Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
It’s that time of year. The Thanksgiving dishes hardly get put away, and it is time for you to start Christmas shopping. It seems like every year. Stores are moving up the date with the “must-have” sales. Even Amazon got in on the frenzy this year and offered multiple Prime sales. We have a joke in our family when my husband asks why the Target bill was so high. I like to respond, “It’s for the family!”
All joking aside, one of the top reasons couples divorce is finances. It is an area that can cause friction in a marriage. It is essential to have healthy discussions around finances ahead of time, so you both know what to expect from each other.
- Understand that you have different spending personalities – Some relationships have a spender and a saver. If one spouse loves pinching pennies and the other loves to shop online, freely clicking away, there will come a time when you may clash around spending. How you were raised around money will play a role in how you view your finances as a couple. However, it doesn’t mean that if you were raised a certain way, that always has to be your spending personality. Spenders can become savers and vice versa.
- Don’t avoid conversations about money – It can be easy to avoid talking about money with your spouse in the hopes of avoiding an argument. It’s vital to be proactive about your finances. Find a good time when you can discuss finances. Then, come to the table with a heart that isn’t looking for a disagreement but a heart that is trying to find a way to accomplish the goals you and your spouse have as a couple. Here are some areas to make sure you discuss:
- How much do you want to tithe?
- Decide on spending money for the family.
- How much will you spend on eating out each month?
- Come up with a dollar amount for a spending cap. If one of you wants to make a large purchase, when do you need to consult your spouse?
- How much do you want to invest?
- Don’t lie about your spending – Being deceitful about purchases may not sound like a big deal but lying to your spouse about your spending is setting your marriage up for failure. Make it a point never to hide purchases. That means not storing bags in the car until you can safely bring them in the house, not applying for credit cards your spouse doesn’t know about, and no stashing cash that you can use for your own purposes. If you are having healthy conversations about money, then as a couple, you can come to decisions about spending so nobody feels like they need to be deceitful about spending.
- Get help with addiction issues – If you or your spouse are struggling with gambling, spending excess amounts of money on alcohol, or even a shopping addiction, get help. It won’t get better until you admit the issue and devise a plan to overcome the addiction.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; Proverbs 3:9
Money can cause a lot of problems, but it can also be used to do good in the world. As a couple, you have the opportunity to give generously and see God do many wonderful things because of your generosity.
Your spouse is your partner, not your enemy. Discussions around money can be sensitive. Be aware of how you treat your spouse during the discussion and don’t forget that you have the same goals.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18