Every June and July, Ces and I go through some heavy expenses— insurances, property taxes, tuition, etc. When these times come, we plan a schedule to pay them. The conversation gets heated as all good conflict should be. Sometimes, our helpers and kids think we’re in a fight, but we’re really just “passionately discussing” our game plan.
Mind you, it wasn’t always like this— just to be clear. We started with very little financially, so we’ve learned to be strategic, but also to handle financial obligations as a team. We’ve talked to couples in the past who preferred not to talk about money with their spouse. But because they swept the issues under the rug all the time, when they did surface, it was always messy. Trust would get broken, wrong words said, and it cost a lot.
Because they swept the issues under the rug all the time, when they did surface, it was always messy. Trust would get broken, wrong words said, and it cost a lot.
We’re far from perfect, but we’ve learned a thing or two about how to handle finances in marriage. Here are some practices that will help you handle money better as a couple.
1. Create parameters for conflict
Having ground rules when engaging in conflict is important. Avoid words that will offend the other and try not to make it an emotional conversation. It’s money. Look at it as objectively as you can. Layout your goals and decide how you will make decisions based on your priorities.
2. Attack the issue not the person
Sometimes, money issues will arise. You won’t have enough to pay off certain bills right away. You’ll have to cut corners and make sacrifices. Just remember that when you tackle issues together, you’re on the same team. Never throw blame or attack your spouse. The only way you’ll get through the financially rough seasons is if you do it as a team.
3. Decide what’s important and urgent
You’ve heard me talk about how I manage my time according to what’s urgent and important. It’s the same with finances too. Pay for the urgent and important ones first. Then the important and non-urgent ones can get pushed back to a later date.
4. Affirm one another
Talking about money can be stressful, and when the stress builds, the chances of misunderstandings will arise. That’s why it’s important to counter this by affirming one another. Say things like “I’m so glad we’re doing this together,” or “Wow, I think our finances are really improving with your stewardship.” I found I had to do this a lot with Ces when I turned over managing money even if I’m not naturally great at affirming. It’s paid off.
5. Uphold an attitude of faith
Money won’t always be easy to get at times, I understand. We’ve been there and still do, believe me. But we have to remember who is our source and provider. At the end of the day, couples are only stewards of what God has done. We need to remind each other where our help comes from. Keep your eyes on the Lord together. He will come through!
We need to remind each other where our help comes from. Keep your eyes on the Lord together. He will come through!