Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.
I laughed out loud when I opened to page 29 in the book I picked up. It was a Jon Acuff book about Dave Ramsey’s Gazelle Baby Steps. Here is the heading on the page: You’re going to have a marriage money argument.
Or, live one. Always. Always in a money argument..
Whoops, have to write in the form of a letter. How about this;
You ARE going to have a marriage money argument. If you are not or have never yet, why not? Is there a problem? Does it get tense in your house when the bills are due? Should it? Do you even know that bills have to get paid??
No, I am not being snotty. I am just posing some questions.
In our house, there were usually money arguments once I started to really come awake about wanting to really KNOW about our finances. I had gone for years letting him take care of all the finances and not really questioning his decisions. We were arguing about lots of other stuff and I had just let that area coast.
By the way, there is such a thing as financial abuse. It was not that extreme in our house, but it does happen. Financial abuse happens when one spouse keeps all the money, makes all the money decisions, and allows the other very limited or no money or access to the money.
Now to be clear, I did have access to the money, I just wasn’t sure if we had money to spend. I never was sure if we had money in the accounts and had a limited understanding of how he took care of the bills. He gave me an amount to spend and that was for groceries, household supplies, clothes, shoes, toiletries and everything else. Sometimes I could make it stretch far enough. Other times I had to ask for some more money.
I would really get mad when I was scrounging for money for milk for the kids and he was bringing home supplies he had purchased for some house project he was working on. But he didn’t get it yet. It took several heated discussions, yes, arguments, before we both came to the understanding that I had to know and understand what was happening with our finances!!
Finally, we figured out that we needed to be in partnership with our finances!! I need to know what is happening with our finances. He needs to make sure I understand and am an active participant in handling our finances. I needed to ask the questions and be involved in the financial decisions in our house. We became partners in our marriage for the first time in years! It was life changing for us!!
Many people get along just fine having separate accounts, having one person handle money, or working together with their finances. For us, we had to come to a point of handling and conquering debt together. We had to be able to create a working budget together, make it happen each month, and make the financial decisions each month together.
I had to understand some things about finances. I needed to learn how to put input into the conversation about money. He needed to allow my input. We both figured out finally, that in order for me to feel like I had value in this relationship, I had to have input into our finances and budget. We had to feel like our opinion mattered to the other!
We have learned that we are two different people when it comes to money. He is clearly a nerd. I am clearly a free-spirit. (I have learned that I have some nerd tendencies but tend still more towards a free-spirit.) And mostly, we have learned that it is ok to be who we are and still have input into the budget.
Now, we do have some money arguments. Not too many usually. They are discussions mostly. We both know what is happening with our finances. We both know how much is in our accounts. We both know what is in the budget.
We have conquered a HUGE pile of debt! That could not have happened as quickly as it did without the help of our two eldest daughters, who had contributed to the debt initially, but also, helped conquer that pile of debt! We four worked together to relentlessly wipe out that debt! Together we learned a huge lesson about credit cards and debt!! Today, we allow no credit cards in our household accounts and the only big debt we have is our house.
For us, money arguments triggered a partnership that has brought a healing in our marriage. It brought about an understanding and a valuing of who each one of us is.
You are going to have a marriage money argument. I encourage you to have that argument, heated discussion. Discuss your finances and understand them. Value your spouses leanings.
Blessings on your finances!!