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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Money Talk

Sara: Recently, we found out that Justin needs some unexpected dental work.

Justin: On my twelfth birthday I slipped on the ice and broke my left front tooth in half. My parents took me to the dentist, who repaired the tooth with a crown. Since then, I have hardly thought about the incident. However, that tooth began to hurt about a week ago.

Sara: We know that unexpected expenses occasionally arise. We expect them and plan for them.

Justin: We knew that the tooth could require major work. What we didn’t know was just how expensive the bill might be.

Sara: Worst case scenario, it looks like it might cost up to four thousand dollars if Justin has to have the tooth removed and a surgical implant to replace it. Yup, that’s four thousand dollars.

Although we do have money set aside for a rainy day, I, of course, started freaking out when I found out. My “type A” personality immediately reached for our budget spreadsheet to help determine how we could pay for the necessary procedures.

Justin: Of course I was upset too, so I decided to pray a rosary on the drive back. At first, I couldn’t help thinking why us? How are we going to afford this? But as I continued to pray, I began to ask myself how I could use this as an opportunity to grow in trust in God.

I am a saver by nature. I am responsible with money and I work hard to get ahead. However, I am also often controlling when it comes to money. I want to hang on to it with all my might. It is often easy for me to forget that ultimately it is not me who is providing for our family, but God. While this expense will definitely hurt our savings, it will not prevent us from meeting our daily needs. God is still providing us with ample daily bread. He is still being faithful. Perhaps he is calling me to stop focusing so much on my ability to provide and trust more in His providence.

Of course this is easier said than done and I think it is important to acknowledge that it is an uncomfortable lesson. I am still struggling with it and expect that I will struggle with it for a while.

Sara: As I reflected upon our reactions to this news, I realized just how much our marriage has grown in the past two and a half years.

At the start of our marriage, I probably would have cried and gotten more upset when I saw Justin was upset. I would have felt Justin was frustrated at me because I didn’t make enough money at my job or wasn’t sacrificing enough so we could put more money in savings.

Justin probably wouldn’t have understood why I was upset that he was upset, and he wouldn’t have known how to comfort me. He would have done his best to put his frustrations aside, but ultimately the only thing that would have helped would be getting used to the idea of spending so much money.

He also would have been very upset, and would have probably fed into my frenzy by telling me we needed to find a way to pay for the work. Then I would have felt even more pressure to figure out how to pay for it sooner rather than later.

Instead, I simply let the information process and tried to think of options to potentially save money on the work. Would our dentist give us a cash discount if we were able to pay everything up front?

While there’s not a lot of wiggle room in our budget since we’ve become a one income family, ultimately, I know we can and will make the sacrifices necessary to get the work done so it’s not worth both Justin and me getting upset about something we can’t change. We’ll ultimately find ways to tighten our belts to pay for the work. Hopefully some unexpected income will also find its way to us soon!