My Money, Your Money, or Our Money
Believe it or not, one of the primary causes of divorce is financial problems! Not bad sex, not infidelity, not verbal or physical abuse, but money! When God said in Genesis 2:24, “They shall become one flesh,” He was not just talking about the physical sense. He was talking about the physical, the emotional, and the financial! God created marriage as the highest, most honored, most intimate of all human relationships. As such, the husband-wife relationship takes precedence over all blood-kin ties.
Opposites Should Attract Not Attack
God almost always puts opposite personality types together in a marriage, not to frustrate them, but to allow the strengths of each spouse to balance the weaknesses of the other.
In the New Testament, Jesus draws an interesting parallel between the way people handle money and the way they handle spiritual matters. In fact, the way people handle money very well could be the best outside reflection of their true inner values. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). God uses money in the lives of any couple to draw them closer together. In contrast, Satan wants to drive a wedge between a husband and wife. Why? In the hope that the resultant turmoil will drive the couple away from God and from each other.
Couples, listen to me, stop fighting and blaming one another for your financial problems. Your spouse is not the enemy! Satan is! Whatever you’re going through right now is just spiritual warfare—so you need to fight it with the Word, prayer, and agreement between the two of you.
It’s Ours, Not Mine
In a marriage, there is no “my money” and “your money” or “my debts” and “your debts.” There is only our money and our debts. A couple cannot be one if they separate their lives by separating their finances. You cannot live a single life within a marriage covenant. God will bring a couple closer if, from the very beginning, they establish God’s Word as their financial guide and then follow those principles. No viable marriage can survive a "his or her" relationship for long, because it is totally contrary to God’s plan. Couples should avoid having separate financial anything, including checking accounts, because when they develop a his money/her money philosophy, it usually leads to a him-versus-her mentality. Unwillingness to join all assets and bank accounts after marriage is perhaps a danger signal that unresolved trust issues could still be lingering or developing in the relationship.
Spending and Budgeting Agreement
Budgeting can be difficult, if not impossible, when spouses do not agree on basic money management principles. Therefore, they should make all budgeting decisions together. They also need to agree to hold each other accountable for meeting their financial goals and devise a plan for regular evaluation of how well they are succeeding. The couple should come to an agreement on the amount of money that can be spent without first checking with each other. Stop sneaking new clothes home and hiding them in a closet or under your bed! That’s lying, and it will eventually undermine your marriage! Of course, the specific amount a couple agrees to spend with or without each other’s consent will depend on the budget category and the couple’s particular circumstances.
Who Keeps or Controls the Checkbook?
Practically speaking, only one person should keep the books. However, even though one person primarily handles balancing the checkbook, both should be fully trained and able to do it.
Men hear me out on this... there is nothing wrong with the wife handling the finances in the family if she is the better administrator, but God still holds the husband accountable for the ultimate decisions. When there is an impasse, the wife should yield to her husband and allow the Lord to work it out. Women, I know this is not easy. If you are not in agreement with something your husband wants to do, consider these four things:
- Let him know you disagree with him in a loving way (please don’t nag!)
- Pray about the situation.
- Ask him to get counsel.
- Leave it alone and let God do the rest.
Being responsible as the leader does not mean the husband is a dictator; all couples should discuss and agree on all financial management decisions. Both spouses should be involved in paying the monthly bills paying, saving, spending, and giving decisions. Doing so will keep both fully aware of their financial status.
It Takes Two
Within a marriage relationship, the husband and wife are partners who are dedicated to one another. Just as it takes two to make a marriage successful, it takes two to establish clear lines of communication when it involves money. Don’t allow the lack of money or the abundance of it to drive you to divorce court. Master your money and don’t let it master you.