In Marriage Matters

“I DO”… “TILL FINANCES DO US PART.”

If you ask me, I think 90 percent of us are never sure of the vows we speak before the Lord during our wedding day.

We rush through them, actually we “repeat after the preacher” word for word, never cognizant of the ramifications that those words bear.

We never holistically think through.

We never take time to go through the vows prior to saying I do.

We simply wait for the day to dance and have fun, unaware that 100 percent of the time in our marriages, will be spent trying to navigate through those two words, “I DO.”

My advice, before you get married sit down and ask yourself, “Do you? Really?”

You see we want to have an opulent and sybaritic wedding, ostentatiously costly and luxurious and in the most affluent places, be heard that the gown we wore was imported, and so were the suits.

We want to have fun, dance, cut the cake, throw the bouquet of flowers up and have the ogling girls run up to it. We are mostly vaguely aware of the work that lies ahead.

The hard work of tending, cultivating and building your marriage quickly begins. Submission becomes a big issue to you as a wife, and you as the husband, are ignorantly unaware of how to love like Christ.

Or maybe you do, may be you are well aware and very conscious about it but your SELF robe is way too comfortable to be stripped down.

Your way is assertive, never gentle nor kind. You are very harsh, a critique and your wife lives in your home as if it were in a prison.

The once bubbly woman, now walks with a tilted gait, head bent and shoulders drooped down, feeling as if she’s trapped.

Submission is more mechanical to her. Order is achieved at the expense of passion.

Sometimes it’s the other way round. The wife is too contentious that the husband is always on his defense.

The most destructive and unfavorable place to be is in his own house. He feels threatened, disrespected, dishonored and he either retreats to the “rooftop” or rules with an iron fist. All have to conform to the set rules.

He cuts himself off any sensitivity and anything that could spell vulnerability.

He would rather remain an emotional eunuch than have his ego trampled on. He holds all the aces and letting go of control is not an exception, it’s a rule.

Was it all worth it?

Yes “we do” when making out, “we do” when making love, but no “we don’t” when it comes to finances.

Is that really an abundant marriage?

Is that God’s way? His design for a marriage to thrive, not just to simply  function?

Is God that myopic about marriage? Or are we missing a link?

Could you genuinely say that you are totally honest with each other? Could you say that you are stripped? Naked and unashamed?

I have tried to shake this topic off me since the push began to happen.

What I do know however, is that it’s such beautiful but a sensitive topic, touching on the very raw nerves in marriage.

I can see you cringe!

It’s not a comfortable topic to discuss, and I mean discussing it with all soberness and quietness of the spirit, with our view pointing to Christ and not to ourselves nor our spouses nor the circumstances that could be there in our daily lives.

It’s not easy to talk about it, maybe even discuss it partly because of our own selfishness and self-centeredness, partly because of the “sins” we commit against each in marriage when it comes our behavior towards each other and to our finances.

Partly because money isn’t the issue, but management of what we have or have acquired is, partly because we hold different expectations when it comes to finances, partly because our upbringing differed, partly because we simply want to get married but remain single when it comes to finances, there could be a myriad of reasons why finances just makes us uncomfortable to talk about.

Money matters. Finances and possessions matter to God and that’s why the Lord is not shy to bring it to light with over two thousand mentions in the Bible. That’s a lot.

That’s so much that I wonder how much this matters to God. It does. It matters to God.

It matters because at the end of day, he calls us His stewards. We are the custodians of all that He has given us.

We created nothing! Naked we came and naked shall we return back home (Job 1:21). We are just but sojourners. One minute we are living and the next, we gone.

But do we really have that in mind when chasing down material possessions of this world?

Do we remember that when we are busy hiding “our money” from our spouses?

Do we remember that we just but temporal rooms, to incubate whatever God has given us and bring it forth for His glory?

The money we call “ours”, hiding our ATMS and pin numbers from our spouses, is not really our money. We are just administrators.

He did entrust us with dominion over the earth, yes, but it’s all His.

Genesis 1:26 says,

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

Silver and gold belongs to Him. Cattle on thousand hills belong to Him. God owns it all, and He can take it all away! If that’s what would prevent you from going through the narrow path successfully, then He can take it all!

Remember the parable of the servants? It’s all about stewardship. We are His stewards, temporarily.

My husband and I come from two different backgrounds who saw finances being handled from two different spectrums.

We knew that we shouldn’t keep secrets from each other when it came to finances.

We knew that financial transparency was inevitable when it came to building a strong marriage.

A marriage that is abundant and not just functional.

But what happens when you both have different ideas and opinions about how your money should be spent?

When you have the clash of wills when it comes to investment?

Who takes the “winning” cup, and should it be there really?

After all you are in a team together, aren’t you?

Then why do couples have moments of “celebration” and joy when a project fails – “because you told him/her so?”

Shouldn’t it cause you to draw closer to each, reach out to each other, re-group, rather than tear you two apart? The goal is finishing the race together, isn’t it?

