Making Money-sense in Marriage

My husband and I came into marriage with different ways of looking at money – how to spend it, when to save it and how to give it away.

Some of our differences were subtle ‘on paper’ but they would blow up big in practical application.

I am guessing it’s the same in your marriage; you have different ways of looking at finances.

Making Money-sense in Marriage

Here’s a few things that have helped us find common ground as far as making sense out of our cents is concerned.

 1. Talk about it.

It’s said that most challenges in marriage arise out of  poor communication.

I’ve seen that truth at work in my marriage where so often it’s not about that thing on the table but about how we communicate about it.

We got a red-hot introduction to money matters as newlyweds.

I resigned from a 7-year job three months to the wedding and he got laid off about four  months after the wedding.

Newlywed + zero money = lots of stress.

Ideally the best time to talk about finances is when tensions are low, when lack is not snapping at your heels.

We had a rough idea about how each one of us viewed money (we talked about it before marriage) and while that helped, we still had to craft new rules for the season.

The one thing that will determine how you order your money  – and all your life really – is your unique vision as a couple. (Tweet please)

Your priorities, your values, your direction ; they will all determine where and how your money goes.

Now it would be nice if we were all disciplined enough to make sense of our cents when pressures are low. 

But truth is many of us delay talking about money until we are in a major crisis. While the crisis forces you to talk about money, it’s almost always a more difficult time to do it.

If you have never discussed your money sense or if you need to revisit the topic (and it should really be a lifestyle) try to bring up the issue when life is easier.

Don’t wait till you have money issues to start a serious discussion on money. (Tweet that)

2. Make room for new thinking

We can talk until the cows come home but it won’t change a thing unless you are willing to change your thinking.

I struggled to adjust to little-to-no-money-living during those early months. I was in a new season of life and if there was a time I needed money it was then.

Nonetheless I quickly discovered that “wants” can masquerade as “needs”.

The overarching lesson of the season was that God was teaching me how to depend on Him.

He was removing my props, changing my thinking, helping me glue to my husband in deeper ways.

Talking with your husband about money is not your grand opportunity to convince him to see things your way. (Tweet please)

It’s actually an opportunity to learn how He sees things (and understand how you feel about how he sees things).

It’s an opportunity to communicate your heart and craft new ways to move from where you are to where you need to be.

It’s hard to move forward if your mind is on reverse gear (or the brakes for that matter). Learn – the emphasis is on learn – be open minded, be ready to win some, learn some.

 3. Understand positioning

Husbands are tasked with the weighty responsibility of taking care of their families (it doesn’t matter whether you have a paycheck or not)

For a man who’s just learning his way around marriage-ville, the responsibility can feel heavy.

Nonetheless and since you are wired for security as a wife it’s easy to think you care more about financial security than he does.

But it’s rarely the case.

One husband says

“I can pretty much guarantee you that your husband feels worse about everything (financial difficulties) than you do, and he doesn’t need you to remind him of anything. What he needs is a cheerleader.”

It’s important to consider your different responsibilities in marriage as you talk money-sense in your marriage.

You might be more verbal concerning financial matters; it doesn’t mean you care more.

He just cares different, for the most part. In fact when men are under pressure or unsure of something, the last thing they want to do is rush to talk about it.

So when talking money, remember consider where he is it, how he sees things from his vantage point as a provider.

Question – How do you make money-sense in your marriage? Please share your tips and thoughts in Comments.


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Linking with Titus 2sdays, Growing Home, Messy Marriage, we are That Family, Wise Woman, Wifey Wednesday, Fellowship Fridays
  • Dan Black

    I’ve found talking about and sitting down to write out a budget very valuable. This has been something that my wife and myself are being more intentional about and it’s really helping us. Great thoughts.!

  • Hannah Williams

    My husband & I set a budget together, and we check in with each other before making big purchases. I appreciate how my husband checks in with me even though he is currently the breadwinner for us because he wants to include me in financial decisions. I’ve always struggled with the concept of “my money,” “his money,” and “our money,” so I try my hardest to share with him when I want to spend $$ because saying it out loud and including him in the process, instead of disrespectfully going behind his back, helps me to stay accountable and claim victory!

  • Angela

    Thanks for sharing, my husband and I definitely do not see eye to eye about finances! I found your blog @ Works for me Wednesday. I would love it if you linked up at a post at my new linky party:

  • theatypicalhousewife

    Right after we were married my husband and I had a very rough patch financially as well. We learned there are few things as stressful as money problems! Thankfully it was just due to our bad choices. I am thankful we have and are on the same page in regards to finances. These are great tips though in case there are any issues in the future!

  • MomMom Hill

    Great post! Thank you :) I’m visiting from Growing Home’s linkup :)

    Thank you,
    MomMom Hill

  • Dave Arnold

    Good stuff Ngina. I think the biggest thing to do is talk about money with your spouse & determine what roles you want to fulfill.

  • TCAvey

    My husband is a planner and likes spread sheets. He makes all sorts of charts showing where our money goes. It really helps us to see trends in spending and ID ways we can cut back.
    Sometimes it’s easy to think we rarely go out to eat, but then I look at our pie chart (it’s the one I like best) and I can see that we aren’t deprived. We eat out plenty- though it’s WAY less than it used to be.

    At first I didn’t really like his charts, they were overwhelming, but now I’m used to them and they really are helpful.

  • Beth Steffaniak

    Ah, yes, we went through a tough financial season in our marriage too and found that we hadn’t talked enough about what our plan of action would be. And like you’ve pointed out, Ngina, that can make for some super-emotional charged communications just when you need to have a clear head! One thing that helped me to settle into a lower standard of living during that time was the thought that if we made wiser choices and chipped away at our spending/debt, we would be out of this crisis and back on our feet very soon. It made it feel like there was light at the end of this tunnel and motivated me to stay on track.

  • Barb Raveling

    Surprisingly, we’ve never once argued about money. One of the things that’s helped us most is always living on less than what we can afford to live on. When we were first married 30+ years ago, that meant living in a two room apartment with a couch that flattened out for a bed. When we went back to school after 6 years of marriage, it meant selling our house and going back to another two room apartment – I turned 30 in that apartment. We now look back on those years with fondness. There was a coziness to living in such a small place.

  • kimanzi constable

    Communication is key, so many arguments can be avoided if we just talk more and better. We have a 100% honesty policy no matter what, even the soda from the machine. In the end we’ve come to realize that all we need money for is the essentials, it’s not as important now as the beginning of our marriage.

    • Ngina Otiende

      Amen Kimanzi, great wisdom, thanks for sharing

  • Caleb

    Ngina, for me and Christina the money issue has changed over time. When we got married I did almost all the finances including checkbook, taxes, credit cards, bills and paycheck. As we grew into our marriage she slowly took on more and more responsibility. Now we mainly discuss larger purchases and I just trust her with everything else. I think it’s interesting how roles can change over the years like that!

  • floyd

    Money is a funny thing… Like everything else under God’s sun, it’s about how you perceive it. Understanding all things come from the hand of God brings it under the proper perspective and relying in faith on Him is the key for both men and women. God never fails, only we do in our perception of money I think.

    • Ngina Otiende

      I agree Floyd, proper perspective is so important. I think when we try to compartmentalize our lives, money included, that’s when we get in to trouble. Understanding whose we are and whose it (wealth) will clear up our often foggy-thinking and help us steward His resources well. Thanks for that.