Moving For Love

* This post is sponsored by - all thoughts and ideas are my own

Being that it's Valentine's Day, and we are just getting settled into our new home in California, we feel that today is no better time than to share a little bit of our love story with you all... This will be our 8th Valentine's Day as husband and wife, and through the past 8 years we have jumped over a ton of hurdles and endured many changes. One of the biggest changes being moving across the country, twice. Since becoming newlyweds way back in 2011, we have called four houses "home". The military has moved us to a city we didn't know in a moments notice and we've recently taken the big leap to come back home to our roots with no job security. With each move, there has been a huge scary unknown facing us, but we have done it all together, and we have done it all for love.

When you enter a marriage, you repeat the vows "for better or for worse/ for richer or poorer". Let's just say that as it goes for our marriage in the past 8 years, 80% of it has been for worse and for poorer. I am not sharing any of this to gain sympathy or pity, it is actually quite the opposite. We as a couple have faced some big downfalls. To be honest, we have even at times been on the brink of giving up. But we never have.

These 8 years have been hard, on both of us. When you mix moving (one of life's biggest stresses) and financial issues (one of the leading causes of divorce), you end up with a brewing storm of emotions. And while we are far from being out of the wind and the rain, we have managed to weather the storm together and barely hold on. Our hopes in sharing our struggles and our journey, is to hopefully help another couple out there that may be weathering the same. It is far from easy, but there are a few things we have learned along the way and through it all, love has remained the rope that has held us together.

Moving for love (that new and exciting love)
Let's travel back in time to our first move into our first little home as newlyweds, back in 2011. That little 2 bedroom/1.5 bathroom base house was the reason I started this blog of mine. It was tiny, a mere 1,200 sq. ft. at most, but it was a place to call our own (for the time being). Back then, we were nothing but excited and ready to start our lives there. We brought home our first baby to that home, we hosted our first family holiday meal in that home, and we said goodbye to all of our family and friends in that home, before making our way across the country. That home held so many firsts and memories for us and will always be the home where our story began.

Moving for love (even when you don't want to)
Fast forward to 2014, we were approaching our 3rd wedding anniversary and awaiting orders from the Marine Corps of where next we would call home. How fitting, that on our anniversary, we received the news... we were going to be headed to Georgia. While I have always loved the idea of living in different places, when you have no choice in the matter and are a planner (and slight control freak) like myself, not being in control of where your life is headed an be testing to say the least! While I never desired to call the state of Georgia home, I tried my best to take it as a new beginning and a new adventure. To leave all of my family and friends behind and everything that I ever knew as comfort, was difficult. On top of that, it wasn't just myself I was taking away from my family, I was a mom, which meant this would change everything about my child's relationship with our family members as well. Driving away after watching our last California sunset, I bawled. So much was changing, so much was unknown. The only comfort we had was a home awaiting for us and my husband's new special duty assignment. Everything else was a blank space waiting to be filled in. I grabbed my husband's hand as we drove away, with tears streaming down my face, I whispered "I'm scared." He didn't say anything in return, but his hand squeezing mine back a little harder let me know that we were in this together.

Moving for love (even when the future is unknown)
After moving to Georgia, we decided to make the best of it and even started to enjoy our new home state. It never really felt like "home" to us, but we made a few new friends, I spent my days decorating our home and raising babies, while my husband worked 18 hour days - 7 days a week. We somehow made it through our 3 (long) years on marine corps recruiting duty. I won't go into details (in this post) but those 3 years were probably the hardest of our marriage. We went through a lot between 2014-2017 and after serving 10 years in the Marine Corps, my husband decided it was time for a change. He packed away his uniform and boots and we settled on trying out Georgia as our home, in civilian life. At the time, we were perfectly content living in our rental and were even talking about buying that home once Derrick was able to establish a stable civilian job income. But soon, all of those plans were derailed. Just a month after EASing from the military, we received news that the owners of our home were selling and we needed to be out asap. So add finding a new home on top of finding a new job/ jobs. We were hit with a ton of bricks. No money saved, no guaranteed job in sight, no idea where or how we would find a new home, at that point everything in the future was unknown. We had no idea what to do, but pray. We knew that no matter what we were facing, again, we would face it together.

