Our (previous) hometown team recently won the Stanley Cup (Go Pens!!) The San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins displayed a lot of passion, hard work and discipline in the regular season and in their approach to the NHL championship series. The final round was a demanding seven-game series and both teams have a lot of reasons to be proud.
As usual, what happened at the end of the final game when the buzzer sounded and one team was declared the victor? If you were watching the game, you saw the players celebrating like crazy! Grown men acted like kids, jumping up and down, piling on top of each other, and hugging their team mates for joy because they realized the effort they made and the price they paid was worth all the hard work, sacrifice, training, and commitment.
Married couples can learn a lot from watching the way athletes celebrate championships by doing a little celebration of their own when they make progress on their financial journey. Too many times when married couples talk about money they are dealing with a problem. It’s a negative experience that often harms their relationship.
We’ve counseled so many couples who have real challenges in their marriages because of money. Simply having a conversation about finances often results in a fight and hurt feelings with one attacking the other for either spending too much or earning too little. Even worse is the dishonesty when one spouse hides financial issues from the other. These financial differences create an atmosphere of hurt, distrust, and disrespect between them. It damages their relationship and affects every area of their marriage and family life. Ultimately differences in the way spouses handle money and financial challenges can lead to a dysfunctional marriage or even divorce.
We also know many couples who have worked together to face and resolve their financial challenges. They have found a way to reconcile their differences, to discuss them and to define a game plan to eliminate them. They work together to solve their problems, encourage each other and stay on track. This approach strengthens their relationship and improves their marriage. Working together to tackle and resolve financial challenges can produce a stronger marriage, as the problem-solving skills related to money transfers into problem-solving skills in other areas of their relationship.
These couples make progress when they draw together to work hard and by faith, they trust the Lord to provide the necessary resources to pay off their debt and increase their giving and their savings. And just like athletes who are winners, husbands, and wives who make financial progress do it through hard work, sacrifice, training, and commitment.
When couples intentionally work together to create an atmosphere of open and loving communication, even about difficult topics such as finances, it changes everything. We know from personal experience that you can take something that is damaging your marriage and make it something that strengthens your marriage. And you can do it when you celebrate God’s faithfulness in your finances
So when couples make progress with their finances, we encourage them to celebrate, because what we celebrate, we repeat. Celebrating progress is a key step in making more progress. You are much more likely to continue a long hard journey if you take time, celebrate the steps you have accomplished along the way.
The Bible is full of examples of celebrating God’s goodness. They celebrated the Sabbath, the new month, the new year, the harvest, and Passover. The father celebrated the return on the prodigal son. Mary and Joseph celebrated the birth of their son, Jesus. Many of the Psalms are songs of joy and rejoicing.
Just as the ancient Jews celebrated, so should we. A benefit of celebrating is to remind ourselves of the Lord’s love and care for us in all circumstances. In John 15:5, Jesus talks about the vine and the branches. He said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Ultimately it is the Lord who can take our struggles and turn them into a reason to celebrate. The Lord is the one who provides the opportunities that enable us to make progress. We can balance our financial challenges by celebrating when positive things happen.
Couples need to intentionally work together to create a culture of celebration and gratitude in their marriage when communicating about money. Once that happens the marriage is so much stronger and able to survive other challenging times and crises.
Celebrating doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; and it is a good thing it doesn’t. When Jon and I were on our financial journey, we celebrated every time we made progress—often with something as simple as a walk and an ice cream cone. It was enough to acknowledge our progress without getting us off track. It helped us stay focused without feeling deprived and it helped to build our resolve to stick to it until we reached another milestone and could celebrate again.
So, please, celebrate your financial victories. Celebrate your unity and hard work. But most of all celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God.
“Then the just will be glad; they will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy.” (Psalm 68:4)
One of the best tools to tackle your finances is the 9-week Navigating Your Finances God’s Way Bible Study from Compass Catholic. This study not only provides you with a Biblical way to view finances, it gives you a step by step approach to define where you are and what to tackle next, called the Money Map.