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Money in the First Years of Marriage

Money is a vital subject for newly married couples to carefully think through together.

Aug 13, 2020

Have you heard? The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. I believe it.

Money is a vital subject for newly married couples to carefully think through together.

The Apostle Paul says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10

An application of the last part of that passage for your marriage could read like this:

“But those husbands and wives who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge couples into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that spouses have wandered away from their marriage, family, and God, and pierced themselves and others with many pangs.”

Many marriages have been ripped apart over riches. Many newly married couples don’t know how to handle their finances in a way that honors God. I don’t want you to be one of them. I don’t want you to be caught off guard.

The most important thing I can tell you is that money isn’t the problem. We are the problem.

Money isn’t the issue, our hearts are. We all have greedy tendencies. The verse above that speaks to the love of money is for every couple in every tax bracket. Every married couple has a heart that can cling to money more than Christ. It is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. You can be greedy with $10,000 or $10.00.

You might love to spend money to get stuff. Your love for money might manifest itself in a pile of possessions or a catalogue of experiences. Or your love might look like a higher number in your 401k. You love to keep money in the bank for security. Whether you save it, spend it, or invest it, you can still be infected with idolatry.

Jesus said that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). We cannot serve two masters. We will either love king Jesus and hate the master money or we will love the master money and hate king Jesus. You must decide who you will serve.

Money isn’t evil or the enemy. It is a tool that Jesus wants us to use for His glory. Click To Tweet

Greed and God’s glory don’t go together. Is money going to have its claws in your soul? Will it command your desires? Will you love it? Or will you love Jesus?

Money isn’t evil or the enemy. It is a tool that Jesus wants us to use for His glory. We should deal with our money like a sharp dinner knife. You are handling a dangerous tool. It’s blade can either make an exquisite dinner to feed the whole family or it can cause great pain.

Practical Pennies 

Once you decide to serve God instead of money, practical issues arise that must be addressed. Couples can have dollar disagreements in numerous areas. Here are a few questions that will probably surface with some practical next steps.

Should we make a budget? 

Absolutely. Since money ultimately belongs to God, we should treat it as such. Couples are simply stewards. We are managing money that isn’t ours. God wants to entrust us with eternal possessions but first observes if we are good at managing earthly matters (Luke 16:11-12).

If a steward is not keeping track of the money flow, how can he give a report to the master? In the same way, couples who do not make a budget cannot responsibly spend money. Click To Tweet

If a steward is not keeping track of the money flow, how can he give a report to the master? In the same way, couples who do not make a budget cannot responsibly spend money. We will be held responsible for how we choose to spend our funds, and this means we have to know how we are spending them.

How should we make a budget? 

A budget is a projection of how you plan to spend your income. I recommend having at least a monthly budget with basic categories. You should sit down together as a couple and chart out how much money you will spend on clothes, your home, groceries, dates, gas, pest control, life insurance, internet, savings, cell phones, retirement, giving, etc. You can also do this for birthdays, special occasions, and holidays.

At the end of each month, you can compare your projected spending with your actual spending. There are countless ways you can track your money. Early in our marriage, we used saved receipts that we inserted into envelopes. Now we track everything digitally and compare it to our excel budget spreadsheet.

What should we do when we disagree on a purchase? 

This is another reason why making a budget is so important. You are able to work together as a couple when there isn’t a sale going on at the store. Budget before Black Friday comes. You can think clearly and carefully.

It may take time to agree on a budget together. There may be compromises that take place and personal preferences that get crucified. Create your budget with the same mindset of Christ Jesus in Philippians 2:1-18. He was not eager for His own way or tied to His heavenly riches. He is the example sacrificial servant who we are to follow.

The Bible says when a lot is cast it causes quarreling to cease (Proverbs 18:18). In the same way, when a budget is made and agreed upon, it can cause quarreling among couples to cease. You should ask yourselves, did we budget for this purchase? If not, then don’t get it unless it is an extreme circumstance. Exercise self-control by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7).

When do we splurge?

If a purchase isn’t in your budget, then you must both decide together that this is an exception to the normal way you spend. Talk about it together with an understanding heart and deferential attitude. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone (Philippians 4:5; James 3:17).

Splurging can be good when it is done intentionally. Responsibility, rather than recklessness, is the word that should describe your finances. If your wife found an incredible deal on new shoes that she really would love, splurge for the glory of God! Let it bring her happiness and richly enjoy them (1 Timothy 6:17). If your husband would love to get away for a night in a hotel, truly consider it and count the cost. Don’t neglect the spirit of the budget. You can be just as greedy without a budget and blowing money as you can be with a budget saving money. Don’t neglect generosity every month just because it doesn’t fit your budget. Budgets are meant for man, not man for budgets.

If there is disagreement on the splurge, it isn’t worth it. Lay it to rest. Be sure to put to death your preferences and then later you can joyfully make an intentional plan to budget for it.

Let other saints sharpen you and teach you to serve God more faithfully for your finances. Then sing together, “We’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.” Click To Tweet

How should we proceed? 

One of the best things you can do is get an older, wiser, stable couple to examine your budget. This is a humbling thing that puts accountability in your stewardship. Find a more mature couple in your church that is trustworthy and ask them if they would be willing to review your budget for you. Don’t be afraid to show them the numbers. What do you have to lose? Pride? Appearances? What do you have to gain? Wisdom. Clarity. Growth.

Let other saints sharpen you and teach you to serve God more faithfully for your finances. Then sing together, “We’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.”