By Sylvia Smith, Crosswalk.com
Getting married is a wonderful adventure and a true blessing from God, but it’s not without its challenges. Marriage is about much more than being with your best friend for the rest of your life. It’s about building a shared relationship with God and merging two lives together. This isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to marriage and money matters.
Christian couples should be able to talk about anything together, yet many couples still do not feel comfortable talking about their finances… especially when their financial priorities aren’t aligned. These mismatched financial priorities can lead to frustration and arguments.
These are six things to consider when you and your spouse don’t have the same money philosophies.
1. Talk openly about financial perspectives.
Financial matters are not always easy for couples to talk about. One survey, conducted by the investing app Acorns, found that 68 percent of participants said they would rather reveal how much they weigh than say how much money was in their savings account.
Yet the sooner couples can start talking about their finances, the healthier their marriage will be. If possible, couples should discuss money matters before they say their “I do’s”. This way both spouses will be fully aware of what they are walking into.
Some helpful financial advice for newlyweds is to discuss how they are going to handle money matters going forward in their marriage. Topics for discussion should include:
- How each spouse was brought up to view money (spenders vs. savers, how responsibly they handled their first job, how their parents handled money, etc.)
- Set a realistic budget so that both partners feel their needs, as well as household needs, are being met
- Whether the couple will have shared or separate bank accounts
- Who will be responsible for what bill/household expense
- How the money will be saved for emergencies/starting a family/vacation/buying a home
Having these practical discussions about finances will make the awkward subject matter easier to digest in the future.
Photo courtesy: ©©Unsplash/Rawpixel
2. Utilize the threefold cord.
Two ropes wrapped together may look pretty, but it can be untangled in an instant. On the other hand, a braided rope will be sturdy and trustworthy.
The Bible speaks of a threefold cord that can’t be broken. This threefold cord consists of you, your spouse, and God.
Matthew 6:24-25 brings out an amazing point that couples can take as both married and financial advice. In these verses, Jesus says: "Stop being anxious about your lives as to what you will drink or about your bodies as to what you will wear.”
The verse goes on to say: “Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are?"
Jesus illustration here reminds his followers that they should never be overly anxious about the necessities of life, because Jehovah God will always take care of them so long as they put him first in their lives.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/satura86
3. Communicate calmly about financial matters.
Couples can’t get on the same page about their financial philosophies if they don’t discuss them regularly.
Still, there's a reason why marriage therapists suggest talking about money for no more than 10 minutes at a time with your sweetheart. Why? Because it's uncomfortable!
Talking about marriage and finances are tricky. This awkward topic can also rile couples up fairly quickly when they can’t seem to agree on how to spend or save their money.
Christian couples are wise to heed the counsel in Ephesians 4:29 where it says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Pray together before you sit down to talk about your finances. Ask for a calm and understanding spirit. Listen to your partner’s point of view without interrupting. And finally, agree that no matter what, you aren’t going to use your financial frustrations as an excuse to argue.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/AndreyPopov
4. Discuss debts before marriage.
Christian couples are wise to get to know one another well before marriage, including their financial histories.
While difficult, couples should make a point to share their financial histories with one another before walking down the aisle. It would not be loving or wise to surprise your partner with the news that you owe $10,000 in student debt or are in bankruptcy after you're already married.
Talk about what debts you have accumulated before your relationship began and be candid about how you are handling them so that they do not affect your credit after marriage.
Romans 13:8 highlights the importance of paying off your debts when it says, "Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another."
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Rawpixel
5. Learn to compromise with finances.
Newly married couples will likely hear this advice more than they’d like. Yet, compromise is one of the essential ingredients for a healthy marriage.
Romans 14:19 speaks of pursuing things that make for peace and mutual upbuilding. Married couples build one another up when they learn to compromise and take the time to understand each other's side of things.
Consider a husband and wife who are on a tight budget. The husband wants to save every penny, while the wife wants to go out for a date night.
There may be cause to reduce needless spending, but a husband doesn’t want to hinder his wife’s joy or lose out on the benefits of spending time together. He compromises by suggesting they set aside money to have one or two date nights out a month, but that the rest of their extra money should be put into a locked savings account.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Rawpixel
6. Trust in God.
In Luke 12:6-7 Jesus speaks of five sparrows that sell for two coins of very little value. The sparrows were a provision for the poor to use to sacrifice at the temples. These birds were considered practically worthless.
Yet, Jesus brings out: "Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows."
This Scripture highlights the importance of relying on God in all things, including financial matters. If God cares for a seemingly “worthless” sparrow, how much more does he care for his people?
God will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. He wants your marriage to succeed, but you need to trust in him.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/ijeab