencies. We have so much fun managing our money together and telling it where to go. Paying off debt has been extremely rewarding not just as individuals but together because we both sacrificed and put our own desires aside to reach this goal. The respect and trust I have for Charlie now is more than it has ever been. I understand my role as the free spirit to help spend and enjoy our budgeted money and also enjoy having a cash boundary to know when I have to stop.
Being Debt free is amazing and I’m so proud of my family but my favorite take away from this entire adventure has been how my marriage has grown and become a rock. I’ve never felt closer to my husband and there’s nothing I can’t share with him now. If for no other reason than your marriage learning to identify your role as financial partners is one of the most important aspects in a healthy relationship. Wether it be to pay off debt or build wealth if your goals are not unified the result will come with a lot of pain and hurt.
Getting out of debt has rocked my married, unified our financial goals and opened a new door to dream for our future. Would I do it again? Absolutely!! In a heart beat! Financial Peace University classes are offered all over the country and it’s really easy to find one near you! Visit DAVE RAMSEY to get all the information you need to find a class and purchase a kit! I promise it’s the best money you will ever spend!
Photos by the Beautiful Kellie Mueller