Marriage & Money
Do you sometimes find the “happily ever after” more work than you had planned?
You aren’t alone. Here are some tips to bless your marriage and your money.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
So where do we start if our methods aren’t working?
Accountability Is Key
Utilizing the steps we’ve listed in the “Money Date” (see “How to Stick to a Budget”) will ensure you are both accountable. This isn’t a time to be combative, rather it is a time to be proactive and gracious. When a mistake is made there must be grace, but there must also be honesty. If one partner has gone well over the agreed-upon budget, the other has the responsibility to express their true feelings. This brings transparency and health to the marriage. However, grace will win the race! Speak the truth in love and agree to get back on track. Additionally, if one spouse would like to head back into debt or make major changes in the plan, there should be open channels of communication to calmly discuss any concerns. Praying for God’s wisdom will take you far in these conversations.
Integrity Will Take Your Far
There will be opportunities to “pull the wool” over each other’s eyes. Don’t take those opportunities. Utilize the fun money mentioned in our “How to Stick to a Budget” page for purchases not already planned for in advance. Playing the game where “if your spouse spends too much so now you can spend too much” is a hamster wheel. Stay off of it! It won’t lead to financial freedom or a healthy marriage.
If you are on board and ready to become debt-free, but your spouse isn’t there yet, it’s ok. Pray about the right approach to managing your marriage and money. God knows your husband or wife better than you do. He knows what needs to occur to help them want to become financially healthy. You can control your own spending and habits, but please, don’t nag!
No one wants to be bossed around. Marriage works best when two people work together AND invite God into the situation. The Biblical model sets the husband as the head of the wife, but he must do so in an incredibly loving way. A loving husband will also invite his wife into the discussions and make sure she is right beside him prayerfully making decisions all the while pursing the loving option. A good pastor friend of ours once addressed the group we were teaching that day regarding the Biblical order of marriage from the book of Ephesians. His encouragement was to “pay attention to your own verse” (see Ephesians 5:22-26 for your verses). Let the Lord take care of the other person and you will have plenty to do just working on yourself!
Side Note: Should you find yourself in a situation where your partner is not on board and does not seem open to the Lord moving in your finances, keep your faith up, and continue praying. Maybe there are small changes you can make individually that will eventually be helpful to your partner coming alongside you to work towards financial freedom. Keep praying and be patient. It seems like a small thing, but the results are powerful!
Remember, You Can’t Fix It Overnight
Most “marriage and money” issues were not created overnight, so why would we expect to fix them in a day? Be patient. Work. Keep doing the right thing even when you don’t see a breakthrough yet. If by chance either of you have been in the habit of saying that it is “his debt” or “her debt” now is a good time to change your vocabulary. As we quoted Mark 10:7-9 earlier, the two of you are now one flesh. You are one in the eyes of God. Unite those bank accounts. Tackle the debts together and enjoy the rich fruits of hard work and unity that the Lord will bring as you see victory over your finances like never before!
Yes, we said dream. Now you might be staring at a huge stack of credit card bills and other debts on your dining room table, but God wants you to dream. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy (satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give us abundant life! Now think about that for a minute! If debts and financial struggles weren’t holding you back what would you do? Have you been in the habit of assuming some things would never happen or they’re impossible? Maybe that’s not what God is saying at all. Talk to Him about those dreams. We dare you to invite Him into your marriage and your money.
For more tools to fine-tune your marriage, we highly recommend our dear friend Diana over at Relentless Marriage!