For 21 years of my marriage, my wife and I were in disagreement about money. I was content pursuing all the riches this world offered, tithing 2.6% of my income, and not involving God in any of my financial decisions. She wasn’t.
The turning point in our marriage came when she lovingly convinced me to join a Crown Bible study. Talking about my marriage and finances in a group sounded like just about the worst thing I could think of, but I went. And God started to change my heart.
One day, my wife gently asked me, “Do you agree with God’s teaching on money?” I said, “Yes. I agree with God.” She then said, “Good! If you agree with God, then I can agree with you!”
We quit competing about our preferences and started unifying under God’s plan. Here are 7 keys that we have found to handling money in our marriage. These are the core of what God taught us through our 38 years of marriage.
Be A Peacemaker
If you want to experience healing, be the first to confess, and the first to say, “I’m sorry!”
Pray for peace in your marriage, and actively choose to be the peacemaker. If one of you is a peacemaker, your marriage will survive. If both of you commit to becoming peacemakers, then your marriage will thrive!
God’s plan for our prosperity includes marriage. It is not in spite of marriage. Of course, God can bless those who don’t marry. But you and I should see our spouse and family as a key part of living a prosperous life. Read God’s plan for prosperity in Jeremiah 29:4-11.
Know and Fulfill Your Purpose
Most individuals, myself included, know that they want to get married and have kids, but can’t really explain the purpose of doing so. Let me encourage you – God has a very specific purpose for your life and marriage. Regardless of your occupation, income, or social standing, God has called you and your spouse to give your utmost for His highest glory.
Live By God’s Philosophy of Money
Whether or not you know it, both you and your spouse have a philosophy about money. You form it through your life experiences, preferences, thoughts, and personalities. Your personal philosophy is bound to be different from your spouse’s and can cause frustration and disunity. But God’s transformational power provides an advantage for two to become one regardless of your personalities, background, or annoying habits. Develop a Biblical philosophy of money with your spouse!
Love and Understand Their Personality
Remember that you and your spouse are on the same team. And on any team, you have to use your teammate’s strengths to help you win. Especially if their strengths happen to be your weaknesses. Don’t try and change your spouse to think and feel the same way you do. Use each other’s strengths and differences to attack your financial challenges together.
Create a Unified Plan
I think the first step you should take towards making a plan involves a budget. You can download an easy-to-use guide to making one that you and your spouse can agree upon here.
The plan you develop won’t just help your finances, but will help you to fulfill the purpose God has for your life and marriage, will be aligned with Scripture, and will lead you to achieve your financial goals.
Establish a Process
Now that you’re working on a plan for success, you need a process to keep your plan moving forward, even when a setback occurs.
I’ve found it’s helpful for couples to put themselves either in charge of offense (earning income) or defense (keeping a budget, paying the bills). It will take both your efforts to make a comprehensive process and in some cases one spouse may be more gifted at both the offense and defense. You still need to find an effective process that works for your marriage.
If you want to learn more about our experience getting on the same page about money, and go into more detail on each of these 7 keys, get a copy of our book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions.