Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Will You Build a Life With Me?

I don't do a lot of topics about marriage because, quite frankly, I have zero experience when it comes to it. However, today the topic was brought up while we sipped on coffee with a friend. The boys were wrestling in the background and having nerf-gun wars in the midst of us as we talked on this serious subject. Must have made for an interesting picture.

This friend, mother of two boys, was talking about how the standard of living for her boys when they grew up and got married would be much more different than that of her and her husband's at the current time. We were all agreeing and it got me to thinking about it.

Quite honestly, I think that many young ladies in general are a bit spoiled. MYSELF INCLUDED! I'm most certainly not pointing fingers (or if I am, it's at myself). :-) See, we've grown up in homes where we each have our own sewing machine, or computer, or car, or whatever. Now, maybe your parents didn't buy those things for you, and in that case, then I commend you for making those sorts of purchases on your own. However, there are several things that we can allow ourselves to be spoiled in. We can buy clothing, makeup, hobby supplies, etc with our own money because we have no other purpose for it (except to put some by into savings, but we're not talking about that). The point is, we don't have to care for a family. We're not feeding six children, clothing them, and buying their school books. We're not making house, car, or insurance payments.

So, what is our expectation going into marriage? Quite honestly, if I were a young man, I would be rather intimidated by girls who 'had it all' because I would wonder if they expected those things on my low-income after we were married (I honestly have no idea if that's how guys feel, I'm just saying it from my perspective)

Now, before I go further, I want to share a bit of a story. Most of y'all may not know, but 9 years ago, our family moved from a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house into a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. Quite a difference. Now, 9 years ago, I was a pretty bratty kid. Maybe not terrible, but let's face it, none of us are perfect, especially at a young age. Needless to say, I didn't have much of a relationship with my siblings, and moving into a tiny house where there was no space to 'get away' just about drove me crazy. That's where my lilac bushes came in (as most of y'all probably know about). In any case, it really stretched me. I had to learn to love those around me even more than I had before, to accept them for who they were and love them still. It was tough, but it certainly grew and matured me in a way that nothing else could.

Then, not long after buying the ranch, the mortgage business plummeted. My dad was a mortgage lender and, naturally, we felt the brunt of the economy's down slide pretty hard. We came very close to the bank foreclosing on us (as it was rather difficult making loan payments for the ranch when there was no money coming in). Living off of beans and rice taught us a lot. We had to live with the bare minimum. No 'pleasure' buying. No ice cream. No 'fun food'. Literally, the bare minimum.

But ya know what? I'm so very glad we went through that time. Not only was it an awesome testament of God's amazing power and love for us, but we, as a family, bonded together in an amazing way. We had nothing except God and each other to lean on. Our spiritual lives were strengthened as we learned to trust in God completely to provide for us.

However, one of the things that I look back on now, as a young woman, is that it taught me how to live with nothing. To be content with very little, and to make do with what I had. I honestly was so very thankful for that time because I feel that it has maybe prepared me a bit for the future.

If God sends me a husband, I don't know what our financial situation will be. I know that my husband will provide for me, but 'provide' doesn't mean that I'll get to buy lots of fun gadgets or clothes any time I want. Providing means that there is food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads (whether it be a small or large roof!). What more do you really need?

So, as we were having this conversation with our friend, I was thinking about how our family grew together during that hard time with the ranch and I wondered how young, newly married couples grew together. No doubt, what strengthens them together is the fact that they stick together through thick and thin, that they trust one another and grow over the tough things, the rough parts in life.

"House Hunters" is a TV program I like to watch when I get the chance to. I find it extremely interesting to watch the different couples finding houses. The ones that drive me nuts the most are these young, newly married, or 'pregnant-with-their-first-child' couples. They can be the pickiest people alive! They are looking for houses in a budget of several hundred thousand, and that means they are going big and grand. One couple I remember in particular was looking at one house and didn't like the paint color. They were complaining about how they didn't think they could live in a house with that particular color on the walls.

I was flabbergasted. Really? You would be so discontent with a paint color, something so easily changed, that you don't want to consider that house to buy?? Really?

As Americans we are fed this lie that we deserve the best, when in reality we don't "deserve" anything. We can work and save for luxuries, but we most certainly do not deserve them. Yet so many young couples go into marriage thinking that they deserve the best. 

When I think about "building a life" with someone someday, I don't want to expect that I will have everything that my parents do now. I want to 'build up', starting with the foundation. Although I wouldn't say that you 'can't' build a relationship when you have everything right off the bat, I will say that I have seen stronger relationships forged on very little.

Now, I won't lie and say I don't have a 'dream house' with the perfect kitchen and porch, or that I don't enjoy buying a cute shirt every now and then, because I do. However, I don't want to set up this expectation of my future husband to provide those things for me in our first year, or first half, even, or our marriage. In fact, I may never get those things, but ya know what? I could live with that. So long as we were happy, following Christ, and growing stronger together each day, then what more can I really ask for? And right now, I can be practicing that sort of thing by being content with my life right now. As it is that this very present moment.

And that, my friends, are just a few randomly put thoughts that went through my head today. What are you thoughts on the subject?


Prairie Momma said...

Just wonderful!! A perfect recap to the afternoon's discussion. I'm glad your heart is focused in the right direction!! I love you!

Kelsianne said...

Great thoughts, Sarah! So true that we need to learn to be content with what we have now, and whatever place the Lord has us. Otherwise, we'll never be content, even in the times of plenty.


Lydia said...

Really good thoughts Sarah! I know you will make an awesome wife/mother for some special man someday. I enjoyed your thoughts. I so agree with you about the crazy picky-ness of some. Over paint??? You have GOT to be kidding! That is is silly, to put it mildly! Keep writing young lady, you are so precious! Great food for thought!

PrincessR said...

Good post, Sarah! How often I fail in this area!! Thank goodness for a gracious Lord who gives enough grace to cover my messes.

Such a good thought. I really enjoyed discussing it the other day. It takes a LOT of self-control to go from living in a well off family to marriage on a small single-income family, but I know it is WORTH it. And besides, like you said, that is where the relationship building comes in!!!!

Love you, Becs

Anonymous said...

These are some great thoughts, Sarah! Learning to be content with little is a wonderful character quality to have and one that will bless our future husbands. While we may not be called to live frugal lives, it's always good to have that mindset, to be able to save, make due, and stretch your money.

Desarae said...

Wonderful post, Sarah! You know, I hadn't really thought of it quite this way before. I've grown up in a large family and we have always been tight financially- what everyone else around us considered normal, we thought were special treats and luxuries. (Been there with the beans and rice!) So I guess I always thought my married situation would be better, since my family seemed to be an exception to how most everyone else lived. Your post really made me think you said, we have our own cars, computers, and money to spend on our various projects. I have had times off and on where I shared a room, but for the post part, I have always had my own own space. You helped me see how blessed I really am. And it is true, we need to be careful about the expectations we have in marriage. Thanks for sharing you thoughts! :)