By Shari Miller, Contributing Writer
Marriages are made of stories woven together, both good and bad, that form a foundation that will either stand the test of time, or crumble like the sifting sand. Within some marriages, you may find the following story ringing true.The wife knows she is running late and her husband will be home any minute. She has to get to the house before her husband, so she can hide her most recent purchases in the closet so her husband does not yell at her for the umpteenth time for spending money they did not have. Her heart is heavy; she knows she shouldn’t deceive her husband, but something deep down tells her that this one more purchase won’t hurt anything. She pulls into the driveway and quickly opens up the trunk and grabs her bags. As she reaches up to close the trunk, she sees her husband walking out of the house with a sullen look on his face as he approaches the car.
He reaches for his wife’s hands and says, “Honey this needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. This isn’t what the Lord has designed for our marriage. God wants us to work together as a team, not divided with each of us looking out for our own interests.” The wife hung her head in shame, she knew he was right, she knew she didn’t want this anymore, but rather wanted to be unified with her husband, working together for the betterment of their marriage with God at the center.
Finances can be such a difficult topic within marriages. In order to ease the burden that financial discussions can bring, there needs to be ground rules for how money is handled within a Christian marriage, each one forming a strong layer and bond between the husband and wife in order to create a firm financial foundation.
Laying the Ground Work
1. Get on the same team.
When a man and wife are united in marriage; they need to remember that this puts them on the same team, not opposing teams who are each jockeying for the best position within the relationship. The Lord’s word states, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT)
When a couple decides to come together in unity, each working for the common goal of honoring God, and seeing their relationship succeed and grow, they will flourish in establishing a union that can handle any storm.
2. God needs to be at the center of every marriage.
As with anything in life God needs to be at the center of all that we do. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of finances within marriage. “Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) The husband and wife need to go to the Lord in prayer seeking His guidance for how their finances should be spent. They need to ask tough questions concerning what they want their future goals to be and how this will affect their finances. They also need to seek the Lord’s guidance in the area of tithing, making sure that the Lord is given what’s owed to Him.
If these questions as with many others are ignored, and God is taken out of the equation, it will create a foundation with cracks that will haunt their marriage for years to come.
3. The wife needs to relinquish final control to her husband.
This can be a controversial subject for some wives. Many women in this current day and age may feel that whether they earn part of the money or not, they should have just as much say in how it’s spent. This type of attitude can cause serious discord within a marriage. This is not how God intended marriage to be, God’s word lays out direction for the husband’s role in marriage. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Ephesians 5:23 (NIV)
Again, both husband and wife need to come together seeking God’s will, as well as having the freedom to express their own opinions. However, when the final decisions need to be made the wife needs to allow the husband to lead. She needs to rest easy in her faith in her husband and the Father, trusting that the best decisions will be made.
4. Recognize that God equips each person with distinctive gifts.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well”. Romans 12:16a (NLT) God has granted us each of us with unique gifts that we excel at. In the area of finances, some are better with math, and balancing the budget, while others may prefer to write the checks, mail the bills, and make any needed phone calls.
The point is to not force one person into doing a job that they don’t fill comfortable with. Sit down as a couple and discuss each area that you feel comfortable handling and work together as a team to take on that specific role that’s best suited for each of you.
Whether you’ve been married one year or fifty, it’s never too late to create a firm financial foundation. Leave the mistakes of the past in the past, and bring with you your success stories to build upon. You can start today to create a marriage that’s works together as a team, where each member is working towards a common goal and moving forward in the Lord.
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