Two People, One Budget: 5 Things I’ve Learned About Money, Part 4

GeorgeSLAVERY, ONE FLESH

As I went through the process of getting married, I heard from several different places the importance of money in a marriage. It’s a commonly held belief that financial issues are the number one cause of divorce. I think it might be too simple to say money causes divorce, but it makes perfect sense to me that money is somehow mentioned in the majority of divorce cases. Thankfully, Antonia and I both knew from the beginning that as married people, we would completely combine our finances. As I’ve been paying more attention, I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t necessarily agree with that practice. I hear a lot about couples that get married and just never get around to combining their bank accounts. Probably the most common situation that I hear about from listening to Dave Ramsey’s show as well as hearing stories from my dad (in his pre-marital counseling) is that both husband and wife maintain their own checking account and then have one joint account where they deposit money for the bills they have to pay. It actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. You are helping provide for each other by contributing your fair share to the rent, utilities and other bills. Then, on top of that you have whatever extra money you earn to buy the things you want as an individual.

Only problem is: that’s not marriage. That’s the relationship you had with your roommates in college.

I think that situation reflects our increasing understanding of marriage as an agreement that we enter into with the purpose of increasing our own happiness. We also tend to assume that a marriage is about fairness. If one person makes more money, then they should have more money in their bank account to spend, right? I could probably write an entire post about where that mentality comes from (Movies, TV Shows, etc.), but I want to focus on the fact that it’s crucial to have a healthy view of money within your marriage in order to be successful with money.

Marriage is about sacrifice. Period. That doesn’t mean that we don’t gain anything from being married, but like most things in life, what we gain comes through the sacrifice. The bible says that as a husband, I’m to love my wife the same way Jesus loved the church. What did Jesus do for the church? He died for her. Traditional marriage vows speak of giving ourselves to the other person as well as all of our worldly goods, which includes money. Anything I have also belongs to Antonia. WE have debt. WE have income. WE have financial goals. WE have a budget that we have to live by. Of course we have individual goals with money, and that’s part of the joy is putting our money towards the other person’s happiness. Why should I have my own bank account to buy things for myself unless I either don’t want her to know how I spend my money or I don’t want her to have a say in it. That isn’t marriage in my opinion. I should be choosing to give Antonia a say in all areas of my life because I trust her.

It’s a bit of a chicken vs. the egg situation when it comes to financial struggles and divorce. I don’t know if money struggles indicate problems that already exist or if money leads to problems in a marriage, but it’s very clear that it’s an important thing to consider.

LAMP OF THE BODY

Here are my thoughts on the movies I’ve seen in the last couple months in a few sentences:

ARGO- Incredible suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It also made me really admire the bravery of people that go through those things.

The Hobbit- Tried to bring the weight of the Lord of the Rings to a story that couldn’t hold it. It was silly dwarfs mixed with over-played melodrama. The Hobbit has great themes that are different from the Lord of the Rings. Rather than exploring those themes, it tried to inject the themes from Lord of the Rings where they didn’t really fit.

Django Unchained- Tarantino is so good at gritty, interesting dialogue it’s ridiculous. The movie was very well done but I found myself feeling strange about all of the violence considering where we are right now in our culture. It’s a cathartic experience to watch disgusting racists get blown away, but is that really good for anyone?

Lincoln- Felt like spending a long weekend at your grandparent’s house. There’s very little excitement and everything seems to move slow, but every once in a while there’s a nice moment where Grandpa sits you down and imparts great wisdom and you feel like you learned something. My admiration for Daniel Day-Lewis also grew. That guy is so good.

Les Misérables- Several people around me were in tears at the end of the movie. The story is one of the greatest ever with powerful messages and I think they did well with the movie. But for some reason the music doesn’t elevate the story to the place where it really moves me to tears. Maybe I just don’t like the operatic way of singing every word. However, I was told that seeing the right actors on stage can totally change that since Hugh Jackman and definitely Russell Crowe didn’t totally do justice to the music.

PATIENCE AND A GENTLE TONGUE

There’s a lot of buzz about the inauguration on Monday here in D.C. I think God put it on my heart to pray for the President’s safety on Monday. I guess I was thinking about all the anger and hate in our country and I think the people who pray should be praying for peace, regardless of our politics.

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