So You Think You’re Going to…Get Married
Marriage was designed by God to bring abundant blessing into our lives as we work together in unity as husband and wife. I hope that if you’re engaged, newly married, or a seasoned spouse that you are experiencing all the blessings that marriage can bring.
Yet for so many couples, they never experience these benefits. Finances continue to be a leading cause of division, tension, and divorce in marriages. But let me encourage you – marriage is not the cause of your financial problems, It’s the very best solution.
So if you are planning on getting married soon, here are some key steps to take to get on the same page as your spouse before you say, “I Do”. I hope these principles will guide you leading up to and throughout your marriage so you can experience financial freedom and marital harmony.
Talk About Philosophy.
Whether or not you’re aware of it, you have a philosophy about money. Your money philosophy is made up of thoughts, ideas, plans, dreams, concepts, beliefs, and principles. And your soon-to-be spouse has their own philosophy of money. And it’s probably not the same as yours.
So instead of fighting each other on how much to save or whether to tithe on gross or net income, go to Scripture. Adopt God’s philosophy on money to unite your hearts with one another. Your philosophy doesn’t have to be anything lofty or complicated. Here’s ours:
Giving is the highest and best use of money. (Acts 20:35)
Save consistently to be prepared for emergencies. (Proverbs 6:6)
Avoid hoarding. (Luke 16:25)
Spending is an indication of where our heart is. (Matthew 6:21)
True riches are more important than worldly wealth. (Luke 16:11)
Another great example of a money philosophy goes like this: “Debt is bad. Savings is good. Giving is fun! Stuff is meaningless.”
Whatever your philosophy is, decide on it together, surrender it to the Lord, and remember that it will probably be contrary to culture (Romans 12:2).
You can find some practical exercises on how identify your philosophy of money and unify with your spouse in Money Problems, Marriage Solutions.
Talk About Money.
If it hasn’t already come up, you’ll need to have some honest and vulnerable conversations about money. When you get married, you’re agreeing to commit yourselves to each other for life.
This means you’re binding your finances, and your futures together. And there is no place for secrets or deceit.
Discuss any current or previous financial obligations, like student loans, credit card debt, or bad credit history. Talk about your current income and financial plan. And dream about the future!
Make goals to save, give generously, and travel together.
Get specific about your expectations and roles about money in your marriage. There tends to be one partner who is more skilled or adept at managing finances. It doesn’t matter if this is the husband or wife, but decide who is going to pay the bills and organize your finances. I also suggest you:
- Establish a habit of giving and saving from the start
- Create a budget
- Eliminate all high-interest credit card debt
- Establish an emergency fund
- Make your spouse the beneficiary on all your accounts, and make a will
- Discuss short- and long-term financial plans
- Get advice from a trusted mentor
You can find all these steps and more help with Crown’s Money Map. Make plans to reach your goals and seek financial freedom together.
Talk About Personality.
Sometimes I joke that my wife and I are as different as a pit bull and a poodle. While it’s a funny mental image, it’s also pretty accurate. She approaches life completely differently than I do, and it could present problems if we didn’t have the right perspective.
But instead of trying to make Ann’s personality fit the mold of my personality, I see our differences as complementary strengths. She makes up for where I am weak, and vice versa. With this attitude, we not only accomplish much more, but we feel more fulfilled because we are operating in our strong suits.
Don’t try to change your spouse. Become a student of them for your entire marriage. Thank God for the way He brilliantly and uniquely designed them, and for His mercy to match you with someone different than yourself! Crown’s founder, Larry Burkett, used to say “If you’re both the same, one of you isn’t necessary!”
In all this, remember that marriage is a blessing and a joy. Of course it will not fix all of your problems or guarantee a life free of stress, difficulties, or challenges. But God designed it to be good, a blessing to your life, and regardless of your circumstances, it’s worth your every effort to protect and preserve your marriage.
If you are looking for more practical tips, or some premarital reading material, pick up a copy of Money Problems, Marriage Solutions!