Tithing In Marriage

Written by LeRoy & Gina Lee, Contributing Writers

When Gina and I were first married I paid all the bills. This was stressful and hard for Gina. We didn’t have a lot of money and she couldn’t understand why things were so difficult each month. Before long the strife that bill paying created was a bit much and I resigned to let her manage our finances. Finances are hard and the stress of taking care of them, especially on a shoestring budget, really began to take a toll on Gina. Before long I was back in charge of the checkbook and, in search of peace, Gina just turned a blind eye to where the money was going. We eventually started making a bit more money and went our separate ways financially. I covered the basic bills and what Gina was making just went into her account. And thus we lived in peace.

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

 

It would be several years before we would even discuss money. I think we could have left it there. I think a lot of couples leave it there. I mean the bills were taken care of. But that wasn’t enough for God. We both began to realize that we had learned to work together in so many other places in our relationship that we couldn’t just ignore our finances. And that is what the Lord was telling us both. There was blessing to be had! There was a promised land for us, if we were willing to cross the river to get to it. We needed to work through this, and we knew it was going to be tough. There are a handful of things that helped us in this process. I am only going to focus on one, the big one, tithing.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT

 

When Joshua led the Israelites to cross the Jordan River near Jericho, the Ark led the way into the water symbolizing God going before them. Then they were instructed to take one stone per tribe from the riverbed and construct an altar to the Lord.

There are three stones that we lifted as we crossed our river, and used them to build an altar.

Stone #1: We serve God, not money.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13 NLT. Tithing allows us to demonstrate we serve God before doing anything else with our money.

Stone #2: Tithe comes out first.

We have bills, a mortgage, some credit card debt. We have goals to get out from under a lot of that, but for the time being most of our money is spoken for. “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NLT. That first tithe (or tenth) that comes out before anything else is our only chance to establish God as our master and lord of our money.

Stone #3: We can stop and be reconciled for our financial sins.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matt 5:23-24 NLT. As we tithe, we are able to stop, and wherever our spending was previously, forgive each other, make a new plan and move forward.

Here is the immediate impact these had on our struggle to ‘be married’ in our finances. A lot of friction we encountered as we discussed money was because we would take the things said about the budget personally. We both have failings in our spending and are ashamed. Starting with a tithe-centered discussion on how to manage HIS money moves ‘us’ to a lesser role (where we belong).

Working with your spouse on finances will be difficult – it makes your own weaknesses in this area open to your spouse. It means being vulnerable. View finances as a way to work on your relationship, and for us, that began with tithing.

How do the finances work in your marriage? Do you find it a struggle to work together with your finances? Is tithing a struggle for you?

Comments

  1. anonymousMe says:

    I have been learning to tithe for a while, but am still getting tripped up now and then. It’s tough to be consistent at first, but as I continue to put my faith in the Lord, it becomes easier. Finances has been one of the biggest issues in my marriage, and even still my wife and I don’t work on them together, even after 17 years of marriage.

  2. We took the Dave Ramsey course together which really changed our perspective on money and tithing. However, he says that the first 10% should go to church only. I also like to give towards other things such as sponsoring a child or giving to our food bank. We use part of that 10% for these things. Is that wrong to do? I figured these things were still giving back to God…

  3. I agree that those are great things to give to! And I don’t think from scripture you will find the “right” answer for this. However I think supporting the local church is vitally important and tithing in the Old Testament was always to the church and any other giving to the poor or anything was above that 10%. The local church should be instrumental in other ministries and helping your local community so your money there should be helping out as well. Also, 10% is a great guideline {and what is practiced in the Old Testament} but I don’t believe you have to give 10%. If you are in a season where you can only give 5, then give 5 with a cheery heart. And maybe try and work up to more. Already giving 10%? Don’t stop there! Keep working up as the Lord leads you. 10% giving is not commanded in the New Testament however giving with a cheery and thankful heart is. Give according to what God has led you too. But 10% is a helpful guideline to many!

  4. Mrs. Taylor says:

    My husband and I did a Dave Ramsey class and I wondered the same thing. We are living on his salary and the 10% from his goes to our local church. My salary is paying off debt and going into savings and the 10% from it supports a friend of mine who is a missionary. I don’t know if compromise is the correct word but it works for us. I love knowing that I can help a friend spread the word in Thailand and that our local church is supported too!

  5. I have always been a firm believer in tithing. I have been giving my 10% since the age of 16 and I fully understand the spiritual blessing and materialistic blessing linked to this command. I got married three years ago and I continued to tithe but at that time my husband was unemployed. As soon as he was employed I ran our household expenses with our combined income. I thanked God for his new employment and also told God that our finances are ran from a joint account and that we would be faithfully tithing jointly from that account. So when my husband gets paid, I offer to the church my 10% part and his 10% part from his pay! then when my salary takes care of all our living expenses. Is this approach incorrect? Do I specifically need to tithe from my pay even if we are running a joint account?

  6. Should my husband and I tithe 10% separately from each of our own income/paychecks or together with our combined income?

  7. I am BEYOND thankful someone taught me about tithing. I’ve always just had the attitude of “If the Bible says it, then I’ll do it!”
    I learned it at a young age, now I’m 30 married, and have a brand new daughter.
    We recently “retired” my wife from her teaching job so she could stay at home with the baby (which has been her heart’s desire) and in two days I’m “retiring” from my day job, to work full time on my business – which I am so excited about! Our finances are strong even though on paper, it may not make complete sense…But that’s what tithing does!
    God promises that when we tithe (I mean commit to it – go all in) then He opens the windows of Heaven and pours out blessing so great we won’t have room to receive it all! He then goes on to say that He will rebuke the devourer for our sake (protect our money) and the in the NLT He says our crops will be abundant.
    I get excited about this topic because tithing has changed my life and got me to this amazing season of life that I’m in now!
    Our church has a method of texting in your tithes and offerings so as soon as my paycheck hits the account – Boom – tithe. And when my wife worked, we did the same thing. We tithed off each check as it came in. Gross total of course ;)