Getting married and setting up home means establishing a shared lifestyle in every area.
Don’t expect it to just happen; marriage is work. You may say that your marriage is made in Heaven – but so is thunder and lightning!
This lifestyle is totally unique since it demands a level of transparency and unity that is not required in any other relationship. This transparency and unity includes the area of finances.
We live in a generation that would rather give away their bodies than their money! Contractual marriages are hallmarked by separate financial arrangements for each spouse and the drawing up of pre-nuptial agreements before the day of the wedding. But this isn’t compatible with covenant. Covenant is all about openness, honesty and giving the other the advantage.
When you get married, what belongs to one of you belongs to both of you, so it’s going to be vital that you spend time talking about EVERYTHING that will be involved in your shared life.
Don’t be fooled that the love you have for each other will be enough to bring agreement in how you will manage your money. You have to find out where you spouse to be is coming from when you plan your financial future together; and even more importantly, you have to be clear about where YOU are coming from, since you may not even have examined your own financial priorities and preferences.
To help you understand these things, take the four broad categories below as a framework for your thinking and discussion. It will help you!
For these people money means success and the more money they have, the more competent they feel. They may have an overdependence on money for self-esteem and a sense of self-worth and will be tempted to make expensive purchases in order to feel important.
For these people money means love and affection. Relationships are the most important things to them. Lack of money means a loss of ability to express love. Amiables are usually unprepared for the long term and are generally broke because they don’t steward what they have. They easily exchange their money for immediate enjoyment, not realizing that their money is their life.
For these people money means security. The more money they have, the more secure they feel. They are very structured and well planned. They find it hard to respond spontaneously to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give an unplanned offering and can appear cold hearted when they fail to sacrifice their sense of order to meet an unexpected human need.
For these people money means acceptance. It means the ability to purchase admiration and respect from others and to acquire status. These people are tempted to hide their insecurities behind their spending habits and tend to shop to cheer themselves up when depressed!
Getting on the same page as regards your combined earnings, deciding who will be responsible for paying bills and managing the bank accounts, deciding if the woman will stay home with the kids or go out to work and if either of you will pursue college courses and further training opportunities, are just some of the immediate issues that will present themselves in the early years of marriage.
Most importantly of all, make sure that you both agree to put God first financially – tithing and giving offerings to further the kingdom of God. Your decision to honor God from the outset will be the biggest investment you can ever make in your future!