Do you have home equity?
Joe and I are in the middle of a selling and buying homes as I write this, so the word “equity” has been spoken quite a lot these days. How much equity do we have in our current home to bring to our next home? With the way the market has dipped and fluctuated, we know equity isn’t a given, but we have always been vigilant about building up as much equity as we could. And now that we’re about to buy a new home, that equity from the last home (and the two previous homes) has put us in a stronger place financially. Yay, home equity!!
Relational equity is just as amazing. When you have invested resources into a relationship over time, it puts your relationship into a stronger place. You have skin in the game, as they say. The more equity you build into your marriage, the more you have to draw from in the lean years. But if you don’t have any equity, then the first storm can wipe you out. Relationship foreclosure.
How to Build (Relational) Equity
Make that mortgage payment.
Yeah, bills, schmills, I know it’s not an exciting way to spend your money and you can be tempted to just skip a month. But so much of our equity has been built by just consistently paying that mortgage payment every month without fail. Month, after month, after month. I mean, with a loan that big, does it even matter about making this one payment? Yes! No matter how small your payment, it does matter, and it does add up.
How about your marriage equity? If you want to grow equity in your marriage, making those regular payments is just as important. Being consistent in finding time for each other. Showing up day after day in the little things. Every small act of service builds equity in your marriage. Every time you apologize and forgive, you build equity. Every time your offer grace when it isn’t deserved.. Every time you let go of that small offense and say I love you. All those things that say, you can trust me, I won’t give up on us. You matter more. That builds equity.
Make improvements and keep up with repairs.
Part of the fun and hassle of being a homeowner is keeping up with repairs and making improvements to your home. When Joe and I were shopping at homes, it was pretty obvious which homeowners hadn’t bothered to improve or renovate anything in their home. The home walked right out of 1977. No thank you. When Joe and I chose to invest in our home, the word “equity” came up a lot. Is this something that will improve our home’s value? Make it worth more? Will we be able to sell our home if this isn’t fixed? We’re thankful now that we chose to invest in those things that helped build equity even though at the time it was a sacrifice.
Are you making improvements to your marriage? Your marriage needs TLC and it even deserves some pampering. Go away for that weekend together. Or maybe it means starting counseling. Those are big investments now but they often can pay back big in the long run. If you avoid making those kind of investments in your marriage, your relationship will start to look and smell like the that house from 1977. Are you keeping up with repairs? Addressing those areas of your marriage that need to be addressed? Most repairs are easily fixed if they are caught right away and not swept under the rug for twenty years.
Choose the right location.
We all know the mantra for buying real estate: location, location, location. So much of our home’s value and hinge on its location. A lot of our equity is determined not by us, but by the economy. Outside forces, changes in the community, the political climate. One of the reasons we were able to build equity fast is because we lived in areas that were growing. As our community grew, our home’s value grew.
What neighborhood is your marriage living in? Don’t underestimate the power of what is surrounding your marriage. It’s not just about how you treat your husband. It’s the environment and culture that your marriage is living in. What media you let into your life, the people you surround yourself with.
Who is speaking into your marriage? What is influencing the way you think about marriage? Are you letting God’s Word speak into your marriage? Submitting your marriage to Christ will grow your equity faster than any payments you make. Letting Him be the center is like having the primest piece of real estate in the market. It will give your marriage an advantage that you couldn’t have otherwise!
Find other godly couples in your life who can model a Biblical marriage and who will speak life and truth into your marriage. Who will challenge you to stay the course when you are discouraged. Look into groups like Re|Engage to find a community that will support you in re-investing in your marriage.
Having equity pays off.
With the transition of jobs and houses, it’s been a stressful season in our life and marriage for Joe and me. I feel like we’re dipping into our relational equity. We’re not able to make those regular payments into our marriage like we usually do. Travel, changes, packing, moving, new jobs, and we find ourselves not having as much time together as we usually have. We’re both short on energy and grace.
There are many days that we’re not seeing eye to eye or I’m feeling neglected I can be tempted to feel offended or be cranky with him. Hold back on the grace. But then we look at all the equity we have, all the work that we have put into our marriage, and we realize this is just a season. That because of the foundation that we have in Christ, a stressful season won’t ruin us. God has give us a well of grace and forgiveness to draw from. Building on that foundation is what will give us equity for a lifetime!