Written by Shawn Jacques, Private Wealth Advisor in Ronald Blue Trust’s Chicago, Illinois office
Is it possible to find oneness with your spouse regarding money? Marriage is hard and finances are tough to manage, but money can also provide a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our marriages and grow in oneness.
My wife and I have been married 15 years and have our own unique journey to oneness. For example, while we discuss big decisions together, I am the one who regularly keeps an eye on the finances and sees the weekly charges. I am often tempted (and sometimes give in to the temptation—not a wise decision!) to say things like, “What was that $50 charge at the store?” or “Did you really buy a $5 coffee?” However, these comments could make my wife feel controlled and judged. I fully admit that I wouldn’t respond well if the tables were turned, and she was asking me similar questions. These small choices, as well as larger financial decisions such as taking on debt or deciding how much to give to a charity or ministry, can cause tension that we need to talk through. Our journey is unique to us, and we are a work in progress.
You and your spouse may never be perfectly one, but you can intentionally journey together towards oneness with a bit of wise planning. God laid out His vision for marriage right from the start: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Finances are a journey whether you just set down your bags from the honeymoon, have already waved your kids off at college, or you work as an advisor for Ronald Blue Trust. Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s research in Thriving in Love & Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights about Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself revealed that 80% of married couples give in to the temptation to not be “all in” with their money.1 That can show itself in various ways – selfish habits, secret transactions, controlling behavior, lack of trust in each other, unhealthy dependence on other family members instead of your spouse with finances, and more.
In other words, if money is an issue in your marriage—you are not alone.
The Feldhahns present three research-based big-picture solutions:
- Build cushion for discretionary purchases.
Financial margin relieves the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck that often leads to marital tension.
- Talk about money.
The Feldhahns’ study showed that 77% of married couples find it awkward and/or difficult to discuss money with each other.2 Communication is critical on the journey toward oneness. You may consider reading their book or taking the course mentioned below if you feel this is an area where you and your spouse have room to grow. They both give great thoughts on how to improve your communication.
- Understand what’s beneath your response to money.
God made each of us unique and our different backgrounds, personalities, and experiences make each of us react differently to money. These insights are important and often overlooked. You can’t fully complete the first two recommendations successfully without understanding the way you and your spouse respond to money and the reasons behind it—even the legitimate portions of how your spouse’s response might differ from yours.
The Feldhahns found 99.29% of married couples care deeply about one another and want the best for their marriage.3 However, conflict arises when they don’t seek to understand or actually communicate with each other. Marital oneness with finances is a life-long journey. Proverbs 24:3 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.”
Growing and striving for financial oneness in marriage (Philippians 2:2-4) is a great opportunity to strengthen your connection, thrive in your marriage, and provide an impactful example for future generations.
Ronald Blue Trust’s corporate vision includes: Husbands and wives experiencing unity in their communication about their financial situations thereby making money a non-issue in their marriages. In order to make this vision a reality, we have partnered with FamilyLife to create a new online course specifically for couples looking to grow toward financial oneness.
Click here to learn more or sign up for the Financial Freedom for Couples course. If you and your spouse or someone in your life could use this course, click the link and use code RBT25 to receive 25% off the already discounted price. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please reach out to us at [email protected].
1Shanuti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn, Thriving in Love and Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights about Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself, (Bloomington: Bethany House Publishers, 2020), 127.
2Feldhahn and Feldhahn, Thriving in Love and Money, 45.
3Feldhahn and Feldhahn, Thriving in Love and Money, 45.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.