We have had our lessons in the past years. Our clash led us to big financial losses that created an overwhelming tension between us.

Yes all that was in our first year of marriage. We fought. None of us wanted to bear with each other, but the Lord taught us. We learnt.

If you are single and waiting on the Lord, financial disclosure is of importance.

Not just saying what you earn but coming clean on any liabilities and debts you are in. (Questions to ask before marriage)

Well, ours was a hard teaching. The Lord had to take us back to some questions we needed to handle before progressing on. “Was our marriage really worth it?” “Why did we get married?” “Was this money really mine or ours?” “What is teamwork?” “Is being understood more important than compromise?”

Really, is the money you have yours?

The bible says that the earth and the fullness thereof belongs to the Lord, so clearly you are just but a steward of what belongs to God. (Psalms 24:1)

We all want to want to get married, but fail to realize that marriage, with all the good times, the fun times and times that we are all over each other, are just but a small fraction of God’s intentions.

Just as He longs for an intimate relationship with His bride (the church), so should our relationship in marriage exude.

The moment one of the spouse puts on the cloak of self, then God’s plans get tainted.

Intimacy is what He longs for. Intimacy in marriage is on so many levels, but most of us are never financially intimate. We barely scratch the surface.

He runs his projects and his accounts, you run yours too. You handle your individual families. No one knows exactly what gets in and what gets out. You have “your money” he has “his too.”

Money answers everything but the love for money brings death! If you love money more than God and your spouse, then truly you have a god. Eventually as I always say, the god will turn into a demon!

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, 

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its gain. This too is vanity (emptiness). It’s all vain!

No, I don’t have a silver bullet for this topic. I have never had a perfect idea of solving any conflict, but what God has taught us, is all I can offer and for that, I place all my confidence in the Lord who has taught us.

God’s idea for ONENESS, isn’t just about bonding our flesh together as we consummate the union.

It’s oneness in body, mind, soul, spirit and your strength. It’s ONENESS IN ALL. ALL means finances included.

That you can both sit down and agree on your family budget, who to assist, when, how often, what comes in, what goes out, what can be saved, et cet·er·a.

That you can be totally stripped before your partner in all honesty and truth.

The Bible says that “love rejoices in the truth,” but according to several studies, from 30 to 50 percent of all married people believe it is okay to keep financial secrets from their spouse.

We limit the truth to “whom we talked to”, “who winked at us today”, “who tried to flirt with us” but never go beyond that.

Not exactly a good idea for building a strong marriage!

Financial secrets run from the biggest to the tiniest thing you can think of.

For instance, running an account that your spouse has no idea about, sending money to persons unknown to each other, hiding about a certain amount of money you have received, feeling overly uncomfortable when finances are mentioned – all these are red flags that your finances are NOT YET ONE!

You might ask me, “Does that mean that we should open a joint account when we get married?” My answer is always YES.

What you will decide to do with that account is purely your prerogative, but a joint account creates discipline and financial intimacy between the two of you in this sense.

You might not necessarily discard your individual accounts, but it’s prudent that you both disclose, with all TRUTH what gets into that account, what expenses are anticipated and at the same time, have the financial discipline of saving jointly for a common goal, or even for a rainy day.

Financial intimacy means being accountable to each other on what is being spent or was spent and why?

Then you might also tell me, “If we do a joint account, then we won’t be able to surprise each other.” Therein provides a perfect ground for financial intimacy to continue spreading its roots deep in your marriage.

You could agree that out of a certain amount you are saving together, (hopefully the bills have been settled), some amount can be allocated to your own individual selves or accounts.

Probably to use the way you see fit.

But better still, why not get creative. You do not need to limit yourselves to grand gestures.

When you go for shopping, opt for a cheaper bargain, or look out for places with offers. It will definitely be cheaper.

Whatever change remains, get your spouse a heartfelt gift.

It’s definitely helped me a lot! Why not try that?

At the end of the day, accountability and honesty is what makes the foundation of FINANCIAL INTIMACY.

Then you might say, “My spouse doesn’t manage finances well. That’s why I would rather hide some money!”

The Bible says this in Proverbs 24:3-4

Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge its rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

So what happens if the marriage dynamics are a bit difficult? And your spouse’s habits are not exactly desirable?

First and foremost, if you are both earning and haven’t been truthful to each other. It’s time to put a stop to it and return back to God’s original plan. Remember you are just but stewards!

Talk on what needs to be talked about, talk about your bills, discuss about the demands that your extended family brings in, talk about your different temperaments when it comes to matters finance, communicate and communicate.

Do not assume that your spouse cannot listen if you haven’t tried! You might just be acting out of an assumption that’s not well founded.

And if you have ever talked and your idea wasn’t welcome, how about trying it again. This time be sober, welcoming and gently address your concerns to your spouse.

Sometimes our spouses are so quick to dismiss our ideas because of “how we package everything.”

My husband says, “everything should be palatable.”

I simply love that he taught me so. Package everything in a way that’s pleasing to hear.

