Finances can be a major issue when spouses are forced to live apart from one another. That’s why this week, we’ll be taking a look at the story of Lori. Unlike the other two women in our series, Lori didn’t meet her husband until her late forties. They had been married for just three years when Joe was laid off and, when he couldn’t find work locally, he was forced to move out of state. “I thought we’d be looking forward to retiring in 10 or 15 years, buying a little RV and seeing all of the National Parks in the country. It had already taken me a long time to find this man. Now we were going to be separated and I was going to turn 50, too! This isn’t what I thought it would be!”
The separation was only supposed to last for a year while Joe adjusted to the job and Lori tried to sell the house, but what started out as a brief time apart turned into ten years… ten years in which they faced an intense financial struggle. “When we got married, Joe went over our finances. We didn’t have a budget. We didn’t look over the bills together. We just bumbled along like 80% of Americans.
During that time [when he was laid off], all of our expenses doubled. We got discouraged and went back to living from paycheck to paycheck and not saving for the future. I almost didn’t let myself dream anymore.” And that’s when God intervened.
A financial class at their church helped to put Lori and Joe back on the right track – starting with the creation of a budget. “If we were going to change anything in the budget, we would have to call an emergency budget meeting. We’d talk on the phone and change the budget. It was helpful.”
Lori would agree. At the time she and her husband began living apart, she believed in God, but had lost the sense of personal connection. “To be perfectly honest, I was mad at God. I’d ask, “Why did Joe lose his job?” “Why is the only job we can find 200 miles away?” “Why are we in this position?” “Why when he lost his job and we came to you begging and praying that we would get something here did it take so long?” The last 2-3 years have been a huge time in my life personally as far as growth. I’m becoming much better in my prayer life, being able to talk to God and knowing that He’s always there.” As Carol would put it, “sometimes God is doing a lot of stuff in spite of us.”
Asked for her top advice for couples who are separated through no fault of their own, Lori replies:
- Keep your relationship with God vibrant. “You never have to be alone by yourself.”
- Pray. “God doesn’t mind us telling Him what we want.”
- Voice your respect. “Let your husband know that you cherish him. He needs to know you support him and respect him.”
Where does all this leave me? Find out next week when we conclude our series on living apart!