Finances. We all know that finances can be one of the most stressful things on a marriage. My thoughts? Then, why not tackle the issue once and for all so that it won’t come in between my marriage. Why not take the steps to a financially happy marriage?
When couples stand before their family and friends pronouncing their vows for “richer or poorer” most don’t realize the weight of the statement. Then, they come home from their honeymoon to a pile of wedding bills, student loans, and car payments totaling more than they make in three years combined. They feel overwhelmed and defeated. The money fights begin. Then, couples muddle through the mess. They do the best they can pay check by pay check, then after a few years, they buy a house and go deeper into debt. Then they add kids. More money owed. More fights. They go deeper and deeper until their marriage can’t take it anymore.
This is such a common picture. But, I want to encourage you, this doesn’t have to be your marriage and money story. I can honestly say that Kevin and I have had zero money fights in our marriage. This has been a huge blessing for us, that I attribute that these 5 steps to a financially happy marriage below, so I wanted to share them with you in hopes that they might help others struggling in this area.
Dream together. It is so fun to talk about your dreams and goals in life. Sit down together over a glass of wine or go on a nice sunset walk. Talk about your dreams. Do you want to move closer to family one day? Maybe start a family in five years? Do you want to build a custom home one day? Do you want to travel abroad? Talk to each other. Find our your dreams and dream BIG, TOGETHER!
Then, set goals to reach your dreams. Dreams should be fun and accomplishing them together is so sweet. However, for this to really work, I feel like you have to honestly evaluate your relationship TOGETHER and communicate clearly. You both need to be on the same page and work at this thing as a partnership. There is something special about working together as a team toward a common goal. Make sure you set specific goals with action steps and a timeline. For tips read: 5 Tips For Setting Goals in Marriage
Set A Budget TOGETHER
After you have established your goals. Set a path to reach your goals through your budget. Don’t let his be a DIRTY six letter word. A budget does NOT have to mean sacrificing all of your wants or a fight. A budget is simply setting out your income and expenses together. You might find out you spend a lot on eating out and decide to only go once a week together. Or, you might find out you are spending too much on shopping and want to limit yourself to a certain dollar amount to meet your goals. The important part is getting it all on paper TOGETHER. This won’t work alone. Remember the end goal is to reach your goal together, a budget is simply a tool to help you get there. We use
Find What Works
Find what works for YOUR marriage and YOUR family. For us, we read Dave Ramsey and went through a class before we were married. We have followed his program for seven years now. I can say it was such a huge blessing for us and helped us craft a path that was right for us to reach our goals. We started with small student debt and a car loan. We now are debt free, paid for two cars in cash, have an emergency fund, invest for retirement, invest for our kids college and our building a custom home.
I share this with you in hopes to encourage you and show how this plan has worked for us with a few modifications (we don’t carry cash because I am awful with cash). Essentially, find what works for YOU. Friends of ours use cash and that works for them. Other friends of ours use a 1/2 dave approach, 1/2 their own. Find what works.
Follow Simply Clarke’s Principles of Finance in Marriage
I can honestly say that after 6 years of marriage, my husband and I have not had any money fights. This is a huge win in society today and for us that I attribute it to these two things: Perspective and Application. If you keep your perspective in line, everything else will fall into place. When you approach your finances with a bad attitude of selfishness or greed, you will get nowhere pretty quick. However, if you approach your finances with a giving and christ-like attitude your perspective on money will change. If we are not careful, finances can be very stressful and put huge strains on our marriage. I do not claim to have it completely figured out, and I know that every marriage is different, but I believe if you focus on these principles, you will keep your focus on what really matters, God.
Again, by no means do I think we have everything in money and marriage figured out. We do the best we can just like everyone else, and how we have set up our finances works for us. I just wanted to share our journey in hopes that it might help someone else struggling in this area. My prayer is that you find a system or way to communicate about money in your marriage that works for you!