Updated on 02.11.09

About My Wife, Sarah

Trent Hamm

Today is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to talk about the day than to talk about my wonderful wife and how she constantly and subtly pushes me to become a better person.

I grew up about six miles away from my wife, but we barely knew each other for the first sixteen or seventeen years of our lives. We went to the same school, but we were in different grades taking different classes and largely hanging out with different friends. We knew each other from an early age, but not well.

It wasn’t until the very end of my high school years that our social circles began to overlap. We did a few social things together as friends, but when I left for college, it was still purely a friendship. I dated a few people during my first year at college while she was still in high school, though we kept up correspondence via email and letters.

Eventually, she made the choice to attend the same college that I attended, and once that choice was made, we began to gradually spend more and more time together. Eventually we began dating each other – a period that went on for six years – and eventually, some twenty years after meeting, we were married in 2003.

In short, my wife and I came from very similar backgrounds. We both grew up in a rural environment to relatively low-income families. We went to the same primary school, the same high school, and the same college. We have a lot of life experiences in common and a lot of people in common as well from our early days.

Yet, in many ways, we’re perfect opposites. I tend to throw myself passionately into things, obsessing over them and focusing intently on them for long swaths of time, whereas my wife remains pretty centered, tending to do a much better job at juggling a variety of things. I’m better at implementing, at actually getting specific tasks done, while my wife is a better manager, seeing all the things that need to be done and gently pushing me (and herself) to accomplish certain tasks (yes, she’s far better at assembling a to-do list than I am).

This held true when we first decided to turn around our financial lives. I came at it with passion, quite ready and willing to make big, radical changes. I obsessed over our situation, rooting out all kinds of changes we could make. My wife, however, was the source of levity, distinguishing between the radical ideas and the more reasonable ones and pushing us to accomplish the reasonable things. Then, when my passion would fade a bit, she’d be that quiet voice that would keep us going.

I say without hesitation that my wife is the real heart of our family. The unwavering love and quiet support that she shows me and our children in almost every aspect of our lives is amazing, especially when she makes it look so effortless. One minute, she’ll be gently encouraging our son to use the potty, then she’ll be reading to our daughter and teaching her a new word. Before I blink, she’ll be brainstorming ideas for tomorrow’s evening meal and encouraging some of my better writing ideas. Most amazing of all is that she does it without hesitation and without waver. It’s not a sustained effort for her – it just comes naturally.

Sarah provides both the levity and the beauty in my life. She keeps me focused on what I need to focus on, yet often inspires me to reach ever higher. She’s been the real motivation behind all of the wonderful things that have happened in our lives over the last decade – our children, our financial turnaround and success, our career opportunities.

Simply put, she’s the one for me. Without her, none of this – The Simple Dollar, 365 Ways to Live Cheap, some of my other projects – would be possible.

I love you, honey.

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  1. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy says:

    I truly believe that behind every great man is a great woman. Whether that woman be a spouse, friend, relative, or what have you. They keep us grounded and help us realize there are important things outside of our single-minded ambitions.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Trent, wonderful article!

  2. Trent, Happy Valentine’s Day, your wife sounds amazing, I’m happy for you two.

    I hope you enjoyed continued success together.


  3. Tori says:

    She may not see this, but everything you said about Sarah is true. I’ve been lucky to befriend Sarah for nearly 12 (!) years.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.

  4. I enjoyed reading this! My husband and I both read your post and were struck by how similar our story is to yours. Grew up in the same town, crossed paths in high school but didn’t really become friends until college when we ended up at the same place…our personality differences also complement each other very well. Basically, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Nicely put. Enjoy Valentine’s Day with your family!

  5. Elisabeth says:

    How sweet!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you.

  6. Glen Allsopp says:

    Really nice message Trent. I hope that you send this link to her. If not, happily send me her email address so I can show her :)


  7. Ken says:

    WHat a great gift to her…telling all your readers about her great qualities. I call this a great Valentine gift. Hats off to both of you…behind every good man is a great woman.

  8. Elizabeth B says:

    This is a lovely tribute to your wife. Thank you for sharing it with your readers.

  9. Mule Skinner says:

    I grew up on the opposite side of the earth from my wife. Twelve time zones; a large continent and a large ocean from me to her. I was lower class in a rich country, while she was upper middle class in a poor country. If we had met when she was ten years old, we would have had no language in common; after that she began to learn English, though I still have not learnt the two she started out with. Despite our cultural, racial, diet, taste, and religious differences we are succeeding in marriage. We have two children who are most admirable: making good grades, socially adept, and behaving well.

    Happy VD.

