The writing was on the wall. It felt like we were just waiting on the inevitable. We had no income, the little bit of savings we had was gone, and we were struggling to even put food on the table. Soon enough we were going to have to leave our home. What bothered me the most was the fact that it was due to my failures in my career, managing our money, and in not doing my job as head of my household.
The worst part of it all was this wasn’t the first time we had been here. Several years before, we went through something similar, and our family was homeless. The main difference: This time, instead of being a homeless family of three, we were a homeless family of five.
I was completely aware that money and marriage go hand in hand when discussing the reason many couples divorce and why many families fail. But as I’m writing this post, our family is together, our marriage is thriving, and the experiences we’ve had are now serving as inspiration for others. Challenging and hard times can push a couple apart, but we made the conscious decision to grow toward each other. That is how our marriage beat the odds. Here are 7 ways to grow through your marriage and family’s most difficult problems.
1. We didn’t blame one another.
My wife didn’t blame me for losing my job. I didn’t blame her for not being more on top of the budget. That would have been the beginning of the end. Although each of us were to blame, we didn’t do it. It would have gotten us nowhere, except in divorce court. We didn’t want that.
2. We didn’t search outside of our marriage for a solution.
I’m certain there have been other couples who’ve experienced financial challenges, losing a home, or just not having their needs met. When needs aren’t met within the marriage, the temptation can be to find a solution outside of your marriage, like an adulterous relationship. We didn’t. We looked at ourselves individually and came together as a couple to best meet our needs. And ultimately, we found the solution to our problems as a couple.
3. We did seek help.
If it weren’t for family and friends, counselors, books, retreats, classes, etc., we would not have beaten the odds. We sought out counsel to help with our marriage problems. We leaned on friends and family when we needed to. We read books and took classes, not only keep our marriage together but to educate ourselves. We learned how to better manage our money and added new skills so we could earn more by being more valuable to others.
4. We did come closer to one another.
In some cases, this was because we had no choice. Sharing a bedroom as a family or having one car forced us to spend a lot of time together! The family dinners at the table, all day trips for work, running errands, and kids’ activities created some habits that still remain. It all has created a deeper connection.
5. We did choose to make the best of it.
Sometimes we ate like broke college kids (can you say Ramen Noodles?), but we ate and we enjoyed it. About 90% of our things were in storage, so trips to “forage” for things we needed happened a lot. During those trips, our kids pulled out their toys and whatever else interested them for play.
6. We did rely and trust God.
There were times when we literally had no idea how we’d feed our kids. Times when we didn’t have enough gas to take our kids to their homeschooling group. Times when there was nothing we could do to get ourselves out of the situations we were in…except trust God. These times led us to pray more than we had and to ultimately trust that God knew our problems, He cared, and He’d “never leave nor forsake us.”
7. We did not lose hope.
Hope will get you through anything. We had hope in the fact that if we continued to do the things above but kept a mindset that God was in control, this would not last forever. This hope kept us, fueled us, and was a bridge over situations where the odds were stacked against us, but ultimately our marriage beat the odds. Hope will get you through anything.
This is a story that I’ve been reluctant to share, but, by sharing, I believe someone reading will be encouraged, given hope, and take steps to help their marriage beat the odds as well.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and say, “What would happen if we lost everything but one another?”