When you devote your heart to someone by making a public declaration and saying, “ I do” at the altar on your wedding day, you are saying yes to all that they are and all that they bring into the marriage, including the positives and negatives of their finances. Money can be a sticky, messy topic but it’s one critical conversation that is important when creating a happy and healthy marriage. Money problems and then fighting about it can be detrimental to a marriage, therefore it is important to be on the same page early on. So whether you are newlyweds or will be married soon having a financial plan is vital and very necessary.
Creating a plan will take vulnerability. Being fully transparent about your financial habits will help you both have a better understanding of how your spouse views money. Be honest about any debt you may have as well as how you were raised. How did your parents teach you about money? Have an open conversation without any criticism or judgment.
Once you are married, “marry” your finances as well. Combine your money into a joint bank account. Marriage is a union that unifies two people, which means no area of your marriage should be separated, especially finances. Shared accounts states the claim, “we are in this together.” Then begin to budget together, make financial goals together, and even if one person ends up handling the day-to-day and monthly finances, it is still important the other person is involved and aware of where the finances are currently.
Finances can be difficult, especially if you haven’t always made the best choices, getting back on track can be hard. It can leave us feeling defeated and overwhelmed, but thankfully Jesus cares about how we handle money. In God’s word there are over 2,000 verses that speak on money and materialism. If we lean into His wisdom and strength the obstacle of finances can too be overcome. So lets discuss some ways that you as a married couple can honor God with your finances.
Give 10% to God
Having enough money or wanting more can become all consuming thoughts, which can lead to us clinging to the security of money rather than clinging to God and trusting in His provisions. The best way to put God first in your finances is by simply giving Him the first portion of your income. This practice is called paying our tithe, which is 10% of your weekly or monthly income. This is the most important principle when it comes to money in the Bible because often times the way we handle our first portion is a good indicator of where our heart is and whether or not it is fully devoted and committed to God. Do you trust Him with your finances or do you hold onto it tightly? You see, if we say whatever is left goes to God then you may find He either won’t get much or there is not enough. However God wants us to live sacrificially, which means we are willing to relinquish what belongs to Him first, even if the numbers don’t seem to add up. It’s in the moments we have to truly put our faith into action and truly trust the one above all, God. It is when we are obedient and offer to Him, what already belong to Him, a portion of our income that we will begin to see blessings overflow. We can stand on this promise in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.”
Get out of debt
Society tells us that we need to have the bigger and better thing, whether it’s a T.V., a fancy new phone, more shoes, or a brand new car. As wonderful as all these things are we can, at times, get in over our head and accumulate more than we can actually afford. However society would tell you to just get another credit card, go on that grand vacation, you can eventually pay it off. The more debt you accumulate the more hopeless it feels to get your head above water. The Bible refers to the borrower as being a slave to the lender (Prov. 22:7), which is quite accurate because usually when a person has outstanding debt all they long for is to have financial freedom. God’s desire is for us to be in a place to live generously, but when debt is apart of your financial status it’s important to take charge and begin snowballing your debt. Start with your smallest debt and gradually working to pay off the bigger debts. Continue making minimum payments on all debt but as you begin paying them off use that money to pay off the next highest debt. During this time it is important to use self-control and not buy anything you can’t afford with cash. Work diligently to get out of debt so you can find freedom in your finances, however having debt doesn’t mean you stop paying tithe, always keep that first.
Manage your money well
Overspending, compulsive buying, and discontentment with what you have are all signs of living a life of materialism. Therefore, instead of using our resources to give us what we want or to fill a void, use it resourcefully and wisely. Meet your family’s needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical bills etc. by budgeting your income, but also use it to buy life insurance, to accumulate an emergency fund, and to pay off any debt. Don’t spend just to spend, ask yourself, “How can we use our resources wisely? How does God want us to use our money?
A generous person is someone who is willing to give of themselves as well as their resources in a way that the recipient will benefit. Generosity can include money, things, time and even encouragement. However when we become consumed with our own needs and wants there is not much room left to give to others. Living generously honors God, 2 Corinthians 9:6b-7 says this, “…the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” The best way we can spend our money is when it is being used to benefit the kingdom of God, whether that is done by giving to the church, missionaries, or by opening your home and sharing a meal together. God knows your heart and when we choose to live generously we are responding to God with open arms and trust. Remember, wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be (Matt. 6:21).
As you set your finances up for success by choosing to honor God with all He gives you, you will not only experience His blessings, but your marriage will be off to a happy and healthy start.