Today I'm psyched to introduce you to Derek Olsen, who, in addition to continuously calling me out about why I haven't launced the Confessions of a Terrible Husband Podcast yet (it will be up very, very soon!), is a friend and marriage voice who is going to be spending some time over here.
Derek and his wife Carrie are rock stars in the Money and Marriage world, focusing quite a bit about how to talk with your spouse about money.
Be sure to welcome Derek to the family over here and connect with him on his blog and podcast. The links to both are below.
And also be sure to sign up for their mailing list and they'll send you a cool e-book on how to start talking with your spouse about money.
Derek: “You own a house in Oklahoma?”
Derek: “So… about that house, what are your plans now that you live in Kansas City?”
Carrie: “Well, my renters stopped paying and moved out. I’m behind on the payments and the bank is trying to foreclose.”
Derek’s thoughts: CRAP! Will the sheriff drag us off to jail? Are we going to appear in court? Will we be bankrupt? Man, I thought the house was going to be a positive and now it looks like marrying Carrie could be a financial disaster for me!
Derek’s feelings: I was terrified. I was angry. But I was in love and we were engaged.
Derek’s words: “This is the worst day of my life.”
Yes, I said that to my fiancé.
I told her she was responsible for the worst day of my life.
Sounds like something a terrible fiancé would say.
Fast-forward an entire, financially devastating year. We’re married. We managed to arrange a short sale on the house. It hurt, it was expensive, but the house is just a memory now.
Aside from the dreadful details of arranging a short sale, I want to tell you how this disaster affected our relationship.
I never would have believed it on that terrible day, the day I said those awful words to my fiancé, but our marriage is better now because of what we went through.
Our first year of marriage was like teamwork boot camp for newlyweds. We had only known each other eighteen months and were already depending on each other to survive one of the worst financial disasters a couple can experience. We set aside petty disagreements and focused on what was important.
Because we made it through such a tough time we are closer and better able to handle challenges that come our way.
We had to learn how to communicate on a level that I never knew existed.
Within the first six months of our marriage we had all the possible conversations about money. All of them! We laid it all out there on the table. We had to just to make it through the first year of our marriage. There wasn’t anything that we didn’t talk about.
- The “What the freak were you thinking” talk.
- The “I have no idea what’s going on and I’m scared” talk.
- The “Okay, this sucks and I’m not happy, but I’m going to support you” talk.
- The “We are going to make it through this” talk.
And the grand finale, the “I’m committed to you and would walk through the scariest places on Earth with you” talk.
Those conversations were intense and necessary just to survive our first year of marriage. The communication skills that we acquired continue to serve us well to this day.
We learned what is really important
The short sale cost us around $16,000 and hundreds of hours of paperwork, worrying, and wishing it would all just stop.
Five years later it’s like it never happened. Well, almost. What I mean is, time has a funny way of sorting out what is truly important. Even things that were awful at the time fade away eventually.
When everything crumbles away you are left with what’s important. Carrie and I are doing great. We have a new place to live and a six-month old baby girl to love.
We can handle the bumps in the road much better now, and all because we survived such a difficult experience.
Financial disasters end marriages all the time. That is a terrible truth to face.
But the challenges you’re facing, or avoiding, can make your marriage stronger. Face them straight on, together. Your marriage can handle more than you think.
What doesn’t kill a relationship can only make it stronger. If you find yourself in a tough spot, fight! Don’t let anything steal your future away from you.
OK, that sounds a little like Dr. Phil on weed… What I mean to say is this: the conversations you have about the challenges in your relationship can make your marriage better.
Having better conversations about money can strengthen every other department of your marriage, not just the finance department.
Carrie and I start helpful conversations on money and marriage each week on our podcast.
If you would like some help starting the conversation on money, download our free e-book 4 ½ Conversations Starters.
(And no, the Sheriff never did drag us off to jail, but I really did think that might happen. I’ve never been foreclosed on so how would I know.)