We recently moved from South Florida to North Carolina. We decided to rent a house rather than buy in order to take some time to get to know the area.
We have been homeowners for years. Going back into the rental market has been a bit strange. We are also landlords of a rental property, so it is especially odd to be on the other side of the transaction.
Inevitably, whether as a renter or a landlord, this statement is used frequently:
It’s just a rental.
As a renter, we may say….It’s just a rental. It’s not our permanent home. It’s not ours. We are not responsible for it. It doesn’t have the same value as a home that we own. We won’t “gussy it up” cause we won’t be here long.
As a landlord, we may say…it’s just a rental. We aren’t going to treat it like a “real home.” I am not going to furnish it with top notch finishes, because I am not sure the renters will care for it well. Not like an owner would care for it.
So, we have been unpacking boxes for what feels like YEARS. It’s actually been about 2 weeks….but it feels like the boxes will never be empty. While unpacking, my husband suggested that we just keep all our wall art packed up since…you guessed it, it’s just rental.
He rationalized that we are only going to be here for a short while, and why bother hanging up all the photos and artwork just to take it down and pack it up again when we buy a house.
I get it. It’s a lot of work. But empty walls for up to a year seems a bit depressing to me. Even though it’s a rental, I desire to feel at home.
Even so, the other day, I had the choice of organizing something well or just “making do.” I made do….cause, you know, it’s just a rental.
This got me thinking. Both of us, in our own ways, are treating just about everything differently because of our perspective as renters versus owners. It seems that just about every decision we have made, however minor it may be, is affected by the fact that we do not own this house….it’s just a rental.
What if we all viewed our marriages as “just a rental?”
What if we went into our marriages thinking in the back of our minds that we may not be here long? No need to care for it because we aren’t sure it will work? Or we can always just break the lease. Or move on to the next rental when this lease was up? Or find a better rental when we are “better?”
Sadly, many people in our society DO think this way. They enter into the union of marriage with a clause, whether written or unwritten, said or unsaid, stating that this marriage may not be permanent. That there is an out. That essentially…it’s just a rental. When we have that perspective, it skews our nearly every decision we make, whether consciously or unconsciously.
With the perspective of “possibly temporary,” we are setting ourselves up for a high probability of that becoming a reality.
When we were repairing our marriage after near-divorce, we realized that both of us entered into the marriage with that perspective. It wasn’t discussed. It wasn’t written. But it was there. And it definitely affected the way we interacted in our marriage.
A renter uses. An owner invests.
We need to OWN our marriages. We must go into marriage with an “all in” mentality. Any other perspective is one that will likely lead to despair.
When we began the healing of our broken marriage, we made an agreement that we were both ALL IN for our marriage. There was no out. We decided to OWN our marriage…to invest completely in our newly God-centered union.
So, when we have a disagreement or a season of difficulty, we know that we both will fully invest in working it out. We are fully invested in our marriage.
Think of it this way. Let’s say the sink is backed up in your rental. You might just deal with it. You might throw some Draino down there….you may even call the landlord to tend to it. But you might not be so concerned with the fact that there could be a much bigger problem in the pipes. It’s not your problem…it’s just a rental.
But when you own a home and your sink won’t drain, you tend to get your plumber there as soon as possible so that you can diagnose the issue, repair the problem and be sure there isn’t any other hidden damage. You own the place and you plan to be there a long time. The last thing you want is a plumbing issue that could cause huge problems in your home.
When there is a problem in your marriage, which approach do you take?
Do you find a quick fix solution to the latest problem? Do you apply a band-aid, so to speak, or even completely ignore difficulties, hoping they will just go away?
Or do you actively pursue the root cause, investing and repairing in a healthy way, so that your marriage can continue to thrive and flourish?
Are you fully invested in your marriage, knowing that you are one until death parts you?