Editor’s Note: Originally published March 31, 2008.
For the past several months, my wife and I were making preparations to place our house on the market. We weren’t looking to move to an enormous house, but since we have two kids now, we were looking to gain another bedroom and a bit more storage space. After several weeks of preparation and organization, a couple of things became clear.
1. We have a lot of junk in our house. No wonder we are tight on storage space, we have too much stuff. As part of the organizing, we got rid of 2 pickup truck loads of stuff, and we still have too much of it left. Half the garage is now housing most of this until we do more purging.
2. The houses that would be a “move up” in space and amenities were more than we wanted to spend. For the past several years my wife and I have been working to live below our means. To move would stretch us a little beyond where we want to be, not that we can’t afford it, but why try to afford it? Part of living within a simple marriage is to live simply.
After deciding not to go through with the process, a tremendous weight was lifted off both our shoulders. We have now begun making plans on getting out of debt and traveling more with the kids. In other words, living life more alive and less tied to things and stuff.
This process has made us realize how easily you can be trapped into living according to a perceived expectation of society. How did society evolve to the point that when you have x number of kids living in an x number of bedroom house, you must get a bigger house in order for everyone to have their own room and an office and a playroom and on and on it goes. Didn’t our parents grow up with 2 or more kids in the same room? Plus, I heard that they walked to school through snow uphill both ways.
It seems we have begun to feel entitled to a certain lifestyle. A certain amount of luxuries. But at what cost?
Since my wife and I have decided not to move there has been a new level of passion and love in the house. We are less worried about the finances. Spending more time with the kids. Planning future trips and excursions. Getting away on the weekend for fun.
This past Saturday we went bike riding with the kids in tow, literally (they were in a bike trailer behind my bike). We had mud up to our knees, ruined our shoes, and had a blast the whole time.
I think there is a correlation between living within or below your means and passion in marriage. There is less stress. Less worry. Room for more adventure.
Try it. Spend some time organizing the house. De-clutter. Then spend the time planning an adventure together. Spend time with friends. Serve others. In other words, live and enjoy life. And if you still have time to spare, you can come to my house and help me clear out my garage of all my stuff.