In speaking with one of my friends this week, whom I love dearly, I asked her about her and her long-time boyfriend and marriage plans.
She confided in me that she had been just accepted to graduate school, and so, there were the student loans to think about.
I reminded her of one of my philosophies that “you shouldn’t put off getting married for anything you wouldn’t get divorced over.”
If you don’t want to marry someone with $100,000 in student loans because they suck at money and you’re afraid you’re going to live on the streets or sleep in a parked car outside a casino, yeah, that’s a problem.
But don’t NOT get married because you’ll have to pay bills.
But it's something that I hear all.the.time.
But I think this concept reaches even further: we all come into marriage with debt.
Every single one of us has “baggage,” hurts, and real things that need fixing and healing.
They might be financial like student loans or maybe lingering hospital bills.
They might be emotional like broken hearts that haven’t been quite healed, if we’re really being honest, by previous heartbreak.
They might be spiritual; we might feel like God owes us something, we are holding God ransom waiting for our “just desserts.” Or, we might feel like we aren’t good enough for God, that our own shortcomings have him blind to us for the moment, for the week, for the year.
Hot tip: that.doesn’t.change.when.you.get.married
You might heal those above, but then, BOOM you’ll get, like, twelve new ones. Like whack-a-mole.
But the media shows us this:
And we think it’s about a wedding and a party and an instagram hashtag.
And we think it's about a paid off or at least a secure and sturdy mortgage with all the pretty furnishings.
(Chase and I didn't have a bed for the first four years of our marriage. We had a mattress on the floor. Hey-I got pregnant on the honeymoon! The baby had a better bed than us!)
But here’s the BEST part about God’s plan for marriage for you.
When you get those inevitable hurts and when you continue to heal from the ones that previously and endlessly (or so it feels) exist and when you turn to God and seek His wisdom: there’s someone right there on the couch in his sweatpants eating jalepeno cheese popcorn.
It’s not freeing and (I would say) it’s not love to go into a marriage / relationship with nothing to lose.
You go in with everything to lose and that person goes in with everything to lose.
And you win together. Every day. You set boundaries together. You fast forward through commercials together. You hide chocolate from your kids together. You deal with deaths together. You refill sippy cups together. You freak out over property taxes together. You duct tape pipes together.
Going into a marriage isn’t about erasing debts.
Going into a marriage is about tackling debts together.
The best way to prepare for marriage is not to try and erase all your debts, but to be honest about them, communicate them, and to embrace them in each other.
This is the real challenge and this is the real victory.