For years it seemed like Josh and I could not come up for air. During engagement, Josh struggled to find a job after college. The job he found was unpredictable and kept him on the road every day, sometimes away for a week or more at a time. Once we were married, not much changed. We found out we were pregnant on our first anniversary and from then on experienced a succession of job changes, losses, financial set backs, out of state moves, more babies, moving again, starting a business – it just didn’t end.
We know as well as anyone how hard transitions are on marriage. You are constantly recalibrating and adjusting to the new season. In this episode of the Honest Marriage series on Verity Podcast, Josh and Phy discuss those transitions and what they have learned about maintaining a godly marriage when life shakes you to the very core.
Phylicia: Welcome to Verity. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonheimer, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. This podcast will help you embrace the history and depth of the Christian faith. Ask questions, seek answers, and devote yourself to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to settle for watered-down Christian teaching. And if you’re ready to go deeper, God is just as ready to take you there. This is Verity, where every woman is a theologian.
Welcome back to Verity Podcast, you guys. I’m Phylicia Masonheimer and my husband Josh is with me for this series.
Phylicia: And we are in our Honest Marriage series, which is part of the launch of The Flirtation Experiment, my co-authored book that launches on December 7th. And so, as a part of launching that book, I invited Josh to join me for the series, and it has been so fun to talk through these different topics, and how we process those through the lens of biblical marriage. Obviously, we’re only speaking from one perspective in one marriage, but we hope that some of what we share is encouraging or thought provoking for you and that you can customize it and apply it to your own relationship. So, for this particular episode, we’re going to be talking about transitions and life transitions, we’ve been through quite a few.
Phylicia: As we’ll get into in this episode and we just want to encourage you as you are walking through transitions with your spouse.
If you’re listening to this marriage series, there’s a good chance that you or someone you love is married. That’s fantastic because on December 7th, my brand-new co-authored marriage book is launching into the world. It’s called The Flirtation Experiment and if that title intrigues you good because I can’t wait for wives to pick this book up and be encouraged and equipped to pursue their husbands in ways they may be never expected to do so. When I wrote this book, I was looking back on a year when I was really struggling to cultivate a relationship with Josh. I felt lonely, I felt disconnected, and I realized that I could wait for him to change it or I could make the change. So, I made a list of 30 flirtations, all different kinds of ways to show him that I loved him, and through this experiment, I found that I actually was changed.
I co-authored this book with my friend, Lisa Jacobson, who’s been married 28 years to my eight years, and we alternate chapters showing you the ideas that we used to cultivate an intimate and fun, romantic and flirtatious marriage. You can preorder the book now. Anywhere, books are sold from Amazon, to Barnes & Noble, to Christian book, or you can go to theflirtationexperiment.com to get two free chapters in the introduction, and to be notified when the book launches. I hope you guys will grab it. We have some awesome bonuses for those who preorder and I’m excited to get this book into your hands.
Our text for this episode is Ecclesiastes 7-8:11 which says, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Say not, why were the former days better than these for it is not from wisdom that you ask this? Wisdom is good within inheritance and advantage to those who see the sun.” I chose this passage because I think it really exemplifies the hard attitude that’s necessary when you go through multiple transitions that patience of spirit and that willingness to say no to anger and ask for wisdom. I think those are all really important.
Phylicia: So, I guess we’ll start back at the beginning. We were married almost eight years ago.
Josh: Yeah. In the beginning.
Phylicia: In the beginning and we started out just in, I don’t know. It felt like a crazy whirlwind because you were looking for a job.
Josh: Yeah. So, I wanted to get a job before we got married.
Josh: When I graduated, I was hunting for a job and got into the service technician job and then was able to pop the question.
Phylicia: [laughs] But that job, tell them about what that job was like, though? Like what it required of you.
Josh: Well, it was funny because I traveled across the state. I almost always stayed in the state, but my boss said that after I get back from my honeymoon, I should kiss my wife goodbye because I won’t see much of her. He was very accurate on that because I did multiple training sessions, each one being a week long and those were out of state. So, I was gone the whole week and sometimes the weeks back-to-back, and then I did–
Phylicia: You were gone– As soon as we got back from our honeymoon, you were gone for three weeks.
