Big money = big problems, no money = no problems.
Okay, anyone who believes that, just stop reading right here.
Money is by far one of the most fought over issues in relationships. Next, blend two individuals from independent socio-economic backgrounds, and you’ve got an epic blowout just waiting to occur.
Second marriages are already statistically set to fail. National averages show about 63% of next time arounds end in divorce. Other than the frantic rebounding relationships, kids and ex-spouses, money is a leading culprit.
Fair, Not Equal
You must think in terms of fair, and not equal when it comes to dealing with every situation that requires money. Will you mix your money, or maintain separate bank accounts? While either plan has the potential to work, it’s hard to imagine that managing your own bank account wouldn’t lend itself to problems.
Unless there are binding legal contracts, wills, heirship, or annuities preventing the comingling of monies, God’s will for the union of two people entering into a heavenly covenant is for two to become one.
Genesis refers to becoming one flesh. It’s not a literal meshing of skin tissue, but of the very being of two beings. That includes your money.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
While you may prosper financially, or just get by with paying the bills with two separate accounts, you’re missing a spiritual blessing by not obeying God’s word to blend. If you chose to remarry, there can be no al la carte of blending. It’s not realistic to say I’ll blend the bedroom closet, but not your middle child. No, it’s all in.
When you’re money is just dating, it may have the tendency to venture out on it’s own expenditures, new people, or oppress your spouse. Chances are you earn different salaries.
The one who makes more, but only chips in to match their spouse on bills, mortgage, education, etc. rules over them according to God’s word. Relational inequity grinds against God’s grain. Remember the importance of Genesis: 2:24 – two shall become one.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
I’ll share that once Leah and I began to discuss marriage, the white elephant marched destructively around the room. I’d been a lifelong law enforcement officer. Even at my Chief of Police’s salary, her income as one of the world’s most successful authors was almost 20 times what I earned.
It wasn’t man-mind or alpha-ego, banging on my chest. It was reality.
I insisted we sign a prenuptial agreement. I had my pension and earned well, and I wanted to prove to her that I loved her as my wife, not as my supplemental retirement fund. Doing is one of my “love languages,” and I wanted to make a gesture.
She was insulted.
As a proud, independent man, God had placed a desire in me to care and provide for our blended family. That provision came in the form of man of the house, and not sugar daddy burning dollars.
Leah shared the theme from a Dave Ramsey course about being married, but your money still dating. It’s taken awhile, but I eventually began to share ownership of our family income as an equal partner in its stewardship. I’d like to share a few ways to marry your money.
I Now Invest You
- Combine all money accounts – except (a)
- Work together on developing monthly budgets
- Set financial priorities – include (b)
- Consult each other before big purchases
- Create realistic family financial goals
- Discuss money with children – appropriately (c)
- Skip the Pre-nups (d)
- Remember there are two other biological parents with or without resources and expectations.
- Remain flexible
- Focus on what really matters – 1 Timothy 6:10 (e)
(a) Monies you may have invested, saved for your child’s education, elderly care for your parent(s), or other historical investment strategies earmarked for specific interests. For example: Expecting one parent to defund their child’s college savings account to pay for the new spouse’s child isn’t fair. It’ll only cause division among parents and siblings.
(b) If one spouse has a set retirement, yet the other one wasn’t able to dedicate money to a retirement account, make it a joint priority to get that spouse caught up. Look for other opportunities to establish monetary equity for each spouse.
(c) Blended kids may include one side being used to a level of financial freedoms, while the other side only knew budgets and inabilities to enjoy flexibility. Explaining the shifting financial priority will prepare one side, while assuring the other of fair expectations.
(d) Like I said earlier, unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances, don’t prioritize legal agreements on how to work it out in case the marriage fails. Go all in and commit to make the relationship last–cash and all.
(e) 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.