We’re in a series of articles designed to help married couples achieve financial clarity. One of the biggest sources of conflict in marriage is money. This article will take a deeper look into the second of the four steps for financial health – Share Your List. You may be wondering why this even needs to be a step. Shouldn’t that be obvious? Isn’t good communication a given in marriage?
The reality for many marriages is that the household financial details are usually maintained by one person. One spouse may take the lead on finances due to natural interest, efficiency or to avoid conflict. Fairly soon into the marriage, you’re making financial decisions unilaterally, in the name of ‘keeping up’ rather than maintaining open communication. The endless password resets to online accounts are headache enough for one person to get bogged down with.
As we saw in step one – Write It Down – the net worth statement is really one large prayer sheet. It’s a chance to unite together, share one another’s burdens, and submit to the Lord.
This is also an opportunity for your spouse to know how to pray for you specifically in their own personal prayer time.
This financial list will contain numbers that you’re proud of and numbers you’re embarrassed about. As people of faith we ultimately know that God already owns all of it anyway. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
Of course, Jesus sees our value beyond just the numbers. He emphasizes our faithfulness with what we’ve been entrusted. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteousness wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)
A faithful steward gives an accurate account. Your spouse is your accountability partner. This is why step two is to Share Your List. So, what’s the best way to do that?
First, kill shame with honesty.
Be frequent, clear and accurate when sharing your financial concerns with your spouse. By turning your net worth statement into a prayer card, you’ll be prompted to be specific when sharing your concerns.
Second, don’t assume your spouse knows your concerns or will see it like you do.
Their perspective is unique and designed by God to be a blessing. Despite our current culture, two people can disagree on a topic and commit to living without conflict.
Third, don’t assume every shortcoming you share with your spouse is a sin issue.
Yes, we are to manage our assets well, however the Bible does not promise prosperity to believers. All earthly assets remain under the curse God gave to Adam after the fall. Genesis 3:17-19 says, “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”
Each time you look at this list, there should be two questions you can ask your spouse:
- Where do we need God to work in these concerns?
- What action must I take today to be obedient to God’s Word?
In all things God seeks our attention and commands our obedience. He commands us to be good stewards with the assets and challenges He has temporarily placed in our care. The assets and liabilities, the debits and credits all add together to provide a glimpse into how we view God’s provision.
By Alan Morgan