If you are like most married people, you’ve likely discovered that your spouse spends money a little – or a lot – differently than you do. Opposites attract, so you shouldn’t be surprised when differences around money crop up in your marriage.
In our marriage, I am the spender and Shelley is not. She has to keep me away from the shopping mall while I practically force her to buy something for herself. She never goes anywhere without her coupon folder. I often forget to use a coupon. I actually enjoy analyzing spending trends and building our budget. While Shelley loses interest if our monthly budget reviews take longer than 15-minutes.
Money is one of the primary sources of conflict in marriage. One of the fastest ways to put a strain on your marriage is to not be on the same page with your spouse about money. God intended money to be a blessing that builds up your marriage, not a weapon that tears it down. Follow these 5 tips to build a healthy marriage.
1. Embrace your differences and find a healthy balance.
It’s important to understand and acknowledge each other’s biases towards money. One of you is more of a spender than a saver. One of you likes the idea of a budget, while the other prefers to make money decisions on the fly. One spouse has more of a long-term focus and the other just wants to live in the moment.
Being a natural spender or a natural saver is not right or wrong – just different. Opposite personalities can come together and balance each other in marriage. Identify the unique strengths and weaknesses each of you bring to the marriage around money. The Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (Ecclesiastics 4:9-10, NIV). Start working as a team by putting your strengths to work and bring a healthy balance to each other’s weaknesses.
2. Communicate about money.
Marriage is built on communication and you won’t be on the same page about money unless you talk about it. Open up the lines of communication by sharing your fears and insecurities as well as your goals and dreams. Pray together and work to agree on a plan for the money God has entrusted you. When you are agreeing on where your money is going, it will unify the two of you in ways you’ve never experienced before. There will be harmony where there used to be tension.
3. Do a monthly budget together.
See Also: Keys to Budgeting Success
Each month, before the month begins, couples should sit down and spend every dollar on paper, on purpose. It’s okay if one spouse takes the lead, but you both should provide input and agree on where the money goes. Budgeting is an important spiritual discipline that helps married couples put God in charge of their finances. By establishing the routine of a monthly budget meeting, you will be communicating about so much more than dollars and cents.
4. Combine Accounts.
On the day you got married, your “me” became “we.” Jesus said this about marriage, “The two will become one. So they are no longer two, but one.” (Mark 10:8, NLT). Being united in marriage means saying to each other, “What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.” Working together from a shared account encourages unity around money. It’s no longer my money, or your money; it’s our money. Operating from a combined account establishes the kind of transparency and accountability that is needed in a healthy marriage. Keeping this area of your marriage separate often leads to separation in other areas.
5. Agree on a spending limit to avoid financial infidelity.
If you’re like most people, then you’ve been tempted to hide a purchase from your spouse because of how you thought they might react. In a recent study, 75% of people surveyed said financial infidelity has negatively impacted their marriage. Keep money secrets out of your marriage by proactively agreeing on a spending limit. It might be $30, $75 or $150. When either of you wants to purchase something that costs more than the agreed upon amount, commit to discussing it with your spouse first. You will find this practice will go a long way towards building trust and a stronger relationship.
Put these 5 tips into practice and start making progress with your money and your marriage. Once you get on the same page about money you will experience unity and peace in your marriage like never before.
Find practical ways to communicate with your spouse about money by participating in the next Financial Peace University class. Learn biblical principles for managing money, spending and saving wisely, and eliminating debt during this 9-week class.
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Marriage and Money: Five Tips for a Healthy Marriage
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