At the dawn of our 29th wedding anniversary, we are celebrating a long-dreamt milestone, the fulfillment of our home mortgage!
Years of debt, homeownership and renovations, raising children, and strict budgeting, have battered the ship of our marriage, but the lighthouse of purpose and the grace of God has kept us on course.
Unity in Marriage
To be truthful, the desire to be mortgage-free originated with my husband. I grew up with a more liberal view of debt and mortgages, something to be leveraged to own more, with monthly payments being an accepted way of life. On the other hand, my husband viewed any hold on his weekly earnings to be something to avoid and escape.
In the process of becoming unified in marriage, his desire became my desire. If you were to read pages from my prayer journals over our three decades together, you would see this yearning as a recurring focus and theme in my writing.
It’s important to clarify that our marriage is of a different generation. We understand that the traditional gender roles and unfettered income sharing that we espoused are no longer the norms for new couples. The emphasis on paying off one’s mortgage is also not status quo. We also observe how divorce has impacted dreams and financial freedom for many individuals. We have benefited from our lifelong commitment to each other. I talk about the secrets to our successful union in this blog post.
We recognize that people have different life priorities, such as life portability, high-capital investing, and even a higher standard of living. It’s been pointed out to us over the years that homeownership and not leveraging debt can be counterproductive in the pursuit of particular ends. Still, this was our priority, and we are celebrating our success in reaching this long-anticipated goal that we sacrificed to achieve.
I’ve written a lot about our choices and financial journey, both in this blog and in my book, Coming Home: Leaving Busy to Save My Soul. I won’t cover the practical advise here, but I wanted to take a moment to remind those who do share our dream of financial independence from debt, that it is possible.
Painting the Door Red
As I was browsing the internet, curious how one celebrates the burning of their mortgage in an age of professional engagement photoshoots, and dramatic gender reveals, I discovered a tradition I’d never heard of before. In years past, it was a common tradition to paint your front door red to announce that you are mortgage-free.
Our front door is already painted red. It has been for years.
It suddenly occurred to me that without knowing about this tradition, I had chosen the colour of debt freedom long before we had navigated our way through life storms and come aground in this new place.
Celebrating the Future
It made me think of the joy I experienced when my husband & I read to Dave Ramsey’s book, “The Total Money Makeover,” and realized that we were capable of completing all the baby steps Dave outlined. We were only on step two out of seven at the time, but I was unphased and jubilant.
“I know we still have debt,” I explained to my husband, ” but I feel debt-free in my heart.”
So even though we didn’t complete the final baby steps until many years later, we lived prophetically of the events to come.
It makes me think that even though I had no idea at the time, choosing red for our front door was providential in saying we still have a mortgage, but we are mortgage-free in our hearts.
Dave Ramsey, if you are reading, thank you. The grass really does look and feel different when you take ownership of your home from the bank. We lived like no-one else so now we can live like no-one else.
We are yelling, “FREEDOM!!!” (with Braveheart intensity)
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