Marriage is tough. It takes work. I once heard, “marriage is more about holiness than happiness.” That doesn’t sound very exciting, but having been married almost 8 years now, I can say I believe this to be true. Not that it doesn’t make you happy, but it causes you to look at your relationship with Jesus and your Faith journey.
I don’t normally post about marriage, but a couple of nights ago my husband and I were sitting down with our financial planner (actually our wealth builder) and making some huge investment decisions when I thought about how important finances are in a marriage. I felt such peace in our marriage and our future after this meeting and it reminded me about something we talked about years ago before marriage (and still do).
He told me we needed to be in agreement on three things. If we could discuss these three things before (and now during marriage), it would take so much of the strain off our marriage. Aside from these 3 things, marriage is still work…you’re not going to agree on every decision of your lives together, but if these three things are agreed upon, I can’t see much else breaking apart a marriage.
There are three F’s I believe a man and woman should agree upon before (and after) “becoming one.”
Do you want kids? How many kids do you want? How do you want to train your children? How do you want to discipline them? What morals are you going to instill? These are all things you probably talk about naturally while dating, but if not, these are things you are going to want to discuss before marriage. Imagine getting married and finding out your spouse doesn’t want kids or that they want to teach them different morals. This will definitely cause tension, if not divorce. Discussing those things before you have kids is important. If there is one thing that is going to test you, it’s kids. They’re adorable, but my goodness they’re testy. They’ll pick up on the oneness between you and your spouse.
I believe this is the foundation of any good marriage. God says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” Simply put, do not marry someone who does not share the same faith as you do. This really is a disaster waiting to happen. Do NOT think you can change that person and marry them anyway.
If you’re already married, faith is still extremely important. Faith is how we live our lives. What we live for. There is an answer to any disagreement found in the Bible. God created marriage and so why would we follow guidelines created by our world vs. Him? If someone goes sky-diving, they are most likely going to follow the instructions given to them by the instructor that will ensure a safe, fun, and exciting adventure. In the same way, God lays out some instruction for marriage. God instructs husbands to LOVE their wives as Jesus loved the church…unconditionally. And wives are instructed to RESPECT their husbands. Both are difficult to do, but this is the ideal relationship in a Godly marriage.
Prayer is a huge game changer in a marriage. If there is something you believe your spouse should or shouldn’t be doing and you’ve already addressed this with them (and they still disagree), PRAY. God can change their heart. And it might even be that YOUR heart is the one that needs changing. I know I’ve needed a change of heart many times in our marriage.
Oh, finances. I left this for last because it’s the #1 cause for divorce these days. The.number.one. Our finances are really under control, yet we STILL argue about money. We talked a lot about finances before marriage. Talk about your spending habits, your plans for retirement, your investments, if you’ll stay home with kids, career plans, any previous debt, etc. before you marry (and while you’re married). This one is hard because it’s always changing, but it’s necessary to talk about. Your finances, which should be operated together, is something you should be communicating frequently. You WILL disagree, but talk it out. This is where faith comes into play as well. How do you settle an argument? Go back to the Bible. Read what it says about money. All you have to do is Google “money + Bible” and you’ll be busy for days reading what it has to say. I’m preaching to the choir when I say this. My “money issues” are always resolved after reading Scripture. Here are 10 really good verses on money.
I am definitely the spender in our family and Ryan is the saver. I like that we have both so we’re balanced, but we are constantly having to talk about how to spend our money. One thing that has worked for us is having me manage the budget since I make the most purchases. We come up with the budget together, I document our purchases (he keeps track of his business expenses), we look at it several times a month, and he pays the bills.
Know your strengths. Ryan is extremely knowledgeable about finances and how to save money and he’s not afraid to ask for a a deal (I get hives thinking about bargaining with someone). Therefore, he does the research on deals and investments. He talks with our financial planners. Ultimately, we make big investment decisions together, but it’s after a lot of explanation for me. 🙂 I’m really good at seeing the value in experiences that may cost money or time. I show him the quality of something that may not necessarily have a monetary value to it. For example, memories we can create with our boys that may cost some money (ex. vacation, play set in the backyard, even an ice cream date, etc). Or having him give up basketball games he could ref and make money from, to spend time with friends or family. Even the value of me staying home with our kids while they’re young and giving up half of our income to do so (well really a about a quarter of it if you include daycare).
I’m constantly trying to learn better ways to communicate with Ryan about our life goals, financial goals, marriage, kids, etc. I read recently to schedule a financial date night. I thought it was brilliant. Go out with the purpose of talking about finances. It can help avoid fights. This can be used to talk about any number of topics. Go with questions/topics to discuss. Do you schedule time to talk with your spouse about these things? Do you just wing it? Any creative date nights?
Link Up: Thrify Thursday