Believe it or not, marriage and money don’t always seem to mix well. Couples that have been married for a few years sometimes find themselves arguing heatedly over finances.
“Why did you buy that?”
“Why can’t you be more flexible?”
“We need to care about our future.”
“We need to enjoy the present.”
For some, the arguments seemingly never stop, and both parties eventually find themselves asking, “How did we get here?”
1. Not pursuing oneness in their finances. The Bible teaches us that we are pursue oneness in all areas of our marriage, including finances. In marriage, her money is his money, and his money is her money. It is no longer, “mine” and “yours.” It is “ours,” income, expenses, and all. So where money often divides a marriage, newlyweds should intentionally seek to make finances a point of unity.
2. Not learning their spouse’s money personality. You grew up with little. She grew up with much. We all have past experiences with money (our money story). The combination of our money story and our own, natural personality creates our money personality. In The Marriage Challenge, I identified four money personalities—Spender, Saver, Investor, and Ignorer. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Learning your spouse’s money personality can help you understand the reasoning behind their view on money and create empathy instead of animosity toward one another.
3. Not setting money goals. If you choose to make finances a point of unity, you must agree on where you are going. What are your money goals? Do you want to increase your generosity? How much should you save? Setting your money goals together can be fun and provides a guide for current and future money decisions.
4. Not creating a budget. How are you going to achieve your money goals? You need a plan. And that’s exactly what a budget is. A budget details how you plan to achieve your goals. As newlyweds, now is the perfect time to start one.
5. Not determining money responsibilities. Who does what? If neither claims responsibility to pay the bills, keep track of the budget, or take care of the taxes, you will end it up in a financial and relational mess. The money in your bank account will decrease and the tension in your young marriage will rise. So take some time and figure out who is tasked with different money responsibilities.
6. Not communicating about money. Many arguments arise due to a lack of communication. This will be true in all areas of your marriage, including money. Talk about purchases. If it looks like you are going to spend more on a particular item, let your spouse know. Keeping each other in the loop reduces unwanted surprises and arguments.
7. Hiding money, purchases, or debt from their spouse. Be transparent. The fallout from hiding money, purchases, or debt from your spouse can be significant. If you haven’t allowed your spouse to see all of your accounts, do it now. The longer you keep these things in the dark, the more significant the outcome will be. From the start of your marriage, be truthful, even when it’s painful to do so.
God has designed your marriage for oneness. So pursue oneness in all areas of the relationship, including finances.