A lot of you are new around here, so I’ve been spending the past few Saturdays recapping some of my favorite content written since Humorous Homemaking was born in May 2010. One of the ways I’m determining which content is best to share with you anew, I consider the most frequently asked questions I get via email, Facebook, etc. By far, the most common set of questions falls under the heading of relationships and money or marriage and money.
I get TONS of questions on how to get husbands and wives to agree on money. Why? Because I firmly believe when you said “I do” you made a commitment for life. Unfortunately, the reason that commitment is most commonly broken is due to money problems. When I started providing financial counsel, I quickly learned I often provided a lot of marriage counseling too.
We are selfish creatures at heart. To paraphrase the terrible commercial, we want what we want and we want it now. That’s hard enough when you’re single, but when you add another selfish being into the mix, you can have a mess on your hands. Fortunately, there is hope. Stacy and I have been married for over 11 years now without murdering one another. If we can do it, you can do it.
So what are the keys I’ve learned that every husband and wife need to know as related to money? In this article, I’ll give you a quick summary of my top 5. If you to dig deeper, you’ll find a lot more details in the other articles I’ve written and linked below. I also dedicated an entire chapter to relationships and money in my book, From Debtor to Better. For $5 you can pick up a digital copy or you can get it in paperback on Amazon.
- It is no longer his and hers, it is OURS – Go back and read your wedding vows. I’ll wait. Okay, now that you’ve looked at those (maybe for the first time since repeating them), you probably noticed that you pretty much signed away your rights to make it all about you. You agreed that it wasn’t just about your wants and needs anymore. Even though money isn’t always explicitly mentioned in wedding vows, you can’t have “his money” and “her money” if you expect to win financially. I know people who swear they can do it, but I also know dozens who no longer wear a wedding band because of that mindset.
- It won’t work if you don’t agree – Marriage is not a competition. Your goal is not always to be right or to prove your spouse wrong. If you can’t agree about money, that tells me two things: 1) you’re budget isn’t working and 2) you are selfish. If you’ve given up on doing your finances as a couple, quit your whining and love your spouse enough to try again. And keep trying until you get it. *and may the hate comments ensue*
- Somebody has to be in charge, but both of you have to be involved – Sorry folks, no cop-outs allowed. This is similar to #2 above, but let’s be realistic. Some of you LOVE balancing the checkbook while others would rather listen to Elton John sing “Tiny Dancer” for the next 47 years…without stopping. I get it. One of you has to be in charge of the finances, but both of you have to be involved and agree on the final outcome. Otherwise, when something goes wrong, fingers of blame get pointed…a recipe for disaster. Make good choices together and celebrate; make bad choices together and learn.
- Cut yourself some slack – I hesitate to put this in here, only because those looking for an excuse to misbehave may use this wrongly. What I mean is this: you are going to make mistakes. You are going to make poor choices. You are going to have a fight or two about money. You are going to have an expensive emergency that will throw you for a loop. It’s all going to happen, so when it does, GO WITH THE FLOW. While money is a very serious topic, treat it sort of like you have to treat airline travel. You make plans and hope it all turns out. If it doesn’t, your attitude often determines whether the trip was worth doing again.
- God is in charge, so act accordingly – This is a two-edged sword. God is in charge, so you can put an awful lot in His hands to keep it safe. That’s the great news. The tough part is that you cannot expect Him to do it all for you. Should we refer to the parable of the talents? You are expected to get off your butt and work to accomplish what God leads you to do as a family. Don’t play the “God card” with your finances as your excuse to do nothing with your finances. Do what His Word says: tithe, save and invest, give generously, etc.
Well, there you have it. Now if you want to dig a lot deeper, check out the articles below or buy my book.