The last year and a half has been one of the most challenging times in my marriage since our first couple of years when I was not yet medicated for my mental health issues. Steve and I have very few things that we disagree about. It is one of the reasons why 12 years into our marriage we remain best friends. We are not used to disagreeing, which is why when we do disagree, it is particularly trying. We are not practiced at it. Our biggest disagreement is normally about country music.

On our honeymoon. We were so young!

Last year brought questions about both the schooling of our children and our living situation. To continue with public school or to change to private school? To take on the challenge of home school or the financial strain of private school? So much of the curriculum in the public school system fails to live up to our scholastic expectations as well as our belief system and we shed many tears as we realized all its faults last year.

A family picture taken two years ago. How they’ve grown! Time for a new one I think.

My dear husband was delighted to hear me declare with gusto that I wanted to home school our children, and then upset and taken aback when I did an about face and decided that my love for the school community demanded we stay there. His staunch belief that I could do a good job home schooling and my equally staunch belief that it would be detrimental to my mental health led to a kind of tension we had never experienced in our relationship. Spoiler alert, we kept our kids in public school and despite some challenges they are now flourishing (though private tutoring and parental support played a big part in this). We are ultimately both happy with the decision though we know that we will continue to need to support/fight for out children as they go through the public school system.

Our other big tension involved whether to move or not. We had been trying for two years to buy a new home. We lost out on several, went to court over one, and generally had some bad real estate luck. Our townhouse was lovely but commuting our kids across a bridge to school was tiring and our living situation no longer felt family friendly. Despite these challenges Steve was more comfortable staying where we were with our comfy little mortgage whereas I insisted it was time for a change. I wanted to push our financial boundaries, something he has never been comfortable with.

Living Room
Our townhouse living room

Well, I presented a good enough argument that eventually we put our townhouse on the market without any idea of where we would be going next. In a market where townhouses were not moving, thanks to some divine intervention, an amazing realtor, and perhaps my mad design skills ;-), our place sold in under a week for almost full price. Barely a week later our realtor showed us a home in our dream neighborhood that was not yet on the market and we were able to buy it below market value.

Our master bedroom in our old townhouse.

Our friends and family were all amazed by how clearly the hand of God had provided for us. However, our ability to afford our new home relied on us finishing the unfinished basement and creating rooms for home stay students. We didn’t realize how many new challenges of faith and relationship this process would bring…but that is a whole other post.

Our long wished for fixer upper

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