I‘ve felt this way before, and I know others have, too:
My question is how do you find contentment? I am newly married, and my husband and I are just starting out (we’re barely 23) and we don’t have much, or much money to get more stuff. I find myself always feeling glum because my older siblings (both in their 30s) have the nice house, the nice car, the nice furniture that I can’t have.
I hope someday to own a comfortable-but-small home that people feel welcome and happy in, but I know I won’t even be happy with that unless I learn to be happy with what we have NOW, however little that may be. Do you have any tips for us? P.S. we are both Christians also.
How I Learned About Contentment
When I was in college, I didn’t date. Some of my friends from church declared they were “date fasting” (choosing not to date). I wasn’t date fasting, my problem was that no one was asking. For years. It was hard to let go of the idea of getting married right after school.
During my senior year, I had to learn about contentment. It wasn’t easy, and there were a lot of tears involved. I spent time reading my Bible and praying about it. I needed to learn that if I didn’t have a husband, then God would take care of me.
And here is what happened: once I grew content being single, I became confident being single. When I started dating Doug, one of the reasons he was interested in me was because I was content in my circumstances, and not looking to him to solve my problems.
The same holds true for houses. Buying a house does not solve problems. It doesn’t give you more friends, it doesn’t give you more free time, and it certainly doesn’t give you more money (at least in the short term, and possibly the long term too).
Once you find contentment where you live, you have to work to keep it.
- Don’t watch too much HGTV.
- Don’t spend Sunday afternoons driving around looking at nice houses.
- Don’t keep catalogs around.
- Don’t underestimate the stress of buying and selling a house.
- Don’t forget about the mortgage. (I try not to envy someone for their house, but I never wish for their mortgage payment.)
You’re in good company. Even though it seems like everyone around you has a nice house, there are lots of other people who are choosing something else right now. Renting is a good thing.
Look at the bright side
- You can have fewer, nicer furnishings when you don’t have to furnish a large space.
- It doesn’t take as long to clean.
- You can easily relocate for job opportunities.
- You can make a long-term financial plan for buying a house.
- You can have free access to swimming pools and gyms.
- You don’t have to pay for repairs or a new roof.
- The utilities are much lower.
- You don’t keep as much clutter.
- It’s easier to live close to work for short commutes.
- You don’t have to cook turkey for twenty people at Thanksgiving.
I used to think I needed to have a house, and finally move out of an apartment. The pull is especially strong during the holidays when you plan to have guests and decorate. Lately though, I’ve really been enjoying the freedom of having an apartment, and I love the coziness.
Does anyone else want to share how you got started?