When Josh and I were newlyweds we didn’t have a whole lot of money. I mean, we had a home and plenty of food (as you can tell from pictures). But we sacrified quite a bit too. We shared a car and lived in a tiny duplex in a shady neighborhood. We didn’t run the heat our first winter together because it was too expensive so we just wore sweats and jackets and bundled up under a blanket on the couch in the evenings.
We didn’t have cable television or internet for several months because we couldn’t afford it. I had to keep track of everything I put in our grocery basket and add it all up at the end to make sure we had enough money for it, otherwise, I’d have to put some things back. Our parents helped us a lot. We argued so much that first year struggling to figure out how to live together and share everything.
It was a very frustrating time and one of the hardest years of our marriage. I was very depressed and hopeless. It wasn’t that I questioned my decision to marry Josh, I knew that was good. It was just so hard and we were so young. We didn’t have enough life experience to realize that it was just a season. A passing time.
I often look back at that period and thank God for where we are now. I never imagined we’d be so blessed. And now we are living through another tough season. A newborn and a new business is a lot of stress on a marriage.
Josh and I spent 14 years with just the two of us. And while work got in the way sometimes, we always found time to spend together. After the first few years of figuring out how to live together, we hardly fought at all. We were comfortable with each other and our life. Things ran smoothly.
Now, every extra cent, minute, and thought goes to running our gym. It seems we bicker every other day about some thing or another related to the business. We both feel tired all the time and a constant pressure to make this work. We’ve taken a huge risk and it is absolutely terrifying. It’s so easy to look at other business owners and be jealous or expect the same outcome. We live in a world of highlight reels without ever seeing the behind the scenes.
My favorite time with Elora is first thing in the morning. She is so happy to be awake and she smiles a huge smile when I come into her room. I love playing with her and making her laugh while I get her dressed for the day. She gives me pure JOY!
But sometimes I simultaneously feel immense doubt. What if this gym totally fails and we lose everything? What if a decision we make causes her to have no home? What if she grows up and resents us forever for ruining her life? (you all know I can be dramatic) But still, it is enough to paralyze me with fear.
In those moments I wonder why on earth we chose this path. All the late nights and early mornings. The arguing and constant pressure. It seems there is always a decision to be discussed and finalized. Never enough money in the account. Always a lesson to be learned. Running a business with your spouse is a true test of love and faith.
ALL THAT BEING SAID, THIS IS THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF OUR LIVES. Just when we start doubting what we’re doing, we get heartfelt comments from our members who tell us what we are doing is good. They appreciate the time we give. They share their stories of success and growth. We see them meet their goals and beam with pride. THEY are the reason we do this.
So I think back to our first years of marriage and how hard they were. How we thought it would never be any different. But things did change. We did survive and became better because of it. So in those moments of doubt, I turn away from the fear that strives to pull me down. Focusing on the negative will only perpetuate negative. So I turn to the positive and focus on the things I’m grateful for, and there are many. This is only a season that we will one day look back on with the understanding that only comes from passing time.