When Jon and I were newlyweds, we both worked. In our joint checkbook register, we titled the two regular deposits each month as "Jon's paycheck" and "Abby's paycheck." After I became a stay-at-home Mom, it was very hard to break down the label of "Jon's paycheck" in my mind.
For example, here is a stupid example of how sin begets sin. Whenever Jon had to "sacrifice" something fun for the benefit of our new babies, I used to do the child support calculation that I still had memorized in my head from my old work of advising divorcing clients. "How sad," I'd think. "The kids and I take 100% of Jon's paycheck. If he'd divorce me he'd only have to pay X amount to his family each month and he'd get to pocket the rest." (Because that's the unformed spiritual mess I was in my late twenties. Beer, travel, and ski pass money were still more exciting expenses than our new fixed expenses of laundry soap and teething crackers.)
By the time I officially checked "retired" on all three of my State Attorney license agreements, I no longer felt guilty about having "our" single paycheck pay for my contact lenses, or my dentist bills, or my winter coat.
However, I still felt really, really guilty about "stealing" money from my husband's paycheck to pay for my private student loans. For our ten year marriage, that cost has floated between $250 to $300. I've constantly been tempted to get quick fixes to take care of "my" debt.
Over time, God has really healed my heart on this issue. Our God is an awesome God. He can do anything. He could have sent a long-lost uncle to pay off my entire student loan debt the moment I decided to follow his call into the land of stay-at-home motherhood. But he chose something more beautiful!
Month by month, my husband has been the one who has happily paid the price the stupid financial mistakes I made before our marriage. (And believe me, those pricey, not-really-needed, private loans WERE a mistake). I went from feeling defensive and embarrassed, to feeling honored.
Every day, my husband tells me that he's so happy that I'm a stay-at-home wife. Then each month, he underlines those words with action. He cheerfully mails a hefty portion of "our" paycheck to "our" student loans.
I affectionately call Jon, "my starter husband for Jesus." Jon is preparing my heart on earth for a spiritual marriage to Jesus in heaven.
What I've learned from coming into my sacramental marriage deeply in debt-
spiritual debt, &
is that a loving spouse, just like Jesus, will happily pay the price for all the mistakes that I made before we met.
Our old student loans are small potatoes next to the current reality of a beautiful marriage and a happy family life.
I've got the financial balance sheet to prove it.