Josh: Yeah. I did have like a three-week training session. So, we figured out that I was gone for like five of the first eight months that we were married?
Phylicia: I think so. We were separated a total of six months, not all together, but like-
Phylicia: -cumulatively because of our jobs, having travel, we were separated a total of six months.
Josh: Yeah. You were doing homeschool conferences.
Phylicia: Yeah. So, I was gone for a week at a time throughout the year, and overnight here and there as well. So, a total of six months of first year of marriage, we were separated and honestly, I think, it almost caused us to not deal with some of our issues because it still felt like we were dating.
Josh: Right. It was like the vacation relationship. It suspended honeymoon phase.
Phylicia: Right. It did. So, we didn’t actually deal with a lot of our issues. [laughs]
Josh: Yeah. We weren’t around each other long enough to really get under one another’s skin.
Phylicia: Right. I think, you know, it just felt like, “Oh, we’re setting up house, and then you’re gone, and then you come back,” and his job was so erratic. You would be home one day at four or three even, and then we didn’t know if you’d get called back out. But then other days, he wouldn’t get home until midnight or maybe he’d say, “Actually, I’m not coming home, I have to stay out at this job.”
Phylicia: It was, you never knew. Day-to-day, you never knew. So, it was rough. Then, you’re on call.
Josh: Yeah. Well, I was always on call.
Phylicia: Yeah, pretty much always on call. So, it was rough. It was a sweet first year, but it was hard at the same time. So, we found out we were pregnant with Adeline on our one-year anniversary and had not dealt with a lot of stuff. Let me pause here. Because I think some people who maybe are newly married might think, “Oh my gosh, well, I need to have X amount of years or time to get to know the other person before I have kids or my marriage will be rocky.” That’s not true. Kids just expose like we talked about in last episode. They just expose things in your marriage that were already there. They don’t cause the problem. They expose the problem. So, don’t delay children. Children are always a blessing from the Lord. They are a beautiful blessing. But I do think that, be very intentional before you have kids in dealing with what’s going on in your heart and in your marriage. Get counseling. [laughs]
Josh: I don’t know how many times you’ve said that.
Phylicia: [laughs] We both have said it because counseling has helped us. So, in year two, Adeline’s born end of year two, and that’s when you had another job transition.
Josh: Yeah. Well, I had an opportunity to become a project engineer and work on propane systems. So, it’s kind of the break that I’ve been looking forward to move toward my degree of engineering. I wanted to get out of the service technician field as I couldn’t see myself doing that till I was like 90.
Phylicia: We wanted better hours and a most stable job.
Josh: Better hours. Yeah.
Phylicia: That was the thought.
Josh: Especially with a baby on the way. So, were you 37 weeks pregnant?
Phylicia: Yeah. 37 weeks pregnant.
Josh: Our dilemma was that, the job I was offered was going into a busy season. So, it was either I come up before the baby was born or after Phy had recovered enough to make the transition, which would be a few months later. So, they really wanted me come up now for the busy season and so we did it.
Phylicia: We were in Virginia at the time moving to–
Phylicia: Yeah. Lancaster, Pennsylvania and he’d be commuting to Exton, Pennsylvania which is about an hour outside of Philadelphia or an hour and a half outside of Philadelphia.
Josh: We struggled to find a place to live. We finally found the place miraculously on Craigslist a week before we moved there.
Josh: We moved there a week later and then a week after that Phy had her baby, Adeline.
Phylicia: It was wild. The Lord provided abundantly but looking back like we had so much peace in this transition, and that’s one reason like I love this passage in Ecclesiastes, because I think it just shows that being patient in spirit and choosing to trust the Lord. [laughs] All of our kids are talking right now because we’re recording while they’re still awake and we normally don’t do that. But during that transition, I think, we had so much peace, even though, if I now look back on it, I would never recommend that somebody do what we did.
Phylicia: A week before, we moved to a new state, we finally find housing and then we had a Christian landlord, they were great. But they also, none of the hospitals or birth centers would take me that late in pregnancy, so, I had to switch last minute to a home birth and tell the landlord, I’d be having a home birth in their house.
