Money and Budget = Security

Posted: June 17, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , ,

My wife and I ran some errands and did some shopping this morning and it turned out that she was thinking about where we’ve been and what we’ve come through.  She gets all three of her summer paychecks at once in June, while I still take mine once a month all year long.  Last year, when she got her checks in June, she bought her road bike, knowing that she had her job at Dillard’s to replace that money.  She also knew that she would be living downtown and would be able to use her bike as her primary means of transportation.

We were a mess in terms of our relationship then.  Today, everything is utterly different.  She commented on how things were then, and how things are now.  Now we each have our road bikes and we ride together.   We have a great place where we woke up together this morning, and we’re spending summer vacation together, enjoying each other’s company and more or less doing whatever we want.  We’re making plans for traveling, camping, trying new restaurants, and the list goes on.

The key word in all of this is “together.”  My wife often looks me in the eye and says, “We’re together now,” when I get melancholy or feel twinges of regret for the time that we lost.  It keeps the focus where it belongs: on the present instead of the past.

Another key to our happy life is finances.  We work in education, so we are not what anyone would call, “well off.”  Even so, you don’t have to be rich, or even upper class, to be able to enjoy life.  We have learned, mainly with help from Dave Ramsey, to live within our means.  Through his programs, we learned how to write a budget and how to prioritize income and expenses.  We have learned to control our money, instead of letting it control us.

We have a great apartment, but the rent is very affordable.  We don’t pay for things that we don’t really want or need, so money is freed up to spend on entertainment, trips, and spontaneous fun.  We don’t have cable or satellite, we don’t carry balances on credit cards, and we drive a used car that is reliable, but requires only a very modest payment.

For women especially, in order to fully trust and give themselves to another, security is a must.  Security doesn’t necessarily equal a certain dollar amount.  It’s more the idea that the bills will get paid, there will be money in the checking account, and when we really need something, we won’t have to beg, borrow, or steal to get it.  It’s the idea that she won’t have to go out and get another job, or worry all the time about what’s going to happen.

For so much of our marriage, our finances were a total wreck.  We lived off cash flow and financing.  The stress was enormous, and it was always just a matter of time before we had to take some kind of unwanted steps to try to fix the mess.  We had collectors after us constantly, we had to borrow money often, and we had no idea how to change things for the better.

Very soon after we got back together, my wife was able to quit her job at Dillard’s because we didn’t need that money.  There was no reason for her to be working a second job.  I kept my extra job at Macy’s for a period of time, so that we would have some additional disposable income, and so that she would realize that I was going to take care of our needs.

Trust needed to be rebuilt in a number of areas of our relationship.  During our separation, I had been able to demonstrate committment, faithfulness, responsibility, and more.  Now, with us living together again, I had the opportunity to show her that she would be financially secure.  It didn’t take her long to decide that the extra money from Macy’s wasn’t as important as having me home.  She knows now that I’m willing to work as much as is needed, and she appreciates having time to spend together more than a higher balance in the checkbook.

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