A few years ago I set a BIG GIANT SCARY goal for my husband and I to pay off our mortgage early…. Like 16 years early.
While we were successful in this incredible accomplishment and are now enjoying the perks of mortgage freedom, it almost cost us our marriage.
Hindsight is amazing at giving clarity to what needed to be done differently.
To be fair, I am INCREDIBLY proud of us for achieving something which seemed impossible BUT if I had it to do all over again, here is what I would do differently…
I would invite my amazing husband to participate in the goal setting experience instead of just telling him it’s what we were doing and then expecting him to participate.
Setting big goals is important. Achieving big goals is exhilarating. BUT when the goal includes TWO people, then TWO people need to agree on the goal TOGETHER and invite each other along the journey to accomplishing the goal.
My husband is super supportive and was happy to come along the journey to mortgage freedom, but because I told him we were doing it instead of inviting him into the process, it never really felt like his victory too. Instead of having the opportunity to take an active role in making decisions on what sacrifices we would make to achieve the goal, he often resented the things we went without to carve out our financial freedom.
While I celebrated each milestone, he was ridiculed by his peers for appearing cheap or thrifty. Because he wasn’t in the driver seat of the goal with me, he didn’t have the passion and the fire to extinguish the negativity of others. It was almost as if I was walking on water while he was slowly drowning underneath the surface.
After achieving this BIG GIANT SCARY goal we did rejoice together. We celebrated the accomplishment but then reflected on the damage we did to our marriage by not really doing it as a team. I caused damage by not inviting him but rather telling him we were doing it, and he caused damage by not speaking up and saying “Hey! I have an opinion too on how I want to do this!”
I am not proud of my role in damaging our relationship and it leaves a little bit of a bitter sweet taste when I reflect on our accomplishment. I share this extremely personal story because when people come through the Debt Destruction program, I cannot stress enough how important it is to do it as a TEAM! It’s not that my husband didn’t want to be mortgage free, he very much enjoys it actually - he just wanted to be an active, decision-making participant.
Although it is most certainly not mandatory that a couple attend Debt Destruction together, I am confident when I say the couples who come together and attack their debt as a team almost always have better results and a much more successful journey through the process.
In my opinion, communication about money in a romantic partnership is one of the most important things we teach in Debt Destruction.
Achieving big goals together can ignite a new level of connection and passion in a partnership. Lean in. Communicate. Support each other through the struggles of a big goal and celebrate the wins together.