Josh: She kind of guessed that and she’s like– We’re like, “Yeah, we’re unable to get to any hospitals or birthing centers.” She’s like, “So, you’re having it here.”
Phylicia: We asked her, “Are you okay?”
Josh: “Yeah, is that fine?”
Phylicia: She’s like, “Yeah, that’s fine.” It was like, the Lord just totally provided in such amazing ways. Adeline was born five days after we moved there and, man, it just shows that like the Lord was in that transition and leading us, but at the same time it was extremely stressful on our marriage. It really revealed a lot of hurts and holes in our marriage that we had not dealt with yet. So, basically, we were having a really hard time in this transition and Josh was home for maybe five days and then you went back to work?
Josh: Yeah. Well, they wanted me to check on the printers for like three days.
Phylicia: Yeah, really fast back to work. That’s when I discovered I had a pregnancy-induced autoimmune disease. So, I was covered in blisters and he was gone. You were gone like all the time.
Josh: Yeah, like eight to 22 hours a day.
Phylicia: Yeah. He had to leave by 6 AM if he was after six, he couldn’t–
Josh: That hour commute.
Phylicia: Yeah, to beat the Philly traffic and he would usually get home around six on a good day, but generally, it could be eight, nine, midnight. It could be, “Sorry, I’m gone out of town.” In other words, it was no different than the other job. [laughs]
Josh: Yeah, or worse even.
Phylicia: It was a worse. Yeah, because then we had the baby-
Josh: As far as the hours went at least.
Phylicia: -and I was alone. Yeah, it was just really, really hard for us to go through that. But now fast forward, we moved to Michigan, so there was a transition. We can’t handle the job.
Josh: Yeah, and we realized that with no family around [unintelligible [00:12:48] there’re so many families, everyone has a family, we felt like the odd man out without a family and it made us pine for one especially with kids. So, when we moved, we decided to move up a year later to be with Phylicia’s side of the family and that made a huge difference. Like Adeline got to see her grandmother growing up and they spent a lot of time together.
Phylicia: Yeah, that’s how we ended up back in Michigan where I grew up, we moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania, and then a year after we moved to Pennsylvania, and we moved to Michigan for Josh to take an engineering job here, which again, we were just desperate for stable hours, which is what this offered. It offered a nine to five job.
Josh: Yeah, which is wonderful.
Josh: It was an engineering job as well. So, it just– it worked out really well.
Phylicia: Yeah, seemed to be perfect. We made this whirlwind, we’d to live with my parents for six weeks while we tried to find a house. My parents are builders. So, they helped us buy a house but there was a mortgage situation where we had to wait to actually sign on our mortgage because we had family members who helped us buy the house, and we were using the mortgage to pay them back. At that point, I was pregnant with Eva. So, I was what six months pregnant with Eva?
Phylicia: And it was the day after we signed the mortgage on our house, so we finally had a real mortgage payment on our new house in Michigan.
Josh: It was like 10 AM, my boss called me into his office, and said, in the state of Michigan, we have a no-fault cause, so we can just fire you without telling you and you’re fired.
Phylicia: Yep, you’re let go. You’re done.
Phylicia: We’d been in Michigan, what? A year?
Josh: Yeah, nine months even.
Phylicia: Yeah, nine months, and he’s let go from this job, and where we live in Michigan, there aren’t a ton of engineering positions. It’s not an industrial hub. We’re very far north, so scary.
Phylicia: Yes, we lost our insurance, we’re in a house with a mortgage payment, and I’m pregnant with a toddler, and that was when I had just started writing eBooks, and I was going to launch Christian Cosmo my very first eBook, and that was what made me push up the launch. I was like, “I’m going to launch this, and we’re going to hope for the best, and hope that it pays our bills,” and it did. It provided for us until he got a job. Took two and a half months for Josh to find a job.
Phylicia: It was– which isn’t that long compared to other people but for us, we were down to the last what $500 I think? We were pretty–
Josh: It was good and tight.
Phylicia: It was good and tight. [laughs]
Josh: You definitely pushed your young living and-
Phylicia: And the eBook.
Josh: –Christian Cosmo, and it definitely really helped to pay the bills.
