All the while we were dating, my (now) husband and I kept our finances completely separate, but after a long talk about money, we decided we at least needed access to each other’s bank accounts, just in case of emergency. Unfortunately, as a disabled vet, my husband banks at Navy Federal Credit Union, and the nearest branch is four hours away in Corpus Christi. We kept making plans to drive out there but it never happened until my husband lost his job.
No less than two weeks after our honeymoon, Kurt came home to tell me that he had been fired from his job. I was a student at the time, so we had just lost our one and only income. We had been so proud of how far we’ve come since both of us growing up in run-down trailers that really should have been condemned. And we were devastated. How would we manage it all? We couldn’t ask for help — none of our families were in a financial situation to help.
We spent the next few days formulating how we could last until he could find a new job, moving due dates and pulling savings until finally there was nothing left to do but wait. He had applied to every job in town and we just had to wait for a call back. Neither of us were really eating or sleeping. We were desperate. We were sitting on the couch, both lost in thought until Kurt looked over at me and said, “Wanna go to Corpus Christi?”
So we hatched a plan to load up the car with the tent and a cooler and made the four-hour drive. Having no money that was available to spend on a hotel, we pitched our tent on a free beach and ate cold leftovers from the back of our Jeep. It was primitive camping, with nothing but a Port-O-Potty, but it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.
We laughed and joked and ran around in our underwear on the beach (not having the foresight to pack our bathing suits). I’ll never forget how free it was to run around on the beach with the moon overhead and the waves crashing behind us. It reminded me that even though we had practically nothing, we had each other. That we could be happy and we could make it through. In that moment, we had less than we ever had; we weren’t in a nice apartment, we weren’t eating nice food, but somehow, we were happy. It made us realize what was really important. We were so caught up in trying to crawl out of the pit we had been born into, we forgot that none of that stuff was really necessary anyway. That trip was everything we needed.
The trip back was joyful, and when we got home we were refreshed and hopeful again. In the end, he got a job about two weeks later. One that pays better with better hours and we managed to keep the rent paid and the lights on the whole time.
I am proud of what we went through, and I am glad that we took the risk to take that trip. We really didn’t have the money at the time, but it was a spiritually refreshing and I think that no matter what we face, even if we end up back where we started, in a trailer, eating cereal with powdered milk, as long as we never forget to stand together, we’ll be just fine.