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Fiscal Fight

Albert and Elida Roy of Springfield, Oregon, have been married eight years.

Albert's Side:

She worries too much about money.

I know my financial choices before I met Elida could have been wiser. Being a spend-it-all kind of guy, I did things like charging my final year of college to my credit card. If it's a worthy goal, I'll go all out.

When I met Elida, it seemed as though our spending habits balanced each other. I've always appreciated Elida's wisdom in money matters, and after we married I sought her advice in big financial decisions. Since we both have black belts, we decided that we would teach karate and redefine the sport to include life skills derived from the Bible. My excitement grew as the opportunity unfolded for this "ministry" to become our business.

Our dream is now a reality. It's great to put in extra time at the school, teaching kids respect and discipline, and to have Elida and our daughters there with me. We've held to our ideals; we've never turned anyone away for their lack of funds. Though it has been tough at times, our needs have been met each month. During our first year teaching, the only way we made it one month was because some friends, out of the blue, gave us groceries.

But Elida continues to worry over our bills. What wears on me is the way she forecasts disaster. I catch the fear in her eyes when I'm writing the checks to pay the bills. It's like she's condemning me for having spent money on our business supplies and on people. I can't help wondering where her trust in God and me has gone. She looks for bankruptcy papers while I stress our need to keep giving a tithe to our church.

Elida's Side:

He doesn't take our finances seriously.

I've always been practical about money. During college I worked hard to stay ahead and finish with a healthy savings account. I met Albert on a karate team, and we found ourselves well attuned to each other. It really helped to start our marriage on a great communication level, even understanding our different attitudes about finances. I had plans to teach history and bring home a steady paycheck. I thought my thrifty habits would help us pay off Albert's debts from school.

What I didn't expect was getting pregnant on our honeymoon. Now, the karate school would be our only source of income. Even though a small inheritance helped us, it took funds we didn't have just to get started. I don't like the idea of going in front of people at church or elsewhere to ask for support for a ministry. I'd rather take care of things quietly.

After having two children and experiencing the lean summer months of our business, I saw debt piling on top of us, with less and less hope we'd ever dig out. Since the school is in Albert's name, he carried the checkbook and was responsible for the accounting. When I want to know what's going on with our money, Albert got defensive. For a few months I waited to pay our health insurance bill, because I felt that buying food was more important, and I didn't know where our budget stood. We ended up in a big argument when the insurance lapsed. It hurt to watch the cycle continue and to have no control.

What Albert and Elida did:

The reality of their situation hit home dramatically the day Elida doubled over in pain. Albert rushed her to the hospital, where emergency surgery revealed a burst appendix. Receiving the treatment she needed, Elida recovered amazingly well. But without health insurance, the Roys were left wondering how to pay their $23,000 medical bill.

Elida and Albert went to God for help. They began focusing on his goodness to them, rather than on their troubles. "If it hadn't been for Elida's hardship," Albert says, "we wouldn't have prayed. I was so overwhelmed with joy to know that my wife was still alive. I also found out spending an hour with God is the best thing I can do."

As Elida watched Albert be more active in his faith, she prayed to be able to trust that God would meet their needs, both large and small. Deciding first to stay with him, no matter what, she agreed when Albert asked her to become "chief financial officer" of their home and business. This took stress off both of them, freeing Albert to seek supplies for their karate school and satisfying Elida's desire to figure out financial details.

After Elida's surgery, people involved with the karate school began giving gifts of money in small amounts. They also received money from family, friends, and church members, until the entire sum for her appendectomy was paid. And, after working at it for several years, the school is now successful.

Besides managing the school's money, Elida also prepares a monthly newsletter for students. "I've become a teacher here with a different vehicle—an active classroom," she says. Albert leads a prayer group that is open to their students, as well as other martial art students in the area. His love for reaching people spiritually as well as guiding them in physical fitness keeps him focused on his relationship with God. "I can't believe I get paid to do this," he says.

The Roys are thankful for their close relationship and shared dreams. Their greatest blessings, though, unfolded as their teamwork developed. mp

If you know a couple with a creative solution to a common marriage problem, let us know. We'll pay $50 for each story that is featured in this column. Send the couple's name, phone number, and a short description of their problem and solution to:

Marriage Partnership
465 Gundersen Drive
Carol Stream, Illinois 60188
e-mail: mp@marriagepartnership.com

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Arguments; Marriage; Money
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 2001
Posted September 30, 2008

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