Thursday, January 03, 2019

Marriage and Money

Our home office (our house was built in 1860!)

I knew a man who bought a house for his family to live in, without telling his wife. He just showed up at home and told her, "I bought a new house for us to live in."

Unbelievable. Controlling. Insensitive. Uncaring. 

Back in the 1970s, when Linda and I were newly married, our church family hosted a financial seminar. This was revolutionary for me. Among other things, I learned that...

  • All Linda and I possessed was the Lord's.
  • We were stewards of what God had given us.
  • Part of our stewardship involved having a budget.
  • Linda and I were to work at the budget together, discerning how God wants us to use the resources he has allowed us to oversee.
For one month we carried a notepad with us, writing down every penny we each spent. I found that I was doing a lot of small spending - a cup of coffee here, another cup of coffee there, a candy bar, a newspaper, and a few quarters spent on video games. I found out a great truth: it was possible to know where the money was going

Yesterday, January 2, 2019, we sat together before the computer screen. I pulled up the budget for 2019. We looked at it together. I like working with our household budget, and check it at least once or often more every week. 

We looked at our basic expenses (giving to God's work and the church, mortgage, car payment, utilities, food, medical expenses, etc.). I pulled up our bank account online, so Linda could see how much we currently have.  

Then, we looked at expected income for 2019. We saw that, after expenses, we could project having some extra money. So, we talked about a few things that we discerned God would have us do with this surplus. Linda had two discernments that we began to act on immediately. Both involved maintaining our old house. Later in the day, as we went out to lunch together, Linda shared how thankful she was to God for available resources to put into our home. I agreed.

After the financial seminar in the 1970s one of the things Linda and I agreed on was this; neither of us would spend more than $50 on something unless we both agreed God wanted us to do this. We would discern this together. We are fully committed to these ideas: All we have is God's. We must discern how God wants us to use his resources. We are to discern this together.

These principles apply, whether we have had little, or had much. They have helped us avoid conflicts over money, and have contributed to grounding us in trust, first of the Lord, and secondly of one another.