This post is not to judge anyone, but people want to get their financial lives in order before marriage so that they can live blissfully when they finally tie the knot. However, this pushes back their union several years, and may cause them to compromise their integrity or to even end the relationship. I’m not saying this is the path that we all should take, but for those of you who are on the fence, deciding whether you should get married now or pinch your pennies together first, we pray that God may use our testimony to help you figure out what to do next.
When we first started dating, I was working part-time in the church office, and he was working for his parents’ ice cream truck business. Separately, we were getting by, but without the cushion of living at home with our parents, and with my college debt, marriage wasn’t even a dream for us. Of course, that changed rather quickly, as I transitioned to full-time at the office, moved into an apartment closer to him, and started to watch my budget.
After three months, Lenny told me he wanted to marry me. He told me he had talked to his parents about how much money he would need to start a life with me, and the number didn’t seem to bother him. Our entire relationship, we were in prayer, but when Lenny started talking marriage, I was on my knees a lot more often!
In general, we both have frugal mindsets. I grew up literally saving every penny in a piggy bank, spending money only when it was completely necessary, and making wise purchases at bargain prices (thanks to the teaching of my mom, who intentionally buys the items she needs at the cheapest prices, and grandma, who was the one that made thrifting cool!). Lenny grew up watching his parents start and maintain a business, so he learned the value of a dollar at a very early age.
When we started dating, we saved money everywhere we could, from going to walks at the local park, to eating dinner at home. When it was time to get engaged, I didn’t give Lenny a preference for a ring, but I told him please don’t spend a ton of money on it. He spent more than I wanted, but I learned later that it’s polite to spend a certain percentage of your income on an engagement ring, so I appreciated it.
We were engaged for a couple of months before we decided on a wedding date. While praying, we each felt pulled in different directions. Lenny was concerned about the money, while I was concerned that we were secure and maintained our integrity. We’ve learned that men and women have different priorities, and, generally, men feel more of a burden to provide financially for the family, and women feel more of a burden to provide a secure, nurturing home for the family. Lenny was concerned that he couldn’t provide for us, while I was concerned that we wouldn’t have security until we got married. One thing we agreed on for sure: no matter what, we wanted to be together, and we wanted to keep God at the center of our relationship.
So, we decided to get married eleven months later, giving us just enough time to gather our dollars together.
Right after making that decision, Lenny started looking for a job in his field, and I started to budget more intently. We cut the costs of our wedding (we’ll talk about that next week), and we kept a running total of what we spent and what we received from our friends and family. When we got married in November 2016, we both had jobs that gave us the ability to afford an apartment in our friends’ house, buy our necessities, and save for a house. We used the money from our wedding, and the selling of my husband’s car, to pay off my debt, so we could start our marriage without any financial burdens.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy, but looking back, we’ve seen how God has provided. It all started with a step of faith. We’re now in an apartment that we didn’t think we could ever afford, and now we’re saving for a house that we also didn’t think we could afford. But as God has led us, we have trusted that He will provide for us each time to choose to say “yes” to what He has for us.
What “yes” do you need to say to Him today?