Phylicia: Yeah, that was scary. So, two pregnancies obviously with major life transitions and my autoimmune disease at that point was pretty awful. In 2019, so two years later, I broke my leg while Josh was working at the job that he got after he lost his job. So, broken leg, my sister had to come, take care of the kids because I was in a wheelchair, and I couldn’t carry anything or lift anything. I had surgery. I have a plate and eight screws in my leg. So, that was a really hard time on you.
Phylicia: You were taking care of me.
Josh: It was like another postpartum event.
Phylicia: It was. He was caring for me for what, six, eight weeks?
Phylicia: We were sleeping in twin beds in our master bedroom because I couldn’t get in and out of a full-size bed.
Josh: I had to get up every hour to give you your medicine.
Phylicia: Yeah. He was getting up every two hours to make sure I took the right medicine the first three weeks after I had the plate put in my leg. And then, of course, we had a baby and a toddler and he was working full time and on-call because he was a manager. So, once again, we were in the situation [laughs] of being on-call.
When we look back on our marriage like, yes, our marriage had some really, really hard years. But so much of what we’ve gone through was just this utter incomplete refining by our life circumstances bringing all this sin to the surface.
Phylicia: Wouldn’t you say? [laughs]
Josh: There was lots of sin brought to the surface.
Phylicia: [laughs] Lots of it. So, I don’t know. I feel like we’re just telling our life story right now but I don’t think it comes through on Instagram or on the blog even. I don’t think people know just the amount of transition and difficulty that we’ve been through between job loss, and transitioning across states, and moving away from family, and moving near to family, and buying a house, and then selling that house, and–
Josh: Like you breaking your leg though is what led us to take scenic rides down through the farmlands, and we’d often pass the house we currently have and you’re like, “Oh, my God, we’d love to live there. It’d be so amazing.”
Phylicia: Something like that. Yeah. So, it’s me how like the Lord use these super painful times, like my broken leg, because we couldn’t do anything except driving the car with the kids because my leg was broken.
Josh: You couldn’t really go for a walk.
Phylicia: Yeah, we couldn’t– You were pushing me in the wheelchair and the kids were too young, they needed a stroller, and you couldn’t do both. So, we would drive in the car with ice cream, and we passed this house, this farmhouse we’re in now and that was how we– I thought to look it up while still in a wheelchair, I do not recommend this, this was stupid. But I was in a wheelchair and I went on realtor.com and I found this house and I was like, “I think we should maybe look into that.” [laughs] So, that’s the whole, that’s a story we won’t tell in this episode.
But yet again, getting a house ready, to sell, and then showing it for a week, and in fact getting this house just the Lord opening those doors. But I think that at that point in our marriage, we’d been through so many transitions and hard things, and we learned to listen for God’s leading in God’s peace and to talk to each other about it, that we knew we weren’t crazy to try this new thing together. Even though, the timing didn’t seem good.
Josh: I think for me, when you are down for the count, whether it’s pregnancy, or broken legs, or-
Phylicia: Autoimmune disease.
Josh: -Yeah. It kind of empowers me to be I think your nurse and that’s like just something that comes more natural to me and-
Phylicia: He’s a very good nurse.
Josh: -makes me feel needed. So, I kind of seize the opportunity to be your caretaker.
Phylicia: He’s great. If you’re ever injured or sick, you want Josh to be taking care of you. He’s very, very good at it. He gets it from his mom, I think. But yes, you were awesome in those times and I think I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong. Actually, I should let you tell this part. But when we’re in really difficult job, like job issues, difficult, like our financial setback when you lost your job and I was pregnant, that’s when I feel like I bring my skillset, because you bring your skillset when I need someone to take care of me and I’m incapacitated, and when you’re discouraged or you have this huge setback like a job, I feel like that’s where I bring my skillset to say, “Okay, we’ll find a way to make ends meet.”
Josh: You’re a doer.
Phylicia: Yeah. [laughs]
Josh: So, you go into overdrive-
Josh: -when it comes to financial demise.
