My friend Kiley is someone I have known for years and is someone I strongly look up to as a wife, a mother, but also an incredibly strong person who stands firm with a faith that everything will work out. This past year they struggled through 4 months of unemployment after having their second child and I know that was something difficult to experience for their family and their marriage. However, it also brought blessings, too.
I asked Kiley if she would be willing to share her story, and she was sweet enough to write this for us! One thing that I can relate to in her story is how she has seen God’s hand in her marriage and particularly this difficult trial. I believe the same thing, that God is a huge component to getting through difficult times, but especially having him included in helping our marriage on the daily.
Whether or not your family is currently experiencing financial difficulty, you’ll be able to relate to this because she talks about how all the stresses and circumstances of even just working, going to school, and being a parent at the same time can have a huge effect on the happiness of your relationship. Find out what changes they made for their relationship through it and how they keep their marriage fresh!
Kiley and her husband Jason were married in October 2011. The first year they were married, she taught school and he got a job in the Healthcare field like he had always wanted to, but it took a lot of searching and patience to have it work out. They knew it was God’s hand guiding and blessing them. A few months later they had their first daughter, then two years later, had their second daughter.
One thing she said about this first job search: “Job searching is stressful! I know it was wearing on us, especially Jason. But it did bring us closer. We were able to take turns being the rock in our relationship, and helping our spouse through the hard times.” And this kind of sets the tone for her story as it comes to 2015 in the fall.
Life was good! Jason had been at his job for almost three years when he was feeling like a change was necessary. He had been told after one or two years he would be promoted and it didn’t happen. He was still working hard every single day but his boss was weird about things. Eventually, he told Jason that he had to go on a performance plan (like probation) and if he wasn’t able to hit a certain number in 30 days he would get one more 30 day period and then he would be fired.
That is not what anybody wants to hear! He had been giving this job his all without seeing much in return. His boss then mentioned he would help him find a new job instead, if Jason preferred that. Since we had already been looking, and Jace didn’t want to have to be fired, we opted for that.
The job search was on, and it was intense! We tried networking, searching through online sites, asking around, etc. Jason’s last month at his job was the worst. He was finishing his master’s degree, working, and looking for a new job, all with the stress of knowing we were going to be jobless soon. Both Jason and I were stressed, stretched, worried, and feeling down. We were definitely feeling all of the ‘feels!’
October was kind of a tough month. Previously I have written about some of the struggles/thoughts inside of my head (I was feeling really low, in a rut) but one day I realized that I had been having a hard time because it was how I was reacting, or building a fence up, to the stress of Jason losing his job. I was completely just going through the motions and always tired. I took a nap everyday while my girls napped and I didn’t get out and do much. Not that those things are signs or results of the stress, they just didn’t help me to feel “normal.”
Once it clicked, and I recognized the reason behind feeling so bummed out all the time, I was able to put it behind me and feel a little bit better. I was able to evaluate my needs and my happiness. Besides all of that, there was some family drama that was really crappy on top of already feeling so crappy, that didn’t help one bit. AND Jason was finishing his Masters degree this month with the stress of working on his capstone all the time, and look for new jobs.
One day Jason said to me, “Carter (his manager) told me not to collect at Lakeview this week because he is going to do a ride along with the guy taking my place.” If losing his job hadn’t felt real yet, we were both slammed at that moment. It made my heart ache for him. He was a little choked up. He is such a hard worker and has given this job his all. There are circumstances that have prevented him from hitting his quota that he is unable to control. I know he has been just as stressed (or more) as I have because he is the man and has the weight of providing for and supporting our family. He too, has been just going through the motions lately.
This hasn’t been the best for our relationship. We were both just building up walls, without realizing it, that we forgot to open up completely and talk with each other. This too came to an end as we were able to break it down and admit that we needed to change things a little bit. Once he finished school we were able to relax a little bit more and enjoy cuddling and watching TV again!
Another thing that helped was realizing this is a trial God intended for us to go through. We are not sure why but it is meant for us in order to help us or strengthen us in one way or another. It took me a long time but I realized I can turn the stress, pain, and worry over to My Savior and He will carry it for me, as He already has. So I did just that. I had a heart to heart and let it all out. I had a good cry, which also helped! The next day I was feeling so much more optimistic about everything and just knew it would work out, eventually. That is how I started out feeling when we first found out, but I let fear and doubt in and it replaced my faith and hope.
I truly do know that it will all work out (some ways are just more stressful than others!) But things will fall into place as they are meant to and we will be blessed to be wherever we end up, doing whatever it is we end up doing.
Writing this is turning out to be a lot longer than I planned for it to be, but guess what? It did work out! And all of that stress and worry was pointless. Granted, it is normal and natural, especially when you are living without a solid income for four months, but if we can remember to turn to the Higher Power, He will help us. He will lift us and guide us and bless us. That is the strength in our marriage.
He also will send others to serve and help you! We were so blessed by some amazing, anonymous friends and neighbors who left money on our doorstep, multiple times! Each time we were completely touched and humbled to know that others were sacrificing on our behalf. It made us want to live so that we would be able to do the same for others when the circumstances were reversed.
This helped us to give our girls a Christmas. It also helped us to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas, Christ. We kept things simple and it was perfect. I will never forget the feelings we had, and we hope to celebrate the holidays in a similar way in all the years to come.
We had money in savings and used it to pay our mortgage and our bills. I was blessed with a job I could do from home. I was really busy sewing and almost made up for what we didn’t get paid that first month or two. Things worked out.
People would ask us how we were doing and we were able to respond by telling them we had actually been comforted and knew it would work out eventually. We prayed about the opportunities that came up and turned one down after feeling like it was not a good fit. We loved spending time as a family, our kids loved having daddy home. We were able to go on a little hiking trip and soak up some sun. Yes, it was a hard trial but together we fought to stay strong through it until the end.
What they do to keep their marriage fresh
We talk about our feelings, our hopes, and dreams, and we compromise when needed. We both want the other to be happy and will help and serve when we can.
Jason loves to race, and the girls and I love to be there for him, cheering him on! I enjoy exercising, and he pushes me and supports me in that as well. We give each other a fun night out with friends so we can rejuvenate. It is necessary for a relationship, especially with kids!
We do fun things as a family. We keep busy! We love to go on dates, just the two of us. Or after the girls are in bed we cuddle up and watch a show or play games. We snuggle in bed and talk about the day, about our kids, about the future, etc.
Communication is key, and it took us a fair share of arguments in our first year of marriage to figure each other out! But boy, are we grateful we have each other! We are happy to have a job again, and have so many blessings. We are excited for what the future holds and we know that together and with guidance from above we can make it through anything.