My husband and I are blessed to come from families where good financial principles were modeled. Unlike many of our friends, we went into marriage knowing that it was possible to have a healthy financial relationship.
We’ve now been married for 12 1/2 years (can you believe it?!) and we’ve grown and struggled and learned a lot through those years. Today, I wanted to share three marks we’ve learned that signify a healthy financial relationship:
1. You’re on the Same Team
To win in life and in finances, you’ve got to be on the same team. This means that you leave the me versus you at the door.
Drop the phrases “his money” and “her money” and replace it with “our money.” Because if you’re going to be a team, you need to join hands — and assets.
2. You’re on the Same Page
Once you are willing to be on the same team, it allows you to be in a place to get on the same page financially. There’s so much momentum and excitement that comes from working on your finances together.
This requires mutual trust and open communication. It’s a heart that says, “We are in this together — sink or swim. We are FOR each other and we are working on the same goals together.”
In order to work on the same goals together, you have to openly discuss your finances. This means talking about everything regarding finances — not just the fun stuff but also the nitty-gritty hard stuff, like where your financial pitfalls are and what parts of your budget are coming up short.
3. You’re Willing to Compromise
If you want to stay on the same team and the same page, compromise is essential. You aren’t always going to agree all the time. In fact, you are more likely to disagree much of the time.
This is why you need to be willing to compromise. A strong and healthy relationship requires give and take, with both parties being willing to give up what you want for the other’s good.
I read the article and all of the comments. This really spoke to me. However, my marriage has been a huge struggle and finances has been a big aspect of that. We started with joint accounts but he was so irresponsible. He would have us overdrafted every month with tons of fees. Even with a joint account there was still secrecy and no respect. We now have separate accounts. Of course, this doesn’t really help. Yes, I have money and it is “safe” from his irresponsible ways. But he consistently has no money. Credit cards are maxxed and late payments. I have no idea what he spends his money on. And every time bills are due it is a fight and a struggle. There is no way I can see ever having a joint account with him again. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.
Monica Bernal Mejias says
Hi! I really agree with what your posts says regarding couples having accounts together. However, after eight years of being a single parent, I recently remarried and am having a difficult time moving my account to my husbands account. My husband keeps insisting we need only one account and I agree. But again I find it so hard to transition as I have had this account for over 20 years. What advice can you give me?
As a Christian I realize God put the other person in my life and his purposes are good ones. He also put us in the circumstances we find ourselves in, (he sets and boundaries of our habitations), also for good purposes. In an honest financial relationship we have to realize, there is a way to manage, (a means of escape), and our different perspectives are for our good, not to frustrate one another. The financial difficulties are meant to bond us, to set us on a common purpose, to make God honoring priorities, to help each other grow, to depend on God’s provision, to improve our prayer lives. To burn up dross. The circumstances may be miserable to slog through at the time, but they are for good. Sometimes kids bring you up short by their comments. Our youngest said to us years ago, after building a play fort out of salvaged materials, “it’s good we’re poor, it teaches you to be more creative”. I’ll have to admit, it was a pretty cool fort.
Tanja C says
After 11 years we still have separate accounts. We split the bills according to the income level of each person (which has changed over the years), but I have to do all the ‘bill pay’ online. We have access to each other’s accounts (meaning we don’t hide anything) and decided together on big spendings. And we give ourselves a weekly allowance. We like it this way but we get funny looks al the time 🙂
I just remarried after several years single after a 30 yr marriage where it all went into one pot. It works for us to have our money separate. I pay him a set amount each month and that’s all we mingle. I’m in grad school so don’t make much and he earns a lot. I’m very strict with my spending and frugal and saving. He has debt, not a lot in savings, and is very generous and free with spending (included on me and for us). That makes me nervous but he’s got a handle on it. I find I prefer to keep it separate for my peace of mind. We did split our wedding and honeymoon last month 50/50 which considering our earning isn’t ideal. That’s something we could work on but he pays and does so much on our behalf that I am willing. Thoughts?
Prayer. = ) A lot of financial situations have worked out vastly differently than we would have thought – seminary, working at Starbucks and nannying to get by, having a child and figuring out what “working from home” looks like, etc. There are many things you can do as a couple to plan and come together on a financial philosophy, but there are many other things you simply can’t control. Seek to be good stewards of the resources God does provide.
