Saturday, May 19, 2012
Healthy Finances and Healthy Marriages Go Together
Posted by Jerry Dugan
All you need is love, right? If you didn't have physical needs like food, shelter, and clothing, then yes, I would say all you need is love. Money is unfortunately the #1 reason why married couples fight and argue. Nothing can drive a deep wedge into a marriage relationship than money issues. Not having enough of it, mismanaging what you do have, or getting slammed with a catastrophic hit like a trip to the emergency room can add stress.
What does a couple do when they are faced with these moments is crucial? The behavior patterns that a couple exercises will determine their relationship health overall. Do they work together to find a solution, or does a blame game commence with one person taking total control of the finances or equally worse both sides never work out any real changes and continue to selfishly spend themselves into oblivion. In one case, you have an abusive shift in the power dynamic of the relationship, in the other you have a complete avoidance of really getting to the heart of the issue.
If you're married, you will be faced with conflict, even over money at some point. I recommend that you learn about having healthy financial knowledge and practices. Olivia and I invested the time to attend a Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey where we applied learned rules to marriage and money such as we don't make purchases larger than $300 without agreeing on it together first (our rule is closer to $60-$100) and having an emergency fund that is untouchable except for real emergencies.
There are even small group bible studies available on this subject such as FamilyLife's Homebuilder lesson titled "Mastering Money in Your Marriage". I do recommend that you invest time IN your marriage by attending a Weekend to Remember.
I think you need to invest time in mastering your finances before you need to learning how to master your finances. In my friend's situation, he is caught up in a cycle that will be hard to break. They are so mired in debt that he has to work two jobs, but this is time that he needs to spend with his wife to stay on the same page in their finances and in their family and marriage in general. He's gone all the time, so how can he communicate with her in the short time they have together? How can he show his love for her when he's sleeping in his car in the driveway because he's too tired to get into the house? I don't want this to become you, so take the time to learn to master your money in your marriage before it masters you.