Keys To A Happy Marriage Part 5: Resolving Money Problems
Some experts claim that eight of ten divorces are caused by financial conflict.
People believe a lot things about money. Some think it’s bad. Others worship it. Some are neutral and don’t seem to care much at all about the issue.
But you and I both know that money is very important because it is gives us the ability to feed and clothe our families, pay the rent, afford transportation, and create a comfortable and secure lifestyle.
Money is important. It’s not the most important thing in the world but it is important.
Many people believe that money is the root of all evil. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. It’s the love – the worship – of money that is the root of all evil. This truth applies to people who have money and to those who don’t.
Some people of great wealth wear themselves out amassing much more because they’re afraid of losing what they already have. Others who don’t have money, will do anything to anyone in order to get some money, which is the cause of so much suffering and so many crimes in today’s world.
That being said, you and your spouse need to share the financial responsibilities and decisions about how money is used in your home. These tips should help get you started.
8 Money Tips For A Happy Marriage
1. Learn Your Respective Money Philosophies
How you spend money directly stems form your philosophy about money. The same holds true for your spouse.
It would be healthy for your marriage if you both took the time to familiarize yourselves with your spending style and spending habits to figure out why you do what you do. If you are thrifty but your spouse is a big spender, expect conflict.
Understanding why you both are the way you are with regards to money, will help you to better handle financial issues, deal with money problems productively, and avoid fights.
2. Money: Source Of Validation Or A Financial Tool
It is helpful to learn what money means to you. For many people, money is a pathway to personal validation and increased self-esteem, which isn’t healthy because we are valuable human beings regardless of how much money we have or don’t have.
Other people see money as a financial tool that helps build the kind of life they want for themselves and their families. You might say they have a pragmatic view of money.
If you or your spouse use money for emotional reasons, then taking the initiative to grow in this area so that you have a deeper sense of self-worth and control over your life irrespective of money, will go a long way in resolving financial conflict.
3. Agree on Spending And Saving
If we’ve learned anything in recent years from the Great Recession, it’s that cash is king and debt is bad. This is so important to the happiness of your marriage that you and your spouse must sit down and reach an agreement on how much money you will spend and how much money you will save.
You need to take care of yourselves financially because this is your responsibility. Don’t assume that your money needs and issues will magically take care of themselves because that’s not how life works.
Agree on a plan and then work your plan.
A great book to get you started is Dave Ramsey’s book: Total Money Makeover.
4. Create A Vision For Your Life And Marriage
You are in charge of your life and marriage. This is great news because it means you have the chance to create the kind of life you want. One of the things this will take is money. So you must be intentional about your finances.
To be intentional about your finances, you must first know what is important to you – what are your values? Do you value a lot of time with your family, financial freedom, being able to pay for special memories and experiences that reflect your beliefs, providing for your child’s education, a comfortable retirement, owning a home, being free from debt?
List your values and then prioritize them. Again, Dave Ramsey’s material is a GREAT place to start.
5. Evaluate Your Earning Capabilities
Are you and your spouse doing all that you can to be good stewards of how much you are able to earn?
Are you in the right career?
Are you working in a job that has a future and allows you to increase your earning potential?
Are you being fairly compensated?
Spend some time analyzing your earning capacity and capabilities. You might also discuss whether the time has come to get a new degree so you can have a new and better career. Don’t be afraid to make a switch that will benefit you and your family.
6. Discuss Your Wants And Needs
Needs come first, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for toys – toys make life fun!
Discuss with each other what you need and want. Maybe your spouse has always wanted a motorcycle or to get their pilot’s license.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a trip to Rome or Paris.
Discuss your wants and needs, and then work together in finding ways of having fun and enjoying the finer things in life.
7. Create A Budget
Everyone needs a budget (okay, I won’t mention this again, but you will find some great guidelines in Dave Ramsey’s book: Total Money Makeover).
A budget is a map for getting to where you want to be financially.
Think of a budget as one of your best friends because it will supports your values and accelerate your dreams.
You don’t have to leave your financial future to chance. Shirking your financial responsibilities by leaving things to chance creates financial chaos and not financial peace. Which do you want, stress and chaos or hope and peace?
8. Remember To Give Back
One of the laws of financial success is generosity.
The more you try to keep for yourself, the less you will have. When discussing money, decide on what percentage you will give back to make the world a better place.
The guideline we find in the Bible is 10%. I know many couples who give 20% because they believe that they can’t out-give God; his blessings are abundant. He even invites us to test Him on this matter.
Don’t be afraid to give. If you are reluctant, then you cannot afford to not give.
Don’t allow money to be a source of chronic conflict in your marriage. Never allow it to ruin your relationship. And don’t let it be the barometer of your happiness.
Just be honest with your spouse, respect each other, and decide today to become business partners so you can build the kind of life and marriage that you want and deserve.