On July 26, 2014, Kristen and I said, I do. I’ve learned a lot of things in these first 5 years of marriage: my breath could peel paint in the morning, not everyone has the same definition of how to clean, and that there is more than one way to pronounce the word stroganoff. I’ve also learned a few things about finances too. Let me share five of those lessons that I’ve started to learn in these first 5 years of marriage.
Lesson 1: Be on the same page with your spouse.
A foundational lesson I’ve learned is to be on the same financial page with your spouse. The first married couple were described to be one flesh (Gen. 2:24). This means that a married couple should be holistically together. There can be no secret financial decisions. That’s why Kristen and I have joint accounts and work on our finances together every month. Being one in your finances in marriage allows you to use money to be a catalyst for your relationship, not a conflict.
Lesson 2: Have a financial team, not a lone guru.
When we first started learning about finances we always went to one source. The problem was that one source was laser focused on a handful of topics. We needed answers on different areas of finances too. You need to research different sources, Christian and secular on financial wisdom. That way, when you are making big financial decisions, you can rest well that you are making a wise decision. Some of the sources that I’ve found most helpful are Clark Howard, Art Rainer, Dave Ramsey, NerdWallet, and Crown Financial. Have a financial team, not a lone guru!
Lesson 3: Let others speak into your finances.
Kristen and I have only been married 5 years so we certainly don’t have everything figured out. That’s why we let others speak into our finances. Now don’t hear me wrong, I’m not going to give you my bank account information. But, for some reason, finances are a topic that most people will never mention to others. If we really believe that wisdom comes from a team then that means we can’t let our finances be a secret. Let a few trusted sources who are further along than you speak into your finances.
Lesson 4: Let Jesus rule your finances so they won’t rule you.
The love of money certainly will lead you away from Jesus (1 Tim. 6:10), especially in subtle ways. Thankfully Jesus and the rest of the Bible has a lot to say about finances. As we repent of our explicit and subtle love of money and believe that Jesus’ way truly is better for our finances we will grow to be more like him. Build a budget that honors Jesus. Don’t let your money rule you. Let Jesus rule your finances.
Lesson 5: Use your finances to advance the gospel.
Jesus was all about the gospel and told us, his disciples, to go and make disciples of the gospel. That means that my financial decisions have to be centered on and driven by the gospel. That requires wisdom to say no to many things so I can say yes to the right things. That means viewing all money, not just a tithe, as God’s money to be used for his kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Use your finances as a tool to advance the gospel.
As more anniversaries come I pray that I can say that I’ve learned more about finances with Kristen. The hard part is then applying these lessons consistently. But as we trip up and learn more together, we will better honor Jesus.
Daniel Tripp is the Executive Pastor at Redeemer Church in Rocky Mount, NC.