Marriage 101 session 1

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I do a lot of marriage counseling and thought I would take this time to share some ideas that I have found helpful.  Being a new year it seems a good time to start fresh in your marriage as well.

One of the first things I do when meeting with a couple is find out how their finances are set up.  This gives me a good perspective on how the dynamics of the relationship is.  Finances are usually done one of three ways: separate accounts, one person doing the bills, or both sharing  in the bills.

First let us talk about having separate accounts.  For some this might work, or seem to work for awhile, but in the long run I find this sets up the marriage for conflicts.  The Bible says that when  two people marry they are to become one (Mark 10:8).   Being one flesh means that all you have becomes your husbands as well.  We share our hearts, our bodies, our homes, our children…but not our finances?  Having two accounts separates the couple.  Even though you may pull your money to pay bills, it is still your money and his money instead of our money.

I have seen so many couples that talk about money and use the phrase “my money”.   This already shows the division of the marriage.  One account makes it “our” money-one flesh!

Even if there is one account I see the next problem in a couple’s finance, one person in charge.  That is when one spouse is in complete control of the account.  They pay the bills, handle the money, set up the budget, etc. and the other spouse has no idea of what goes on.  This is a power play.  Once again you are one flesh, not one over the other.  If one has to go and ask for money from the controlling spouse then you see a subordinate relationship.  One extolling power and the other feeling inferior.

The best way that I see in working the finances is to do it as a couple.  While one person can be the bill payer, the other spouse knows what is going on with the budget.  Hopefully the two sit down and set up the family budget together.  The couple has one account and they feel equal in the financial relationship.  Even if one spouse does not work, taking the time to go over everything together makes them feel as though they have a say in how things are paid so it becomes “their” money and not the working spouse’s money.

I hope however you decide to do your family finances you let God lead you and your spouse.

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