Studies show that one of the top reasons couples fight or divorce is because of money. There are many factors that affect the way we view money and each partner brings different their different beliefs, behaviors and attitudes about money to a marriage.
You know the saying, opposites attract? It often happens with money habits; one person is a spender and the other is a saver. One person likes spending money on things, the other person likes spending money on experiences. And on and on. These differences may not seem as obvious before you get married, but once you are, they’re magnified.
When money issues become a big issue early on in marriage, they can quickly snowball. But if a couple learns how to work through their disagreements over money early on, they are setting their marriage up on a great track.
If this wasn’t the case for you, it’s never too late to work on this area of your marriage. It may require extra work, soft hearts and a willingness to work as a team, but it’s worth it!
Very often when we’re disagreeing with our spouse, we feel like they’re the enemy and that we have to win. That mentality can lead to a lot of hurt and disappointment because we try to prove the other person wrong. Instead, if we work at marital issues from the perspective of being a team and working with your spouse to achieve the outcomes you both want, both of you win.
Here are five tips/talking points for working with your spouse to align your money and your marriage:
1. Remember that It’s God’s Money
All that we have is from the Lord, He entrusts us with all that we have and it’s our responsibility to be good stewards. Understanding this is key to unity in finances. Acknowledging God as our sustainer and provider reminds us that we don’t need to worry about money. It’s a tool He allows us to use and it’s up to us how we use it.
2. Remember that It’s Our Money
As you manage the money God gives you, I highly recommend keeping all your money in shared accounts. If you have separate accounts, it’s easy to make statements like, “It’s my money,” or “That’s coming from your account.” That sets a marriage up for extra comparing and competing when it comes to finances. A great mindset to adopt is that it doesn’t matter who brings home a paycheck, the money is ours.
3. Budget and Make Goals Together
Because the money belongs to both of you, make decisions about your money together. Dream together, set goals and create a budget. Budgets aren’t restricting, they’re freeing! Analyze your current expenses and how they match up to your income and debt. Talk about adjustments that could or should be made. Talk together with a financial planner or take a course, like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, to help you both learn and grow in the area of finances.
4. Communicate and Be Accountable to Each Other
Learning to manage money together requires regular communication and accountability. Discuss how you will handle:
- Tithing and Giving
- Large Purchases: What dollar amount is okay to spend without a check in?
- Credit Cards: Will we use credit cards? For what types of purchases?
- Savings: How much will we save? What are we saving for?
Use an accounting system that gives both of you access to accounts and transactions. Not only does it track expenses and budgets, but it encourages honesty and accountability. When both of you are regularly reviewing the finances, it’s harder and less tempting to hide purchases from each other.
5. Have Fun With Money
Again, money is a tool God allows us to use for life on earth. When we manage it well, it allows us the freedom to have fun spending it with or on our spouse. Talk about how you can have fun in your marriage: is it date night once a week or saving all year for a big vacation? Is it buying each other gifts regularly? Leaving room in your budget to spend money on your individual interests and on each other is good for your marriage.
What are your best tips for aligning your money and your marriage?