  10. Tall Bill says:

    Good Man with Good Woman beside. Winning combination if there ever was. Lovely Non fiction Love showing through your work yet once again. An email I’m pleased to open daily!! Happy Valentines Day all!!! Tall Bill

  11. Jen says:

    Happy Love Day, Trent and Sarah and fellow readers. :-)

  12. Marie says:

    Sarah, you go girl!!

    Trent, what a wonderful Valentine’s Day “toast.” Thanks for sharing.

  13. Melinda says:

    That is so sweet! I hope you guys both had a great Valentines day!

  14. colleen c says:

    What a lovely Valentine you just gave your wife! Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.

  15. brooke says:

    I love this article, Trent, how sweet! I know your wife is loving you right now : )

    I think you just gave all your readers a great gift too- that wonderful feeling and reflection of remembering how much we love OUR significant others!

    To my hubby who will inevitably read this post when he picks up his email after work- I love you!

  16. sandra says:

    TRENT—ALL of your WOMEN readers already KNEW this!!!!!!!!!

    I’m glad you acknowledged her in such a lovely,endearing way BUT ALL US GALS knew YOU had a great wife,mother & friend!

  17. Lis says:

    Aww, I got a little teary reading this. So sweet.

  18. Gabriel says:

    Forget flowers and chocolates, women just like to know they’re appreciated on Valentine’s Day. Well, and maybe some chocolates too :)
    Your wife sounds like a real force for good, glad to know you’re both with someone who brings out their best qualities.

  19. Matt says:

    Great post, Trent! Thanks for sharing. It is obvious you understand the amazing impact your wife has on you and your family, and I’m grateful that you recognize her contribution to your success. If only more of us guys could learn how to praise our lovely ladies for all that they do (and not just on Valentine’s Day – ha!). Thanks again!

  20. Joel C says:

    My wife and I started to school together in the first grade in 1946. This will be our 50th year of marriage. Our tombstone will say. Hand in hand they experienced life together.

  21. Joel C says:

    I am post # 18 I also meant to say we started to and graduated from a school in the town of Trent

  22. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    Oh, Trent… How many girls can say that their Valentine was read by 50,000 people? You’re so wonderful. I love you for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that you make me sound like the most wonderful woman in the world, when I most definitely am not.

    You’re the best husband and father anyone could ever have, and I thank God for bringing us together.

  23. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    Oh, and thanks for the vote of confidence, Tori! :) You’re awesome, too!

  24. I just had a simple but enjoyable Valentine’s dinner with my wife at the restaurant where we first met. It cost less than $50.

    I believe Valentine’s Day is a wonderful moment for us to celebrate the love, efforts and support which our spouse have given to the family.

  25. Barbara says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your lovely wife.
    Having a wonderful spouse is a blessing. It’s the journey through the good times and bad times that tests our commitment to each other and our family.
    It’s not about material things, it’s about the memories we make together. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  26. Dena Bugel-Shunra says:

    You know, your writing is a role model to a whole lot of stuff that is not actually financial… thanks for that!

  27. Carrie says:

    I’ve known Sarah since we were in elementary school, and I agree with Trent – Sarah is a wonderful woman, and I am glad to call her a good friend. Kudos to you, Trent for sharing with all of us how much of a difference she makes in your life.

  28. Heather says:

    This is sweet! I like hearing a little bit more about the personal lives of my favorite bloggers.

  29. Susan says:

    Trent that post is what a wife wants!! I have always said a love letter of appreciation means more than diamonds or flowers. What a lovely Valentine post.

  30. Shevy says:

    Awww. That was really sweet.

  31. Kasandra says:

    Love this post! Thanks for a beautiful valentine…..and showing that its not really stuff that matters most but love and family once again. A big thank you to Sarah for sharing you with us each and every day…..and may we all strive a little harder to be a “Sarah” to our own spouse!

  32. jeanne says:

    Trent, what a lovely way to honor your wife on Valentine’s Day… and so publicly to boot! Congratulations to both of you!

  33. Norm says:

    Has she got a SISTER!!!!!

  34. Mitford says:

    What a wonderful and powerful example for Valentine’s day; one of mutual love, choice, commitment and respect.

    God has blessed you richly, and how awesome it is that you both know that.

  35. Stephanie says:

    What a beautiful post. You and your wife are lucky to have found one another.

  36. Mike says:

    “she does it without hesitation and without waver. It’s not a sustained effort for her – it just comes naturally.” Trent wake up. You are taking her internal struggles for granted. Pay more attention.

  37. donna says:

    What a lovely tribute to your wife. May you always feel this way!

  38. I enjoyed this last year, and thank you for linking to it again. (Especially after the recent grocery list post! :>))

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