What’s the best newlywed financial advice you never received?
My husband and I started our life together with all the excitement of a new couple – eager to create our forever happily-ever-after!
We had it all together: great counsel, awesome marriage coaches, every learning tool at our disposal.
We gained so much from these sources, but unfortunately, we missed out on one area.
From budgeting for regular utilities to the “how to” of significant expenses, we did not have a clear and concrete plan for our financial life.
After ten years of marriage, we finally woke up.
It was not pretty.
Today, I want to save you some of our learning curves as I share some of the newlywed financial advice that would have helped us.
Let’s dive in.
Newlywed financial advice – 4 financial considerations for newlyweds
1. Design a practical plan together
No, there is no magic wand to get your marriage budget or finances together. You actually have to do something.
A few years ago, I left my good job after eight years of employment. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my adult life.
My lack of income hit our finances hard. Previously, our approach for every-day expenses had been “pay the bills as they come.” My husband and I would handle various expenses like groceries and rent as they showed up.
And we’d switch responsibilities depending on who had the resources at that time. We thought the plan was working until I was unable to pull my financial weight.
The season has taught us about the need for a solid foundation from the very beginning: an authentic, workable framework for your finances.
Couples need to sit down and discuss the specifics of how their marriage finances will run. And not just once, but regularly.
We learned that trying to have money discussions in the middle of a financial hurricane was awkward. Hard and challenging yes, but also very uncomfortable.
But having a framework (which you have previously discussed and agreed to) ensures you are reading from the same script.
The marriage guide also eliminates the anxiety and second-guessing of “who will pay the bill this month?”
Now, for the spouses worried about too much planning, newlywed financial planning doesn’t indicate a lack of faith. In fact, the plan is evidence of your faith. The Bible tells us our actions reveal what we believe.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2: 14-17 ESV
Key thought: Planning is an expression of faith and excellence.Financial planning doesn’t indicate a lack of faith. In fact, the plan is evidence of our faith. Our actions reveal what we believe. (James 2: 14-1) 4 important truths to financial planning in marriage
2. Address obstacles to your financial plan
My husband and I often talk about our dreams. In fact, at the beginning of the year, we write down desires and pin them up as a daily reminder.
Writing our goals reminds us of where we are headed. But for our dreams to materialize, we know we must add action.
Dreams come with a price tag. And the price isn’t always monetary. Sometimes the cost of the dream is a willingness to have an honest conversation about our fears, anxieties, or poor money habits that can hurt our goals.
One of the best newlywed financial advice I give to couples is “learn to address obstacles of financial progress.”
These types of conversation should not be a platform to shame a spouse for past or present money decisions. They should be an opportunity to open up and be vulnerable about areas of strength or improvement.
Key thought: Knowledge and action are essential. But wisdom (how you deploy the knowledge and action) is priceless.
3. Unity takes your further
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 KJVA
When you said “I do”, you both accepted the opportunity to cleave. “Cleave” is one of those fascinating words with opposite meanings.
According to the dictionary, the word “cleave” means “to split by breaking” as well as to “adhere strongly.”
God’s intention of cleaving is the later, “ and they shall become one flesh..”
How does being glued together relate to newlywed finance?
Cleaving is a choice.
When you are “adhered strongly” it leaves little room for privacy. Everything is (or should be) out there, visible to your spouse.
Cleaving is designed by God to remind us we are on the same side. We are on the same team, and our goals should be “one.” Cleaving is also designed to facilitate accountability in our areas of weakness.Cleaving is designed by God to remind us we are on the same side. We are on the same team, and our goals should be “one.” Cleaving is also designed to facilitate accountability in our areas of weakness.
Cleaving requires total honesty because only then can you work in harmony. Otherwise, it’s a push and pull, with each spouse trying to go their own way.
In harmony, we grow up, and in growing up, we find benefits we wouldn’t find any other way.
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:19-20
Key thought: Skills and financial know-how are not enough. Healthy finances require Godly unity.
4. Consult with God
Sometimes back, I bought a food blender.
It was a simple gadget (or so I thought), and I didn’t read the manual. Everything went along just fine. Until it was time to clean the gadget.
The blades were sharp, and it was a nightmare cleaning them manually. After a few nicks and cuts (yeah, I was that determined), I gave up and consulted the manual.
In a section titled “How to clean a blender”, I found three steps:
Step 1: Add warm soapy water
Step 2: Switch on the blender
Step 3: Allow it to self-clean
Many times as couples, and just as I did with my blender, we try to solve marriage problems with our wisdom.
All the while, the Manual, God’s word, is available, waiting to be consulted. Being good financial stewards is God’s idea, not ours.
When we run into walls, we should consult Him through prayer and reading His Word. Not power through issues, ignoring the nicks and cuts, thinking we can solve things alone.
The book of Proverbs provides practical advice about money, saving, debt, giving: it’s like a one-stop-shop for newlywed financial advice! Start there.
Every new couple should understand that financial health isn’t about financial wealth.
It’s about a willingness to be open about finances with each other.
Don’t allow your newlywed finances to be on autopilot. Your marriage finances need these four things.
1 An every-day financial plan
2 Honest conversations
3 A united front
4 Understanding we are stewards of God’s resources (and thus we must consult Him)
And that’s my best newlywed financial advice for new couples. I would love to hear from you! Tell me, what point resonated with you the most? What is the one thing you wish you could change about your newlywed financial checklist? Let’s talk in the comments below!
ABOUT CONTRIBUTING WRITER: Kate Odongo is a woman in love with God, a wife, and a mom. She is a motivational writer whose heart is to encourage wives in their purpose and their marriage.
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