“In marriage do thou be wise: prefer the person before money, virtue before beauty, the mind before the body; then thou hast a wife, a friend, a companion, a second self.” – William Penn
It’s no secret that money issues are one of the biggest conflicts for many married couples. In fact, money and money fights are a major cause of divorce. While life events like job loss can put a huge strain on any marriage, most married couples’ money fights can be traced to issues around everyday money habits, such as overspending, debt, and budgeting. In fact, Dave Ramsey says, “You can’t have a great relationship until you can communicate and agree about money.”
Money arguments or disagreements will happen from time to time We certainly don’t know everything about this or have a ready-made solution to fix every financial woe in your marriage. However, we have learned a few principles that help us stay focused on the main thing: God.
First, agree on a financial plan that includes some accountability. In many marriages, you have a spouse who is a spender and a spouse who is a saver. The savers are the financial planners who use budgets to manage their money, while spenders want the freedom to spend their money without being accountable to a budget. That type of diverse view on money management is why a financial plan is such an essential part of a strong marriage. A budget or a plan for the couple’s money is one of the best investments in your marriage.
Once you have a financial plan, take the time to regularly talk through monthly expenses as a couple. Typically, one spouse pays the bills. That spouse should communicate each month of where they are financially, and how it relates to the budget so that both of you stay accountable and on track.
Your financial plan should prioritize what to do with any disposable income. Having some extra money left over each month is good. It’s one way we can experience God’s grace. It’s extra, and it’s there to be enjoyed. When enjoying it, choose the things that matter most to you, not just shiny things marketed well. If you’ve got $250 of “fun money” this month, how do you use it in a purposeful way to maximize long-term enjoyment? The point here is to spend your disposable cash in a way that builds you up purposely as opposed to just adding to life’s consumer clutter.
Work together. See if you and your spouse can identify your temperaments and then talk about how you see them impacting your financial beliefs and behaviors. The goal is to put that knowledge to work so you can take full advantage of each other’s natural money management strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.
Get on the same page. If you both understand biblical stewardship and respond to wisdom, this won’t be a problem. But if one of you seeks to be a good steward while the other spends haphazardly, you’re in for a bumpy ride. Get on the same page: God’s page. Learn what God is asking of you and stick to it together.
- Is a financial plan important for you? Why or why not?
- What can you do this week to get on the same page financially as your spouse?