Rebekah Marks says
I handle the nerdy aspects of finances and bill-paying in our home, but my husband and I have learned (after being married 10 years) to talk about finances constantly. For me, that means sending him a text every day or two so he knows how much is in each account, what bills are upcoming, and how close we are to our financial goals.
Also, it is LOVING to say “NO” to each other when a purchase is not in the budget! I used to say “whatever you want,” then stew in resentment that he wasn’t acting in the best interest of the family. That’s bad for the family! I can still submit to my husband’s leadership, while having a voice. He’s the head of the home, but I’m the manager.
My husband and I share all financial details. I know a married couple who keep finances 100% separate and negotiate for every payment like electric bills, insurance and so forth. It breeds greed and selfishness not to mention secrecy. I don’t understand how they can justify this; I don’t see in the Bible where it’s ok to not share everything with your spouse. To me becoming one includes opening up your finances too.
Crystal the only thing I can think of to add is when my husband and I got married, the church marriage counselor told us to make life easier to assign a value of say $50 or $75 that is an acceptable limit to purchase items without the other’s permission. If a purchase is greater than the set amount, we call and ask for the other’s blessing before we spend. We have followed this advice for several years now and it’s working great. Of course, neither of us have high fallutin tastes either.
Crystal Paine says
Thanks so much for sharing that advice from the marriage counselor!
My parents always had “his” and “hers” money, even when my mom was laid off and when my dad got fired multiple times. So whoever wasn’t working, had none. At one point, my dad took out a personal loan to buy… scarab jewelry as an “investment” to resell for a profit. Well, it didn’t work out. And he got fired so he had no means to pay back the loan. He also couldn’t pay his credit card bill for other stuff. So he just didn’t. Then when he was helping my uncle move from the south to the Great Lakes, the creditors called and got my mom instead of him. So the cat got let out of the bag… although he continued to weave a tangled web of lies about it.
They split up last year and the divorce was final this spring and dishonesty around money was the main reason. Sadly, I learned that there had been violence against my mom from my dad. My sister and I were physically and mentally abused as children and not provided with what we needed. We were fed 1 meager meal a day and I often didn’t have a winter coat, shoes or boots that fit (or the zipper broke, shoe got a hole, etc)… in Michigan.
Since I left home 18 years ago to go to college, I have only rarely gone back. I don’t enjoy spending time with either one of my parents, for these reasons and more. I limit – severely- their contact with my kids also.
Fortunately, it is possible to get yourself out of an abusive situation and turn your life around. My husband supports me in my decision to minimize contact with my parents.
Crystal Paine says
My heart hurts for you that you had to experience this growing up. I am so sorry and I’m so grateful to hear how you’ve become a victor in spite of such hard growing up years. You’re an inspiration!
Apparently we’re way off the “mark”. Ha ha. As my husband is the sole breadwinner, I’ve learned to just let it go. I am certainly not abused in any way, nor am I neglected financially- my needs are met. It’s just that we don’t agree on budgeting, saving, etc. I’m more at peace just letting him do whatever. Getting frustrated does no good. In my case, I believe submitting is more important than being “right” about how to budget.
I’d love to hear thoughts on this. Am I way off to think that there are not many other wives in my shoes? This blog tends to talk about being in control of your finances, but what about those like me who are not in control because our spouse makes all the money and doesn’t want to discuss finances? Yes, ideally, we should. But when a husband won’t, I think that not worrying about it and just submitting to his ideas is best. Maybe that’s one way to compromise?
Lyss do you know where everything is? How much savings, life insurance etc that you all have? Being in control of and being knowledgeable about the family finances are two different things.
If your husbands wants to be the one to pay the bills that’s cool if it works for you. What’s scary is that it seems from your comments that you don’t have a voice in the finances and you don’t have knowledge about what’s happening.
If I’m off base and you know and can access all bank accounts, retirement and you feel you have a good handle on the family’s finances then go for it.
But it seems like you don’t have a voice because you don ‘t have a paycheck to bring to the table. That’s dangerous. If your husband died or became disabled to the point where he couldn’t handle the finances -where would you be? Getting frustrated is a sign that something is no right.
