Money. It’s the number one issue that couples argue about. In 2009 Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University released his study of 2,800 couples which found that couples who disagreed about finance once a week were 30% more likely to get divorced than those who disagreed less frequently. So how can we reduce the tension and build agreement when it comes to money matters?
One over-arching help for couples is to connect with Christ-based organizations like DaveRamsey.com. They help people get out of debt. They help people learn to save and spend responsibly. We strongly recommend that every couple take Financial Peace University. If you are in debt this course will show you the way out. We have friends who paid off $50,000 of debt in four years using these principles. If you’re healthy financially, this will help you be a good steward of your resources. (We’ve taken it three times!) You can find a course near you by clicking here.
Here are the first three foundational principles for money management that will save every couple untold pressure in their marriage. We’ll add to the list next week.
You may have some difficult conversations in coming to agreement on these things. But we believe that as you each seek God and pray over these areas the Spirit will give you unity and anticipation as you move ahead.
1. Source and Ownership
Every dollar you earn is because God has given you the ability to earn it. God told the Israelites, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deut. 18:17-18). Recognizing where our money comes from increases our gratefulness and releases our grip.
As a Christ-follower, everything we have comes from God and is entrusted to us to take care of it. All that we have belongs to Him. We will be accountable to the Lord for how we spend, save, and give those resources.
We personally believe in giving a minimum of 10% of our income back to God. The Bible calls this a tithe (tenth) and in our marriage we have done this for over 32 years. Even when our income was cut by 90% we gave a tenth of what we earned. God has always taken care of us as we have chosen to honor him first.
With the remaining 90%, save at least 10% and live on 80% or less of your income. If this 10/10/80 plan is difficult, then you are out-spending your income.
3. Honesty is the ONLY policy
Make a commitment to be completely transparent with each other financially. Anything that compromises your integrity to total honesty with your finances has to be dealt with. According to Financial expert Chris Hogan, thirteen million Americans hide financial accounts. Hiding expenses, hidden bank accounts, secret savings accounts or investments are all forms of dishonesty and they breed distrust. Your marital foundation will be strengthened when there is a bedrock of trust in money matters.
This next week, talk about these three principles for money management. Where do you two agree? Where do you differ? Do any of these three cause fear or anxiety? Say a prayer together and ask God for wisdom and unity with what he has entrusted to you. Then ask God to help the two of you build your marriage financially.