How about doing something really romantic with your spouse—are you ready—schedule a weekly money date! Doesn’t sound too romantic does it? But nothing will ruin those romantic feelings faster than financial challenges – and every marriage eventually runs into some sort of financial challenge.
These weekly money dates are vital because they establish the habit of regular financial conversations when there’s no crisis. Many couples don’t begin a conversation about money unless a problem has surfaced and the panic button has already been punched. Tension can reach the boiling point in a hurry when blame and defensiveness take over. That’s when it gets personal and hurtful, with a couple screaming at each other instead of working to resolve the problem.
In order to keep communications open, schedule a regular time to focus on your finances, and do three things during the money date:
- pray together,
- review your income and spending for the week, and
- celebrate the progress the Lord has enabled you to make.
Praying together should be the first thing you do on your money date. Jesus makes this remarkable promise in Matthew 18:19-20, “If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When a couple prays together about their finances they invite the God of the universe to be personally involved with their earning and spending. They also learn what is important to their mate.
Establish the habit of praying together. Keep a list of your prayers so that you will be encouraged to see God’s faithfulness in answering them.
The purpose of reviewing your income and spending is to make sure that you both know where you are financially. Do not use this as an opportunity to argue or nag one another! Instead, use it as a time to discover the facts, because couples simply make better decisions when both of them are fully aware of all the financial facts.
When couples think about money or discuss it, often they are dealing with problems. It’s not fun. Someone is spending too much or not earning enough. Frequently it ends in an argument, and the whole experience feels negative. Keeping the lines of communication open when there is no real problem sets the stage for open and honest communication during those times where there are challenges.
Celebrating financial progress is important, because you are more likely to continue your progress if you celebrate along the way. The Bible is loaded with examples of celebrating God enabling success. The words celebrate and celebrated are found fifty-two times in the Bible.
This is one example: “You shall celebrate the feast . . .You shall make merry at your feast . . . For seven days you shall celebrate this pilgrim feast in honor of the LORD, your God . . . since the LORD, your God, has blessed you in all your crops and in all your undertakings, you shall do nought but make merry” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). These farmers had worked hard planting and harvesting the crops. Now it was time to celebrate God’s faithfulness.
It’s important for couples to celebrate progress. Celebrate even if it’s something really simple – like taking a walk and getting an ice cream cone. The point is, don’t allow your budget to dictate how meaningful your celebration can be. As you progress financially, you will discover that each step of progress along the way brings more joy and meaning to your marriage. Be creative and have fun!
Married couples will always face financial challenges, but we should balance problem-solving by intentionally creating a culture of encouragement, gratitude, and celebration.
Thanks for reading,