This picture was taken during our wedding weekend in 2014. It is significant to me as it shows how happy we were, and, what you can not see is how far we have come. We married in probably the dullest time of the year for Ohio. March is generally pretty gray and people are just hanging on until spring. If you are affected by seasonal depression, March is your mountain! We didn’t intentionally choose this date, it was chosen from necessity. At the time I was a recent graduate of nursing school and had been divorced for three years. I had $3,000.00 debt from a small school loan I accrued to complete my last three semesters. I found myself with a new skill and no job. The BMW I was awarded from my first marriage had drained my bank account with repairs. In January I found myself virtually bankrupt with a $5,000.00 repair estimate, just over $3,000.00 in the bank and no job offer in site. For the first time, I was afraid. I had always lived within my means and had much pride in paying my monthly expenses.
Roof and I had rekindled the friendship we shared as youths during a time when he was also re-inventing his life. He was working part-time at Lowes while restoring a home that he could share with his two children. He was in worse financial shape than I. He had some debt to repay from his first marriage, and his income was limited while he devoted time restoring a home back to a livable condition. Roof kept a positive outlook and encouraged me that all would be well. He helped me find a car to fill my need. We began to talk about pooling our abilities and resources to rebuild our lives at 40.
When I was offered a nursing position in the town he lived we had decisions to make. If I accepted the job, where would I live? Roof was a man of absolute biblical morals and values. He never lost faith in the power a marriage could create. I, on the other hand, was anxious and feared marriage might ruin the friendship and high regard we placed on each other. What if marriage killed personal happiness and fulfillment? We could not afford two monthly housing payments, and if we were to share the same roof, we would have to be married. So, we married out of love with a little push by desperation! There was no fanfare surrounding our wedding, just vows in front of a court judge, a dinner out, and our run through a park that you see here. We simply did not have the money.
Today we have $90,000.00 in investments, an emergency fund, a comfy home where we are free from financial anxiety. It is amazing that we have accomplished this in a short 4 1/2 years. Neither of us was able to accomplish these things in our first 20 year marriages despite larger incomes. This highlights the power of parity and goals as a couple. The first task in living modestly is to pair with your mate. If you feel you and your other half are not pulling together financially, set a time to have a loving, open discussion that does not include blaming. Start to dream together, and set goals that are realistic for your life. If you are single, then have a serious conversation with yourself as to why you are not having the life you want. Join a community that encourages you to keep going one step at a time. We hope it will be ours!