Breaking Free From Financial Bondage

Seven dollars and eighty two cents…the checking account balance was at an all time low. Even more frustrating was the fact that neither of us were scheduled to be paid until the following week. College loans, the overhead of starting a new home, wedding expenses, credit card debt and my desire to spoil myself with pretty things that were way beyond my means had all contributed to the mounting debt.

debt revised

There were no gourmet meals, unless you count the Swanson’s Pot Pies, or Mr. P’s frozen pizza. Yet, my husband had a plan and he was strong-willed and determined to get us out of debt.  That first year of marriage was a financial struggle. It was all we could do to keep our heads afloat.  I had taken the vow, “for richer or for poorer,” but when it had come time to put my words into action, I just didn’t know if I wanted to live that way! This was a far cry from fitting into my fairy tale vision of marriage.

Before our marriage, while I had been living the single life out on my own, I did not see the value of good credit scores. When a bill came due, my attitude was to thank God it is always followed by a grace period!  I knew just how to write a check on Wednesday for my purchase of a new sweater or a piece of jewelry, and pray that it would not hit my bank account until pay day. I was a genius at living on the financial edge. Yet every rash shopping excursion was followed by the fear and anxiety of how I would pay it all back.

Don’t you just love God’s sense of humor? How He knows exactly what and who you need in your life? Of all things, He allows me to end up falling in love with an accountant??  Seriously God, You want me to marry a man who instead of pie, is more interested in pie charts? That first year left us frightened, resentful towards one another and at times it became an exhausting trial on our marriage. There were occasions when my husband would work extra hard to save so that we could apply more to our debt load. Yet I selfishly chose the attitude, I work, I earn my own money... while secretly acquiring more debt behind his back.

That debt only led to more hidden sin. There would be days that I would rush home from work just so I could hide the mail from my husband or statements which most always contained a secret purchase of some kind. The mounting debt only led to depression, isolation and a looming sense of failure.

I realized the only way out was to be submissive to the plan that my husband had put into place. That plan was a tool we used then and now and it has kept us on the road to financial stability. I recently read a stunning statistic that two thirds of people live from paycheck to paycheck! Because of our self centered attitudes, poor financial decisions and circumstances that happen beyond our control GOD’s people are finding themselves more and more in financial bondage!

Are you ready as a Christian Couple to be set free?

#1 Pray!  EVERYTHING in your life should begin with prayer...together.

#2 Pray Even Harder. We recognized that this was one area in our marriage that Satan wanted to attack us in. You need to seek God for wisdom. Pray for God to provide the means and show you the way to get out of debt. As we prayed, God began to reveal to me the sin in spending what I did not have, and in coveting what others had.

#3 Tithe. Even when it seemed to be a hardship we knew that our giving was recognizing the fact that our money was not ours to begin with. Tithing a way of saying, GOD we are trusting you! Without a doubt God always seemed to bless that 90 percent we had left a whole lot more.

#4 Commit. Determine your plan together and commit to stick to it. You have to communicate!  I won't lie, there were arguments (we prefer to call this intense fellowship). There can be no secrets between you. That means no more his and her accounts; your marriage is a joint venture, a partnership. You have to learn to live within your means.

#5 Set Goals. What do you want as a family 6 months from now, a year, and two years? For us those goals included building an emergency fund and tackling the debt. We began to prioritize our pay down plan. What does that look like for your family?

#6 Don't Charge It! That's right, cut up the credit cards. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it! Do you control your credit cards or do they control you?

#7 Get Help. If necessary, seek the help of a Christian mentor or counselor who will be able to help you as a couple by reviewing your finances and offering guidance on how to manage your finances, create a budget and develop a plan for eliminating the debt.

#8 Reward Yourself. Yep, it’s kind of like a diet plan. When you lose that first five pounds you reward yourself with a treat. As soon as we paid off our smallest debt we rewarded ourselves with something small that we both had wanted for our home.

Can I share with you a little irony to our 8 steps? The number “eight” in the Bible means a new beginning!

Honey child, I wish I could candy coat this for you and say it was easy. Truth is there is no magical debt free formula. What it takes is guts, determination, perseverance, the Almighty Hand of God and the will to succeed.

I am praying that God’s hand will be upon you and your family as you begin BOLD, COURAGEOUS steps to forever eliminate your debt.  You don’t have to be rich to live financially free.

P.S. As you journey in this challenge, be sure to stop along the way and celebrate.  Look back and recognize your progress and HIS goodness.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

AOM at Sea Rotating Slide

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