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West Virginia Wedding Photographer | The Truth About Marriage | Guest Writer Lauren Atwell

February 24, 2021

Filed in: Couples, personal

Lauren was my first roommate in college, and years later, we are at such a similar place in life with growing families and growing photography businesses. Money is one of those hard topics that people don’t like to talk about and can cause a lot of division in relationships. Lauren has such a great perspective and I love that she shared what was on her heart!

Both my husband and I are very “go with the flow” type of people. We love relaxing, doing things spontaneously, and are never really afraid to try new things.

All three of these things makes us sound like we’re just perfect for each other, but the fact of the matter is that we’ve lacked much discipline when it comes to finances over the past 6 years of being together. We’ve always lived like the sky is the limit. The problem with this mindset is that you get into that young marriage situation where you just feel the need to “buy a home when you get married,” “travel all over the place with your spouse”, “buy lots of home décor to fill your new home together,” “buy a new car together or new kitchen/ outdoor appliances” to make our home the “perfect” one.

Robb and I did these things. We did WHATEVER we felt like doing. I was 22 and he was 24 when we first got married; So young and naïve, obviously. We wanted a house, we wanted to travel, I wanted a master’s degree and Robb wanted a new car every 6 months hehe. (Sorry Robb, I had to say it.). So, we did all those things. Little did we know, it wouldn’t always create roses and daisies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the things we ‘ve done over the years and wouldn’t trade anything for all of our travels and education we’ve earned. But now that we’re 6 years into this marriage thing and have a little Luka Pooka we are seeing things that serve at a greater value than just going to school, having new cars, and 2000 square foot homes. We started looking at the future, our finances, and what things would look like for us as a couple in 20 years from now as well as for our baby and any future kids. The bottom line is that if we kept doing whatever we felt like doing, there wouldn’t be a future of choices for us or our kids. Just a future of paying off debt to ridiculous things that don’t hold eternal value.

I’ve learned so much about eternal value over the last year. The COVID-19 Pandemic enlightened me on what contentment looks like, and how to be joyful and happy with where you are in your current state of living. Whether that’s being stuck in your home for a few months and spending time with my family, or getting to travel the world anytime you felt like it. Either way, I learned to find joy in the mundane.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 – “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Psalm 118:1 tells us, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

This scripture reminds me so much of conversations that friends, and family have when they’re discussing other people’s wealth. Don’t act like ya’ll haven’t done this before. 😉 When people say…” They must make a lot of money because they live in that giant house, or he must make a lot of money because she gets to be a stay at home mama.” Yeah, you know what I’m saying….

I’ve learned that when you start putting other people’s financial situations in your thoughts and wonder what life would be like in their shoes, you’re allowing greed to control your heart.

I’m going to be honest; I’ve seen families with 4 to 5 kids living in 1,000 square foot homes and they are the most happy and joyful people I’ve ever met. I love to hear my mom tell her story of how she only received oranges any apples in her stocking every Christmas. It always makes our family giggle because every time she brings it up, it’s with a big smile on her face. That little bit of her Christmas made her feel joyful and content; a memory to look back on forever. THAT is what contentment and joy look like to me. I know I’m not going to look back on my life and wish I had purchased a brand-new ford expedition or chose to buy a huge house for my family. I will look back though on the times spent with my family, the beautiful sites of the world I got to see, the things that God taught me about His love for me and others.

So that’s it, if I could go back and change anything about our first few years of marriage it would be to ask God for contentment with where we were. I promise that once you find contentment in your life, you wont live with the stresses of wishing you had more money, nicer things, bigger things, what other people have, etc

And the biggest thing you’ll learn is that all those things are meaningless when you keep God’s love smack dab in the center of your heart.

Hebrews 13:5:

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Written by:

Lauren Atwell

https://laurenatwellphotography.mypixieset.com/

With love,

Katelyn Workman

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