Marriage—two becoming one. This is God’s design for marriage. The design is first revealed in Genesis, and then in 1 Corinthians, Paul further illustrates the extent of this oneness—our rights over our bodies are lost. In an incredibly vulnerable act, we relinquish our own authority and give ourselves to one another. There is no longer two, but one. There is no “mine,” just “ours.” And we are to pursue oneness in every aspect of our marriage, including our finances. In marriage, it is not “my money” and “my expenditures” but “our money” and “our expenditures.”
You may want to run from budget conversations. Don’t run. When it comes to financial oneness, don’t underestimate the power of a budget. A budget can be great tool to make sure you and your spouse are on the same financial page. And here are some questions you can ask your spouse about the current household budget.
1. Are you happy with our budget? This is a good general question to get the budget conversation going and will likely lead to other questions. But don’t jump in with a response right away or become defensive. You are going after oneness, not a debate. Listen for the areas of excitement. Listen for the pain points.
2. Does our budget reflect your priorities? You have your financial priorities and your spouse will have their priorities. Sometimes, these priorities overlap—you both want to give generously. But there will be priorities that don’t necessarily align—you want to pay down the mortgage, but your spouse wants to save for another car. Again, don’t respond or debate. Just listen. When chasing financial oneness, it’s necessary to know what’s meaningful to your spouse.
3. What adjustments do you recommend? Now, you are asking for their input regarding the financial management. Too often, one spouse takes care of the finances without the other’s input. This scenario is a mistake as it is prime for ongoing tension regarding the household finances. Additionally, should anything happen to the spouse who controls the finances, the surviving spouse can find themselves feeling inadequate to make financial decisions and susceptible to financial manipulation from outsiders.
4. Where we disagree, would you help me think through a compromise? You and your spouse will not see eye-to-eye on everything. You will disagree about budgetary decisions. I know—shocking. When you identify areas of disagreement, remember that your ultimate goal is oneness and pursue compromise. Ask your spouse what a compromise would look like for them. Work toward a decision that showcases oneness.
Pursue oneness in all areas of your marriage, including finances. Leverage your budget to help with that pursuit. Use your budget to help “my money” and “your money” become “our money.”