Are you Guys Up for the Love Challenge?

My wife and I are up to almost a decade of marriage.

In this day and an age, nine or ten years being married is a challenge, an adventure, and seemingly a rarity.

I attended a Christian college and my friends left and right were getting hitched. While I’m not really friends with any of them, once in awhile news will come my way of many of divorcing, having affairs, and even heard of a suicide. Even in the realm of sacred sanctimony, it seems that many of my peers just can’t go the distance.

Myself, I got married at thirty years old. Not that I wasn’t engaged previously, or had varying degrees of romances. But I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how to budget. I didn’t know how to have integrity—that is, being the same person in private and in public. I didn’t know how to sacrifice for others. I didn’t really even know who or what I was.

Getting married changed that. Becoming a team-partner with someone changes things. But before that change happens, both within and outside of you, chaos occurs.

By nature, I’m a stubborn person. I’m insecure. I have a lot of pride—which is usually boastfulness attempting to cover up said insecurities. All your scratches and dents come to the surface when marriage gives a good rubbing off of the dust, dirt and tarnish. Who you really are comes to the forefront.

When you’re married to someone, everything you do affects that person.

  • Spend too much? You can’t pay the bills.
  • Have an unhealthy diet? You become unhealthy.
  • Bad habits? You could die way earlier than your spouse.
  • Anger issues? You might just lose him or her.

One event that changed everything between my new spouse and me. I had a new phone and started to download 99-cent songs here and there. Before I knew it, I had about a thousand dollars worth of songs on my phone, and not enough to cover the rent on our new apartment.

While my gracious wife was quite patient about this situation, especially in retrospect, I could have caused us a world of trouble. Her credit was awesome, mine not so much. But with that one phone bill, and our limited income, we could have (in worst case scenario) had our utilities shut off, lost the apartment, had the phones cut off, had no food to eat, and would have pretty much been the worst year of our marriage—our first year, that is.

We were able to scrape by and not have a tough time then, but the phone is just one circumstance of my uncanny way to lose money through buying stuff I didn’t need.

Being married, and compromising a bad habit, helped get me to where I can not only avoid devastating spending sprees, but I can now budget, save, and am able to make the choice to do without.

Does this mean, I’m without possessions and fun times? Not at all. But through my wife’s awesome skills at budgeting, saving and planning, we have helped evolve me into a more responsible person, both for the good of myself and for our partnership.

We now reach goals. We have a house, two dependable cars, some side businesses, and a dream to someday have a farm and be able to work from home exclusively (or simply, retire).

If it weren’t for my wife, and waiting until I was a humble adult to get married, I handled a tough situation well and was able to be molded into the man I am today.

Get married, yes. But know that there is sacrifice, humility, and growth in that binding of love.

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