3 financial principles to have and to hold for as long as you both shall live.
BY GREG LOVE
You’ve heard them, likely performed them (and maybe even said them) before — the refrain of traditional wedding vows from one beloved to another as a promise to uphold their commitment “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health and — for richer, for poorer.”
The kiss is celebrated, the cake is cut, the wedding bells ring — and then life happens.
And life costs money.
Between college loans, financial emergencies and sometimes even unspoken expectations, money often serves as the primary kindling for conflict in marriage. As husband and wife, we are faced with the weight of our vow to one another “for richer, for poorer.”
So how can we cultivate harmony where the financial conversation and Christian marriage meet?
Although the Bible doesn’t speak specifically on money in a marriage, Ephesians 5:22–33 does tell us how husbands and wives should honor one another in all aspects of their lives together — and that certainly extends to finances.
So, whether you’re engaged or have been married for decades, it’s important that you put these three financial principles at the center of your relationship as early as possible so you can get — and stay — on the same financial page:
- Remember that it all belongs to God anyway. (Matt. 25:14–30)
- Regularly pray and seek godly wisdom as you make financial decisions. (James 1:5)
- Prudently discuss and embark on financial ventures together. (Luke 14:28)
But let’s also be real —most people don’t like to talk about money. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially at first.
If you’re having trouble starting the money conversation with your spouse, here are some helpful questions to start the discussion:
- How do we plan to make space for increased charitable giving beyond our tithe?
- What are our typical spending habits?
- How long do we plan to live in this apartment/house?
- How often should we go out to eat versus cook at home?
- When we need to buy another vehicle, will we lease or buy? New or used? How do we feel about car payments?
- What debt do we currently have? How should we prioritize paying it down?
- How much are we currently saving for retirement? What is our strategy to increase this amount over the years?
How long do we plan to work? How will we transition to what God may be leading us to in the future?
Being honest and open with your spouse is the first step to any healthy relationship. If you’re having these candid conversations regularly, you will be more united as you make decisions and safeguard against financial troubles or debt that may create strain on your relationship.
Once you’ve established a common ground, it’s time to either create a shared budget or re-evaluate your current one. GuideStone® provides resources to help with that, including our:
This will help you determine where your money is going each month.
This will help you see how much your budget reductions may be worth if you were to invest them.
This provides a projected retirement balance based on your current saving habits.
This will help you see the financial impact to your household of adding or removing a spouse’s income.
Implementing an action plan and starting good financial habits now may be difficult in the short term, but once you’ve ironed out the finer details, you can set financial goals for your family’s future.
Engage in the financial conversations now and continue them — for as long as you both shall live.
GuideStone is a leading provider of employee benefits for SBC churches, ministries, organizations and institutions. Visit GuideStone.org to learn more about how they can help you with retirement, insurance, investments and more.
Greg Love joined GuideStone in 2012 and serves as Director for Retirement Solutions, specializing in church retirement plan design and employee education. He holds degrees from both The University of West Alabama and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University. Greg also holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ professional designation.
Greg is passionate about helping local churches thrive, make disciples and impact the globe for Christ. He and his wife, Jaime, have been married since 2001 and enjoy raising their two children — John Parker and Georgia Grace.