One of the most common marital speed bumps can be found in the checkbook. You may assume that tension is a natural consequence when money is tight – and it certainly can be. What we don’t realize, even when we’re in the midst of it, is that different money management styles can cause friction in a fiscally secure marriage too.
When Spender Marries Saver
After the church offering is given and the bills are paid, what do you do? Do you transfer some of the money remaining to savings or investments? Or, are you an innate spender? Does having a little left-over mean it’s time to splurge on something you wouldn’t normally indulge in? The real issue isn’t how you answer, actually. It’s how you and your spouse answer. When you have two different approaches, tensions can arise. Take a moment to sit down and talk this one out. Make a plan you can both be happy with in the short and long terms.
Mine. No Ours.
Whether you’re a single-income or dual-income family, take note, whatever money comes into the household is household money. Shift the focus of your fiscal conversations from “mine and yours” to “ours.” When we keep score of who earns what, resentment can rear its ugly head – whether it’s the urge to pull rank on spending decisions or insecurity over how much you contribute to the family bottom line. Remember that family support and contribution is much more than what’s in a paycheck. Don’t keep score.
Hopefully you sat down and talked about short- and long-range plans before you got married. This is a good thing to do several times a year throughout your marriage too. Get on the same page. Are you saving for a home? Should your family budget include line items to save for college and retirement? Do you want to go on a vacation? Are you concerned about how much you’re spending on entertainment vs. squirreling away for a rainy day? Carve time out to discuss the family’s overall budget needs. Pray over it and then commit to a plan you can both live with.
Challenge: Like most anything in a marriage, money can be the elephant in the room that we tend to ignore. Take time this week to discuss your family budget. Work as a team to identify a budget you can both be happy with.