Moving for love (even when it means taking a big financial leap)
Eventually, we did find a house, it was run down, in horrible condition and needed a whole lot of work just to move in, but it was a roof over our heads. We tried our best to clean that rental up as best we could, then made it into our own with paint and filled it with the things we loved. Soon, it felt like home. As for the job search, in 2017 Derrick worked three jobs just to make ends meet, until finally getting hired on with our county police department. We were still far from making it, but we were somehow making ends meet. We still knew that Georgia wasn't our forever home, but we started to become content in where we were. Until mid 2018... I started to feel the urge to want to be back home. To raise my children near family, to seek larger opportunities for my own career. We started talking about all of the many reasons that California felt like the right decision. The one big part though... we sure didn't have any money saved up and financially were not in the position to save any to make the move happen, and secondly California is extremely expensive and would require both of us to make triple our current income. There were so many pluses, but one huge financial obstacle in the way. It took months of talking and weighing options to come to our decision but Derrick was willing to move back to California for me, for our kid's sake and for our future. We sold most of our large furniture and tons of other things around the house just to fund our move. We took a huge leap of faith and trusted in each other that we could make this work.

At the end of January 2019, we loaded everything we owned into a 26 foot moving truck and drove across the country. Ironically, we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on that road trip, stopping somewhere along the way for McDonalds with the kids and enjoying our "anniversary celebration".

Now, here we are, just 2 weeks (as of today) settled in our new home in southern California. We have been surviving on the last little bit of money we saved from selling nearly everything we owned and a bit of help from family. We took a huge risk to get here but still feel it was the right decision. Through it all, we have both made sacrifices. Were we both happy through all of it? Far from it...  We have had many many arguments over the years. But we made it through, together and relied on our love to guide us.

Tips to take away:

Lean on each other - Moving or any big life change is stressful enough. In times like these we can often try to find blame to put on the other person, to take out all of our fear and anger on our significant other. Try to understand what your significant other may be facing and if you do find your relationship in a downward spiral, take a moment and try to pinpoint where those hurtful words or actions may be coming from. Often it is much simpler. Realize you both are climbing the same mountain and help boost each other up until you reach the top.

Give each other space - Sometimes moving, wether before or after, can bring up a lot of emotions. You are either freaking out about the million things on your to-do list before move day or you have held it all together and are now settled into your new home and are emotionally and physically drained and all of those hid away feelings come bubbling to the surface. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself or your significant other is to get out and do something for yourself. Maybe it's a long walk, or 30 min just to sit in a local coffee shop by yourself or a long drive with music blasting. Allow yourself a moment to clear your head and reset.

Talk it out - I can't even count how many times one of us has blurted out something hurtful to the other. for example, just this week D yelled out of frustration, "Screw this, we will never get out of this hole we are in, moving here was a horrible mistake." I knew he didn't mean it, but I did understand where that frustration stemmed from. It stemmed from the stress of knowing we took a big financial risk to move here and now we have no option but to make it work. On top of that, my husband finds his identity in his work, with not working full time right now and with the fear of not being able to provide for his family, he takes all of this stress on his shoulders and many times we all can take out our frustrations in not so nice ways. I knew once this comment was made, we needed to talk. I needed to be there to reassure him why we made this move. I had to give him faith that this would all work out in the end, and in the meantime, we are on the same team. Talk out your frustrations, talk out your fears, talk out your plans. Be the pillar that the other one needs.

If you are facing a move in your future, or maybe just treading through some big changes in life right now, I hope that you know that you are not the only couple going through this. You are not alone in feeling like you just can't see the light at the end of the tunnel some days. Just remember you and your significant other/ spouse are in this together and you will get through it together. With a little grace, a little sacrifice, a little trust and a little love.

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