My husband and I were one of the millions of couples who suffered beneath the burden of debt. Key word being *were! As of 2011 we have been completely debt free and we praise God every day for the freedom we have with our finances.
Debt is a horrible marital stressor that affects the entire family. The debt we had and paid in full consisted of my husband’s school loans. In my new book coming out in March, The Unveiled Wife, I explain how as a young wife I did not respond to my husband kindly because of our financial situation. In fact, I blamed him for making us suffer. I separated us in marriage because of our financial status and I shifted all that burden to my husband’s shoulders with hurtful words full of contempt.
It took time for God to open my eyes and show me how my husband and I could rally together as a team to be debt free, but that it would require intentionality, investment of time and resources, and a heart posture that was willing to sacrifice for a beautiful cause.
Now that my husband and I have been debt free, it is amazing to know how much freedom we have with our finances. Remaining debt free still requires intentionality, investment of time and resources, and a heart posture that is willing to sacrifice for a beautiful cause, but I get it now! And I know how to practically handle our finances together in unison.
Getting out from under the debt burden has allowed room for our intimacy in marriage to increase, it has removed stress from our family, and it has been beneficial when making decisions we feel God is leading us through – and justifying that we can’t do something for God because of a lack of available finances is no longer an issue.
My husband and I are HUGE advocates for living debt free! My encouragement to you today is if you are living with debt…whether you or your spouse brought it into marriage or accrued it together…I encourage and urge you to make a plan to be debt free!
As you work together to become debt free, you will be able to better embrace intimacy in marriage and intimacy with God as you are released from the pressures that come with debt.
Here are a few things to do NOW to help you make steps towards having a Debt-free marriage:
- Adopt The Right Attitude – You will have to start here in order to change your spending habits. Adopt the right attitude that you and your husband are attempting to achieve an amazing/rewarding goal. This will help you in times of temptation where you will want to buy something, but instead you don’t and you resist with a positive attitude.
- Spend Less – I know this may sound like silly, obvious advice, however I must remind you that where you spend your money shows your priorities. If becoming debt-free is a true priority it will be evident in your spending (rather lack there of!)
- Spend Only What You Have – Avoid loans and credit cards as if they were the plague! Simple rule, but we try to justify why its ok to do quite often. Just don’t buy it!
- Focus Your Efforts – Start with your smallest bill and pay it off. The momentum from getting rid of one bill will roll over to the next. Rinse and repeat until all debt is paid in full.
- Communicate Daily – Talk to your spouse about the state of the finances and how each of you are feeling. Do not wait for tention to build up and then explode. Make intentional time each day to chat about finances and goals.
- Be An Advocate – If you advocate to others of having a debt-free marriage, your heart will follow! When you advise others, you will feel a tug of responsibility yourself to follow through, so use that as accountability to keep you on the right track.
By doing these things you will helping your spouse achieve a beautiful goal as a teammate. You will also be setting a great example for your children or other loved ones near you who see you two working together for a greater good.
– Jennifer Smith Unveiledwife.com