Perhaps you’ve heard it said that the number one cause of divorce in America is financial problems. Marriage is hard: it’s not easy for two sinners to become one and finances can sometimes be one of the barriers to unity. A lot of times a husband, wife or both walk down the aisle with some financial baggage, like student loans and credit card debt.
In order for us to truly rock our marriages, we need to adopt healthy financial principles, such as:
A Renewed Perspective:
We must transfer ownership of our money and possessions to God: all that we have belongs to Him. He entrusts us to steward these resources well. When we acknowledge this, it gives us a new perspective and inspires us to make good financial decisions (like being faithful tithers).
When a couple gets married, they must remove the labels of “his” and “hers” when it comes to money because it should be “our money.” No matter who brings home a paycheck, the money goes into the shared pot. When couples have separate accounts and split the bills, (“Hey, I’ll pay the mortgage and you pay the utilities,”) things can get complicated. If you truly want unity in your marriage, combine all of your finances. Changing your perspective and vocabulary about your marriage and money will help you succeed.
Sometimes we make financial mistakes because of a lack of knowledge, so do all that you can to learn about money together. No matter where you are with your finances, there’s always the opportunity to learn more. You can find encouragement and inspiration to attack your debt, save up for emergencies and large purchases, live generously or tackle investments.
Check out resources like: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or The Total Money Makeover, Crown Financial Ministries or Compass. Listen to podcasts or take an in-person class together.
Budgeting and Communicating
Many people think budgeting is restricting, but it’s actually freeing to know where your money is going each month. Don’t forget to budget for expenses that don’t occur every month, such as gifts (Christmas and other), auto registrations and maintenance, travel, entertainment, clothing, etc.
Do your budget and bills together every pay period so that you both know how much money comes in each month and what obligations you have. When you use online budgeting software, like Every Dollar, Mvelopes or Mint, every transaction is imported and you can both see your spending history and patterns. A cash budgeting envelope system works similarly. Both methods help to promote communication and accountability, which is usually lacking when couples have financial difficulties.
If you frequently experience money problems within your marriage, discuss the root cause of those problems. How can you solve them together?
Setting goals and dreaming together about your financial future is fun and important. Imagine what you want your future to look like. What financial steps do you need to take to get there? When you have goals to work toward, financial discipline can be exciting.
Spend some time together soon to talk to your spouse about money and what you want your 2016 to look like.