Now back to the marriage that’s not as fluid.

Just because your spouse doesn’t manage finances well, doesn’t give you a caveat to keep some accounts secret from him or her.

Abigail had a narcissistic fool as a husband, yet still found wisdom to avert a calamity that was so inevitable.

The Bible says – skillful and Godly wisdom builds a house and by understanding it’s established, and by knowledge we get riches.

Couples are not called to enable each other to sin, in fact not just sin, but act out of folly. We are to promote godliness to each other and most of all, cover each other’s weaknesses.

We are to point each other to Christ more than point each other to ourselves.

We all know our financial situation in our marriages. So wisdom calls for us to handle what needs to be first handled.

The basic needs. Food, shelter, rent, fees, utility bills. That needs to be sorted.

Sit down and respectfully tell your spouse that a, b, c, d needs to be handled. It’s not a secret.

The catch is the “package.”

If you go shouting down your spouse for not being so apt in managing your finances, then you are a fool.

Proverbs 15:1 says

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Proverbs 16:24 says 

Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

They could be very poor, actually the worst with finances, but probably the best time keepers, the best initiators of any project. They follow through deadlines. Whatever the case, remain respectful.

Both couples need to agree on how to handle the bills.

No one should be made to shoulder it all consciously, unless you have agreed it to be so.

Yes a man should provide, it’s his PRIMARY RESPONSIBLITY, but not the SOLE RESPONSIBLITY.

Both need to put their God given resources into the family basket.

If the man is the breadwinner, then he should exercise his godly responsibility of servitude instead of making the wife feel as if she’s a second class citizen. His provision should exceed the material gain.

He should deal with his wife in understanding and love.

That way, she will respond to your Christ likenesses with sublimity.

She will relax in the arms of an advocate who is for her and cares for her needs.
1st Peter 3:7 says,

In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with an intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman.

Show her honor and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective.

He should encourage her to sit down with him and agree on how the finances will be handled.

She will feel enjoyed and cherished and respect will never be demanded.

If the woman is the sole bread winner, (probably because of a couple of factors that would make the husband not work) then wisdom calls for her to be “inclined” to the husband and have a godly disposition to regard him as the head of the family, without making him feel that he is not doing anything.

Proverbs 14:1 says,

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

How does she build? She builds in two ways.

With wisdom, knowing that she is the sole breadwinner, but her husband is her head too, so she has to regard his opinions too.

Then with knowledge, knowing that there are needs to be taken care of first. Stewardship is the word.

She might not really kowtow at his every request or whim, but will respectfully address her concerns to him on why the finances need to be channeled in a certain way, different from his way.

She should be careful not to demean him, disregard him or disrespect him.

Her tongue should be full of praise. Encouraging him to move towards his purpose as she asserts her husband’s leadership as wise, great and invincible – but give her differing suggestion or opinion respectfully.

As a matter of truth, she still should ask of his input in what they should do with the finances.

That way, he still feels needed and longed for.

What if your families demand to be “supported”? It’s true, that is almost in every marriage.

But if you do it in secretly behind your spouse’s back, therein lies a big problem.

Ask yourself this, incase anything happens, and God forbid it does before putting your home in order  – suppose the Lord calls you home, and your spouse has no idea “how much” you were sending or helping your family (relatives), where do you think that will leave them?

This is foundational to all of life, including finances and money matters. Could you say like Paul in Acts 24:16?

“In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men?

Do you have a blameless conscience before GOD AND THE MEN (READ YOUR SPOUSE) when it comes to finances and money matters?

My husband and I have constantly developed this in our marriage.

If his family needs help, he will always say, “let me check in with my wife, I will let you know.”

If ours needs anything too, I will say, “let me check in with my husband, I will let you know.” If we cannot be able to, after weighing all options, we help with whatever we could sacrifice. No matter how “small” it might look.

Then there are those needs that are “constant” in every family.

This is how we handle it. I handle their family and he handles mine. Requests definitely come in, but we after we talk and weigh in all options, we “swap families” and handle their requests.

We let each other take the “lead role” in our “swapped” requests.

Unity is created between you and your in-laws, financial intimacy grows and everyone knows that you indeed are one!

Is that achievable. Yes it is!

Cultivate openness. Talk about this hard subject with all honesty. Be one in your finances too, not just when making babies.

Above all, strive with all your heart not to love money more than the Lord.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1st Timothy 6:10).

Putting your hope in wealth is so uncertain.

Do not turn your heart away from the Lord for you cannot serve mammon and the Lord.

It’s not wrong to be wealthy, but let not wealth define you, instead let Godly wisdom do, because it preserves. Ecclesiastes 7:12

I DO…”Till finances does us part” should never be in a marriage, for God’s design for marriage was ONENESS.

#marriageworks

#Godspeed

 

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Mary Munene

Totally sold out to Christ. Wife to my amazing John. Blessed to be a mother of a beautiful daughter. The Lord perfecting us in our daily walk! I love marriage in Christ! It's so divine!

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