The Real Ball and Chain

When Gary and I were first married, we were young, poor seminary students. Unfortunately, I wanted to rework his fashion image. So, since I proudly held “a” credit card to a department store and since Gary needed some clothes, we went on a spending spree! After all, we reasoned, we can manage the $10 minimum payment. So what if that takes us until our 10th anniversary to pay off?! Because, we thought, Gary needed clothes!

I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were like two little kids right before Christmas, grabbing this shirt and charging that pair of pants. It felt magical! Having so much power and freedom was exhilarating for two newlyweds and, for all intents and purposes, newly launched adults. At least that’s what that little piece of plastic made us feel. The only problem with that plan was that our launch into adulthood was more like the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger (For those not old enough to know—that launch ended in disaster, killing all aboard).

What I’m trying to say is that we made a fatal mistake that so many young couples (well, older couples too) make—let’s buy it now…on credit!

Over time this practice stayed with us—since debt tends to do that if you add to it faster than you pay it off.  So when the lean times came—and don’t kid yourself, they always do—we were in big trouble. Of course, we wanted to add to our “adult life” a house, a nicer car, and over the span of six years, three children. You could say we were baling water out of a boat that had a huge gaping hole, and then inviting our three beautiful tots as well as the banker of our mortgage company into our sinking boat!

At some point, (some ten years later), we wised up and sought out a financial advisor for budget advice. He gave us a plan to get out of debt and in the span of about six years, we were able to pay off all of our credit card debt and eventually all other debt except for our home (yes, that means that we don’t even have car loans).

Now I’m not saying that this has been easy. Committing to going debt free has been very tough at times. We had to learn to give up the things we would like now with a view to the future—thinking, “Maybe someday we can afford that.” With this future focus, we were able to remain on track. And when the final payment was made, it felt more fulfilling and free than that first moment of “freedom” we thought we were experiencing when we signed over our bank account to our credit card company.

I hope that you and your spouse are financially free, but if you’re not and thinking it might be wise to investigate financial freedom, then check out this link: Crown FinancialMinistries. You can find a free financial coach in your area through this ministry.

And in the weeks and months ahead, mm will be addressing more of these kinds of financial issues and conflicts that often plague messy married couples. So if this is a problem for you and your spouse, stay tuned—there are more stories, insights and resources to come!

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  • I agree that buying on credit is definitely a ball and chain. I, like you, was in debt for about a decade before finally being debt-free. I finally feel like I’m not drowning.

  • Bravo! We had those times when we had to put diapers and mac and cheese on credit cards. That coupled with personal credit being used to help with finances in a business partnership with four idiots took us YEARS to dig out of. We have not struggled with resentment and blaming the last several years and I thought that was because we were so much more “MATURE”, but, now that I think about it, not having the financial weight that comes with all that debt is truly a difference maker.

  • Thanks to both of you, Susan and Kimberly, for stopping by and sharing about your financial journeys.

    And Kimberly, I think you’re absolutely right. Being financially free makes life and relationships so much healthier and easier. I’m glad you’re basking in the joy and freedom of it all!

  • Thanks to both of you, Susan and Kimberly, for stopping by and sharing about your financial journeys.

    And Kimberly, I think you’re absolutely right. Being financially free makes life and relationships so much healthier and easier. I’m glad you’re basking in the joy and freedom of it all!