The Privileged Life: Practical Tips for Marriage that Lasts (Part 2)

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:23)

My grandfather always said, “Money talks…it says good-bye.” So true!

Dollar, pound, Euro, peso, rupee, yen, yuan, franc…whatever you call it, money is a big part of marriage. It can make or break a relationship, so handle it wisely. 

Conflicts arise when one partner is a “saver” and one is a “spender.” Your mission is to find a balance between the two, neither hoarding nor being shopaholics. 

The real question, however, isn’t how to spend or save money—it’s about how to “build your home,” for your family and future security.

How? It starts by “counting” everything.

Jesus talked about counting the cost of taking up His cross: For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” (Luke 14:28-30)

The same holds true for your money. Here are some practical tips for making it count:

  • Give to the Lord first. Maintain your tithe to His church, even when money is scarce. Everything you have is from Him and ultimately belongs to Him. God will provide for your needs if you honor Him with all of your resources.
  • Learn to enjoy living on a budget. Make it a challenge—how far can you stretch a dollar? Get excited about it! Take a Dave Ramsey course, and get on the same page with your spouse. Your goal is to be debt-free, with savings in the bank. If these are lean times for you, look for ways to earn more cash and/or cut back on unnecessary spending. In our early years together, I did free-lance work so I could stay home with our new baby. We cooked all meals at home, drove ancient cars, and abstained from vacation trips except to stay with family. We stayed within our limited budget, and it brought peace to our marriage.
  • Set up “separate-but-joint” checking accounts. My husband and I have individual checking accounts, with both of our names on each account. These are not private…not my money or your money but our money, managed separately. Each of us is responsible for different expenses. Make your major spending decisions together, and leave the remainder for each partner’s minor spending choices—entertainment or sports, gifts for a friend, restaurant lunches, etc.—without resentment. This gives each of you freedom with an “allowance,” as long as bills are paid and savings are built. (Dave Ramsey’s envelopes can operate the same way.)
  • Set up automatic deposits and payments. Always pay the full amount due for bills, never with a leftover balance or late-payment fees.
  • Get a checkbook app. I love Checkbook Pro, but there are lots of apps out there. The key is to watch the running balance: use credit cards the same as debit cards, showing money “gone” long before you get the credit card bill. Like checking accounts, get separate-but-joint credit cards, especially those with rewards. Each spouse should have a credit history.
  • Talk about money/timing together. Go over your calendar together to plan timing for big expenses. Establish expectations, and exercise restraint. Last year’s big expense for us was plumbing; this year’s will be heating/air repairs. We’ll wait till next year for paint and flooring. Cars? Keep them at least 8-10 years, and plan ahead for costly regular maintenance…still cheaper than buying new cars. Buy your home, and pay it off as quickly as possible. 

Money is ephemeral…a vapor that vanishes quickly. Like the gift of time, we get finite amounts of money—to be managed wisely for profit and pleasure. Even people who make loads of money can wind up poor if they spend it all. 

It’s a spiritual issue as well. Money can become an idol that has damaged many marriages. It is neither to be worshipped nor to become an obsession. Your goals are financial freedom, a strong home, and marital harmony…with Jesus Christ at the center.

If you’re having battles over money, you need to understand your partner’s emotional expectations, and you need to communicate your own needs. Get counseling—from a family counselor and/or financial advisor—if your marriage is suffering from conflicts. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

When money is held with the right mindset, financial freedom will help you build your home with peace, respect, and enjoyment. It’s a true privilege to have a marriage that is “rich in love,” no matter how much money you make!

Lord God, Creator of marriage and all material wealth, we come to you with open hearts—recognizing that all we have comes from You. Keep us from clinging tightly to money or from reckless spending. Show us how to honor You and our spouses in all that we do with our resources. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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