Money is often cited as the greatest area of frustration, fighting, stress, and unhappiness in marriage. One spouse wants to budget, the other doesn’t. Neither spouse can agree on exactly how to spend their money or what to prioritize, so budgeting just leads to more arguments. Maybe just the word “budgeting” spawns fights between the two of you, and you’re not sure how to ever make your money and marriage work.
Well, let me tell you – marriage is not the cause of your budgeting problems – it’s actually the solution! Because of this, my wife, Ann, and I wrote a book together to help couples get their hearts united and their finances aligned. It is called, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions.
We need love and money but must know how to effectively manage each. A couple can have a great financial plan and solid budget but still be worlds apart in their heart and mind. External solutions do not address the internal problems that cause strife.
Thankfully, God gave us everything we need to make both work for a lifetime. So, no matter how deep the wounds or how wide the division, there is hope.
You know the saying, “opposites attract”? This rings true for my marriage. I sometimes say my wife and I are as different as a pitbull and a poodle. Her natural response to the world is 180 degrees opposite of mine. But I’ve learned that this is really to our advantage.
Imagine two people standing back to back. They don’t see the world the same way. Picture them interlocking arms. This simple gesture unifies two into one entity. Rotating, they have a complete view of the world. They become a 360-degree couple, capable of protecting and strengthening one another because they “have each other’s back”.
Study your spouse to understand how God uniquely created them. When two different personalities submit to God and His truth, the fruit of the spirit can flow from one another.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
A Word on Philosophy
When a man and woman get married, they’re not only bringing two different personalities, they bringing two different philosophies about money into the marriage. That’s why we fight so much!
Your money philosophy is shaped by your family, environment, experiences, and values. You may have a philosophy about to load the dishwasher, or fold the laundry, too! You and your spouse come from two different backgrounds, with different preferences or habits. When you get married, you put some of your preferences aside and agree on systems, or philosophies, together. The bowls go on the top rack, pants are folded, not hung, and saving money is a priority.
But your united philosophy about money will always be incomplete without God. Putting your financial preferences aside to compromise with your spouse will still lead to stress and fights unless you look to Scripture first. God cares about your money and His Word has a lot to say about how you should manage it.
Getting on the Same Page
Budgeting should be an essential part of every couple’s financial plan. But if you’re trying to get your spouse to start budgeting, you can’t force them to read this article and use the tried and true line, “I told you so”, if you want to be successful.
Study Scripture together to learn what God has to say about budgeting. Pray for wisdom to know how and when to talk to your spouse about it, and never attack or accuse. Budgeting can bring peace to your finances and your marriage, but that doesn’t mean your spouse will appreciate you shoving it down their throat.
Go to the Lord and ask Him to give you discernment and peace. Then, approach your spouse in humility and love. Don’t catch him or her off guard. Be willing to learn together and always be gracious and humble. Then, make a budget! Talk about your financial goals and take time to be thorough.
Solomon said, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”
You can read more about how to get on the same page as your spouse and make your united financial plan in Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. My wife and I wrote this book from our own experiences with money and marriage. We hope it’s an encouragement to other couples!