By Tammy Skipper, Contributing Writer
Few of us were left unchanged by the economics of the last four years. Recession, recovery, unemployment, housing prices…
Does the simple act of reading those words raise your blood pressure a little?
Now let’s add toddlers, dinnertime, teenagers, weight gain, and dirty laundry. Is it really any wonder that money can be one of the most difficult areas for couples to manage together?
We cannot ignore our finances in a Biblical Marriage.
If you and your spouse agree on how to manage your finances, have a complete understanding of your goals, and work well as a team to accomplish those dreams – I am genuinely thrilled for you! Now, kindly stop reading this post to go mentor someone in your life who has not achieved those milestones.
For the rest of us, I’d like to suggest five steps to begin managing your finances together.
2 Chronicles 6:28-30 says, “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemies besiege them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind.”
I cannot stress this enough, pray before you move forward. Pray for a patient spirit, for a graceful heart, and for honesty. Remember, God knows your heart.
Bring it all together.
Luke 16:11 asks, “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?”
Gather up all the statements, checkbooks, and insurance documents to one place. If you are not joint on your accounts, make it so. If you have a debt your spouse does not know about, be completely clear about it. If you are the one receiving this surprising news, commit to being completely involved from this day forward.
Total it up.
This might be painful. List all of your debts. Yes, all of them. Do the same for your assets. What are your cars worth? How much is in savings?
Consider what you have.
Read Matthew 25:14-30 – remember the parable of the master who left his money in the charge of three different servants? 29, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Do you both have life insurance policies? Can you understand the statements on your investments? How much are you paying in interest on your current loans? Does your cash flow well or do all of your bills seem to be due on one day of the month?
Agree on a plan.
Again, see Mathew 25 – God gave us examples of handling the finances He entrusted to our care.
Maybe you can only agree to put all receipts and bills next to the computer this week. This might be the month you agree to a budget (making a plan for how to spend your money before it arrives in your account). This could be the time to schedule an appointment with a financial representative to understand those mutual funds or research life insurance prices. Whether you can agree on a plan for the next 24 hours or the next 24 months, determine what your next steps are before you walk away.
These steps may be harder than anything you’ve faced as a couple. You may experience a wide range of feelings, but they will not change the truth. The truth about your current financial standing or the truth about what God can do through your marriage as you seek His Word for wisdom in managing it. When we manage our resources well, we can meet the needs of those God puts in our lives.
I am not a professional financial counselor and share only what has worked for us to date. Have you taken these steps? What is holding you back or what is your biggest challenge?
Coming on March 1st we will have a FREE eBook on finances and your family! Subscribe to A Biblical Marriage via email to get the eBook as soon as it’s ready!