In the first installment of this series on finances and marriage we discussed finances and the contention that often results in marriage because of them. Basically, because we are different and have different outlooks on how to manage money friction often results. For the most part you can categorize almost everyone into one of two personalities: planners and fun-lovers.
My wife and I read a book by Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover, in the second year of our marriage. We were very impressed with his teachings and advice and decided to implement them in our marriage. Perhaps the most significant teaching in the book for us was about budgeting. Dave discusses this issue of different personalities, instead of the words planner and fun-lover he uses nerd and free-spirit. The nerd loves to plan and organize and does detailed budgets. The free-spirit likes to play and have fun and resists organization and detailed planning. Budgets don’t go over well with free-spirits because they feel like their freedom is being curtailed.
Dave recommends that couples play to their strengths. If one spouse is a nerd or planner they should make the budget. However, they should not dictate what the budget should be. They merely plan the budget. Then the couple sits down together and reviews the budget. The free-spirit (or fun-lover) provides their input, the nerd listens, and the two of them come to an agreement on what a reasonable budget would be, something that both can live with. With this agreement they move forward in unity in the management of their money.
The advice that Dave Ramsey provides have brought great blessings to my marriage. By consciously and cooperatively working to prevent money from causing contention in our marriage we have enjoyed not only peace at home but also greater unity in our marriage. We know that we are working together toward common financial goals. We both make sacrifices in order to get there. This brings us closer together and helps us to be more united. We feel dignified that we are working toward a shared purpose, albeit slowly sometimes, and when we go without we know it will be worth it in the long run.
These are the fruits of uplifting love: unity, joy, and dignity. If working together on our finances in this way brings these fruits then it should be pursued. While we have found Dave Ramsey’s teachings to be of great value in our marriage the same may be true for you in your marriage. Give Total Money Makeover a look. If it works for you, great! If not, keep looking and praying. You’ll find a way to manage your money that works for the two of you.
Working together to manage your money is worth the time and effort required. It will prevent a multitude of disagreements and friction and, more importantly, further unite you as a couple.
Now that you have a budget, do you ever find that there just isn’t enough flexibility in it? You want more freedom because having a budget it just too restrictive? In our next installment of this series on finances and marriage we’ll discuss one way of how to do just that.