Money has been listed as one of the top triggers of conflict in marriage. Today, we will be sharing some money lessons that will help you handle money in a way that benefits your marriage.
First, we will like to state upfront that in all scenarios, two is always better than one, the Bible says that ‘if one can chase a hundred, two can chase a thousand’. This scripture rings so true when it comes to money. You can do more and go further with less time and effort when two of you pay attention to the family finances from conception, to planning to implementation. If you are both in it together, it helps for better stewardship and accountability. It doesn’t matter if it is a dual-income household or single income, you can both align on how to spend, save and grow the family’s finances.
A few conditions must be in place for Money to work well in your marriage.
1. The right mindset – You need to be on the same page on what money is, what it is meant for and its place in your home. Money is simply a means of exchange. The love of it is the root of evil, so remind yourselves that money is a tool that we use. Money is not meant to use us. Money is a means to an end, not an end. All money we receive is meant to be saved, spent and shared (3s of Money). So team up and commit to growing your family’s finances together.
2. It’s a ‘We or Our thing’ not ‘my thing’ – I find it interested that most couples see themselves as one in most areas but become so singular when it comes to money simply because they cannot deal. I will like to draw an analogy here, if the Bible says your body belongs to the other person and you should not defraud yourself, I wonder why money should not submit to this same principle of yours is mine and mine is yours. The idea that the man’s money is our money and the woman’s money is her money has no basis in Scripture. Remember what God has joined together, let no man put asunder and, in this case, I will add let nothing put asunder because it looks like ‘things’ are even gaining more asunder grounds than man. When you make money a ‘We’ thing, there is variety, you have more at your disposal, and you can achieve more in less time.
3. Let your money submit to your marriage – The idea of submitting seems an easier pill to swallow when he is smart, knows what he wants, makes all the money, and shares it freely. It gets trickier when one or more of these descriptions are missing. Take money, for example, submission becomes trickier when you make some of it, more of it or all of it and then someone tells you that you must submit it to him. You may pause and wonder at ‘making all the money’, just like life, marriage can be unpredictable and those seasons come in different forms for different couples. That is why we cannot overemphasize the importance of getting it right from the start. I have heard people say a woman needs to submit her money to her husband; the image in my head of a woman handing an envelope full of cash or a huge cheque to her husband and the husband saying good wife and counting a few pieces and handing it back makes this piece of advice a tough pill to swallow even to the most submissive of women. Our budget has helped us create an imaginary money dump from which all other spend categories are fed automatically. With a central dump in place, financial submission happened, we both submitted to one another each time we honoured our commitment to our budget. We do not pay attention to who has the upper hand financial because it doesn’t matter as long as all categories are catered for and everyone is adding value to the marriage in the best way they can.
4. Can I trust you? – Most people will only feel comfortable if they are sure that our money is spent on us only and the people and things that we both agree to support. Which means infidelity is a showstopper for ‘our money’. No one wants their hard-earned money given to blood-sucking demons, gold diggers, side flings, pornography, toys, or whatever name you want to call ‘the other things’ that compete for your money’s attention. For money to work well and to limit money wahala (troubles), keep the marriage as God intended – and the two shall be one
5. Play to your strengths – Let the saver lead and the spender submit to the authority of the saver on money issues. Your marriage will always win if you take advantage of individual strengths in each area and practise situational leadership. There is no doubt who the Head of the home is but we all know our strengths and if we are wise enough to put our best foot forward in our business dealings, marriage is not any different. In each area, let the person with the highest level of competence, knowledge, and skill, take the lead. We repeat it for emphasis – Let the person that is money savvy lead in money matters.
6. Have a money plan – When you have a money plan, you leave little room for argument as all money is planned for and even extras have their pre-defined place. You agree upfront on all spend categories and also leave room for yourselves. A budget is the structure that your money needs, keep it simple, straightforward and automated and sit down occasionally to review your progress as a family.
7. Be cautious of the seasons of life and respect each other’s lot – Life can be funny, with changing times and seasons. Who has a job or who gets paid more are all variables that can change overnight, so don’t dwell too much on who has a job, a better job, or who is paid more or less? Instead, focus on treating each other with respect, putting in the required effort to add value to the family and seeking out ways to collectively grow the family fortune. We have experienced all seasons in our marriage and have no clue what the future will present but, in all seasons, we stuck to the principles that we have shared here and used our budget to keep money decisions straightforward.
Whatever way you choose to manage your finance, we encourage you to work at it together. In the end, always ensure that your family wins!
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