Phylicia: [laughs] Security– I’m driven a little bit by security. But I think that was something the Lord taught me was like, “Well, you can’t be driven by security because transitions like this are unpredictable and only I can be your provider,” and we’ve had to realize that-
Phylicia: -with health, insurance, pregnancy, all of it, jobs that He’s our provider. So, our final transition, the most recent one was once again while I was pregnant with Ivan, this time our third pregnancy, last summer, we won’t get into the circumstances, but Josh had to quit his job, no fault of his own, and it was a very last-minute thing, it was not what we originally hoped.
Josh: It was our five-year plan.
Phylicia: Yeah, it was our five-year plan that had to happen in three months. [laughs] Really disheartening and discouraging how it happened, but the Lord really used it to bring Josh home and make him the Chief Operating Officer of Every Woman A Theologian, which is what he does now.
Josh: They really allowed the business to balloon because you were making it what it was on like four hours a week uninterrupted.
Phylicia: Like 15. Yeah, uninterrupted. Sure. [laughs]
Josh: Yeah. Then I was able to come in and help with childcare and I think the first couple of weeks you put like 80 hours in. [laughs]
Phylicia: I worked, it might be 80 hours because that– when he quit his job in last June to come home, we were not sure how it was going to go. We were pretty nervous. We had some savings but we’re like, “Okay, we’re going to try this self-employed thing and see how it goes.” He’ll take over the shop part and that’s when you, yeah, for two weeks straight, he watched the kids pretty much.
Josh: And you worked till the cows came home. [laughs]
Phylicia: I did. We do we have cows behind her house and at the end of the day, they walk back up the path and go into the barn. So, I literally did work till the cows came home.
Phylicia: But it was interesting because you did everything for the kids for those two weeks, so, I could work 12-hour days to write theology basics. So, it was a repeat of what happened when I was pregnant with Eva, we launched another eBook and that’s what paid our bills. So, I do want to say on that front, thank you to all of you who shop with us and who buy our eBooks because it was you buying a $10 eBook that actually helped us make ends meet into the fall and allowed us to live, to make an income to live, and pay for our insurance because we lost our insurance the day Josh had to quit his job, and I was pregnant, and so it was just really scary, and the Lord just provided through you and shopping with us, and it allowed us to become fully self-employed with Every Woman A Theologian Shop and what it is today.
I guess I’ll just conclude this episode, Josh. What was one thing you would encourage people who are going through really hard life transitions?
Josh: It’s definitely not the end of the world and God has a goal in mind for you. We may plan our paths but He directs our steps. So, is a lot of faith, prayer and supplication, and then just knowing that you’re doing the right thing and following God, and He will provide for you.
Phylicia: Yeah, and I would say to piggyback on that, don’t try your very best not to pull away from your spouse during a transition, but to pull together with your spouse. It’s going to be very hard, but you need each other so much.
Josh: When two or more gather together in prayer–
Phylicia: Yeah, the Lord’s–
Josh: –that’s when God’s grace just shines.
Phylicia: Yeah, I think you do. You see the Lord more clearly in those stressful times. So, Josh and I kind of joke that this, we’re wrapping up our eighth year or we’re coming up on our eighth-year anniversary, which means eight years married. So, our eighth year, we call it our jubilee year kind of because it’s been so much stress and transition in our marriage. Like piled into the first seven years, and it’s just such a blessing to have this Sabbath year or jubilee year, whatever you want to call it. And I just want to encourage you that eventually there will be a reprieve, there will be a time of rest. Sometimes, you just have to put your head down for months, weeks, and years, but if you walk with the Lord and with your spouse, He will see it through.
Phylicia: Do you agree?
Josh: I do.
Phylicia: Okay. Awesome you guys. We will see you next week. Thank you so much for listening to Verity Podcast. And as always, you can find us on phyliciamasonheimer.com, which is also where Every Woman A Theologian Shop is, and don’t forget, this whole series is part of the launch of The Flirtation Experiment, my new marriage book that’s coming out December 7th. If you preorder, you can get special behind the scenes interviews with me and Josh, and my co-author, Lisa and her husband as well as a free chapter of the workbook. We will see you next week.
Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of Verity. You can connect with fellow listeners by following me on Instagram @phyliciamasonheimer or on our Facebook page by the same name. Also, visit phyliciamasonheimer.com for links to each episode and the show notes.