Marriage – Finances
The #2 reason for divorce is money. Couples argue more about finances than any other topic. It doesn’t matter how much money a couple makes, deciding how to spend it and living within your means is a problem for most couples.
Most couples focus on short term goals whereas in generations past, they planned more for the long term. In a divorce, men’s income increases by 30% whereas a woman’s income decreases by 20%. The poverty rate for divorced women is 27%.
Even though both spouses may work, the man feels the responsibility of providing for his family more than the woman does. Men are very vulnerable about this. Wives, never use this as a complaint against him. This is not true only when the man allows or forces, by his inaction, the woman to have to take over the financial responsibility.
Deciding on and budgeting for financial goals;
Each person should come up with short term (6 months-2 years) and long term (3-10 years) goals. Then compare them to each others.
– What do they have in common?
– Where are they different?
– Decide together as a couple on a single set of goals.
Short term goals could include vacations, date nights, family birthdays and holiday spending (like Christmas). Long term goals would include buying a house, getting a car, having children ( yes, they are expensive), big vacations and retirement.
Now, come up with a budget for necessary items, like food, tithing, savings, gas, rent/mortgage, auto loan, home insurance, utilities, etc. Next, compare your income with your expenses. A good general rule is to live off of 70% of your income, tithe 10%, make offerings of 5%, savings of 10% and retirement of 5%. While this may seem hard to do, it will pay off in the long run. 1st Timothy 6:6-10 says “6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Hebrews 13:5 says,” 5 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.”[
A wise Christian financial counselor once said that anyone can get rich. All you have to do is spend less than you make and do it over a long time.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
For budgeting, there are many budget sheets online that you can use. Just google “Christian budget worksheets”.
While you may have to adjust your budget from time to time, being disciplined about your spending habits is the key to accomplishing your goals. Remember to be flexible. We can plan but it is the Lord who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
– How did your family-of-origin handle money?
– How do this affect you?
– Do you and your spouse have a budget for spending your money?
– How do you keep track of your spending?
– How open are you to re-arranging your spending priorities if what you’re doing isn’t working?
– What are your feelings and your spouse’s feelings about credit card debt?
– Do either of you have financial goals? If so, how do they compare to each other’s goals?
– How do you handle disagreements with your spouse over spending priorities?
– How do you communicate to your spouse if you disagree with their spending choices?
– What would help you to save money? Maybe giving yourself a small ‘reward’ when you save so much money. Get creative and discuss ideas.
– How might you both handle unforeseen events that divert you from your original savings goal? These events will happen. Remember we can make plans but it’s the Lord who directs our path (Proverbs 16:9).
Dave Ramsey is a very good money counselor. His “Financial Peace University” is a very popular course. All his programs are at https://www.financialpeace.com/