You lost me on the submission vs being right. If you need 300 for grocery and he says you get 150 – somethings wrong and in real life it’s not a money problem but a marriage problem that’s showing up in your finances.
I’d have some direct conversations tonight with my mate and be willing to hear some hard responses.
Rebekah Marks says
Part of being a helper to your husband is using your voice. Your husband needs your input, without nagging and whining, to be better equipped for leading the house.
There could be any of a thousand reasons that he doesn’t want to talk about finances, but in doing so, you two are just breeding distrust in each other, which will lead inevitably to much larger marital problems!
Financially speaking, you’ll get much farther rowing with him than just sitting there while he does all the rowing.
Oh, my. I don’t think anyone understands where I am coming from. Can you just delete my comments? Thanks.
Does anyone have any tips for going from a couple who doesn’t talk about money to a couple that talks about money? I handle all the money and bill paying. My husband prefers to not be involved. However I find that puts a lot of pressure and stress on me. If you have a spouse that avoids begin involved how did you draw them into the conversation? What were the specific things that worked for you (and didn’t work)?
I would bring up the fact if he isn’t aware of what is going on that if something were to happen to you then he will be completely lost. My mother in law passed away 3 yrs ago and the aftermath was absolutely horrible. My father in law had so much trouble trying to figure out and pay bills. She had a bank account with no one else on it and it was a huge legal thing. So I would just tell him you are trying to save him future headaches and money by getting him involved now. This has been a huge lesson for my husband and I. Good luck!
Rebekah Marks says
You just described the first few years of our marriage. We have overcome it, though, by my constantly updating him. I send him a text often which gives him the current balances in each account, the upcoming bills, and the distance toward our financial goals. It keeps him (and me!) in check so we don’t overspend.
My husband “preferred” not be involved, too, and I started hating him for dumping it all on me! I’m his wife, not his mother. Now that we’re working together, and I’m not having to clean up financial messes all the time, our marriage is better.
In the wake of the Ashley Madison scandal, my husband told me he was thankful that I can see where he spends his money. Joint accounts and access help to keep each other accountable, although it may make birthday surprises a little more difficult. 🙂
Nikki Alvarez says
I can’t believe I never thought of finances as a form of abuse? It makes so much sense and I’ve been in both situations unfortunately. The two go hand in hand, that’s a good revelation to help victims of domestic violence or atleast one of them. It breaks my heart that it is becoming more common to live disfunctional poor lives.
Katie Hall says
I think most people tend to be irresponsible in a sense towards money & life. It’s great that you found a person not only to stay married to but understands the budget plan. I’ve accomplished more being single than when I was married.
Uma @ Centsible Indian says
What I realized is, even if you’re on the same team, communication is essential. I keep reminding myself this. My husband and I are on the same page. The only problem is, we end up missing out money discussions when life happens.
Yes, yes, yes! Accountability and open doors to communication are key. You need to plan money to have fun and set fun goals to celebrate your together successes. It is hard work, tears, and the occasional silent treatment, but when you consider the alternative (and your peers’ waning success) you will be thankful beyond words!!!
Loved your quote on self-discipline.
Kelly Cox says
Great points! In marriage, you become ONE! I think combining all your finances is essential, that’s part of being on the same team. Meet weekly, budget together and pray for God’s leading with your financial decisions – all this TOGETHER! 🙂
Crystal Paine says
Yes! Love the wisdom in this quote!
Denise@Life With the Lid Up says
Communication is key! My husband and I talk after each payday to go over bills, other expenses, and how to designate what’s left (that part doesn’t take long… haha). We also have “meetings” at the kitchen table every few months to discuss goals and the bigger picture.
Crystal Paine says
I love this! Thanks so much for sharing!
With my husband being the sole provider currently I always make it a point to go over where the money is gonna go (bills, food or misc). Communication is very important as you said. Without it why be married.
Yes! And keep talking about it even if it is TOUGH. The first year of our marriage my husband and I argued EVERY SINGLE TIME we discussed finances. Both of us were single for a long time and accustomed to having control over our finances. It is so vital to keep talking and working through issues as they arise.
Crystal Paine says
Such a good word! Thanks for sharing!