Today I'm linking up with Chrysalis for Marriage Monday. This week's topic is money in marriage.
Since I read one of the writing prompts asking for God's supernatural provision and another regarding giving, the same illustration keeps coming to me so that's where I'm going to start.
My husband worked for what used to be one of the best companies in town before wage freezes, reduced hours and massive layoffs were ushered in. Back in 2005 he received the dreaded "Warn Letter" notifying him that in 60 days he would no longer have a job. The situation looked bleak to say the least. It would take a miracle, seventeen people with more seniority than him accepting the buyout and voluntarily leaving, for him to keep his job.
If this were not enough, it also coincided with our making a commitment to go on a mission trip to Kenya - pricey to say the least! I have to be honest here and tell you that finances were the least of my worries. I went to the informational meeting for the trip thinking once I explained my physical limitations I would be politely rejected. Since we're now planning trip number five, obviously this has been more than the one hour out of my life that I planned on investing.
While I was praying like crazy (again, to be honest), "God, make it clear this is NOT what you want me to do!" Bob was also praying like crazy to make sense of things from a financial standpoint.
It never did make sense. Bob was loosing his job and God was calling us to go to Kenya.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." ~ Malachi 3:10
Neither of us had a clue what we were going to do long-term, but we proceeded to make plans to go to Kenya since, despite my prayers to the contrary, that was the one thing God was clear on.
By trusting Him and staying the course, rather than taking matters into our own hands and doing what made sense to us, we were able to experience a miracle.
Through what little we had and the generosity of others, we were able to pay for the trip to Kenya.
When we returned home, Bob still had a job! He needed seventeen people with more seniority than him to leave and eighteen did, putting him one man up from the bottom!
Get on the same page
Of course, in order for us to be able to handle this stressful situation successfully, we had to be on the same page. Because of traits learned from our family of origin and personal spending habits I doubt any married couple starts here, but by God's grace we can all get here. But how?
1. Be honest about your concerns.
I have an accounting background and balanced my checkbook to the penny. Bob never wrote anything in his register, which I knew would drive me crazy (I later learned, much to my relief, that he did keep track on the computer.) Our solution was to keep both checking accounts, adding the other's name to each, so we could each continue in the way we were accustom.
2. Be considerate when it comes to spending.
Early on, we set a limit on individual expenditures. Anything costing more than the amount we agreed on we would discuss before making a purchase. Not only does this give both parties input, it also eliminates any major impulse spending.
3. Be responsible with God's money.
Yes, I said God's money. "the world is mine, and all that is in it." ~ Psalm 50:12 When we tithe we're not giving God 10% of our money, He's allowing us to keep 90% of His money. Yes, money is a tool God gives us to use, but I don't believe His intention was for us to use it all on ourselves. Do you really need a new electronic gadget just because a new one came out? Just because we can afford something doesn't mean we should buy it. Before spending anything, think of how you'd feel if someone else was using your money that way.
4. Be content with what you have.
"The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble." ~ Proverbs 19:23 Honestly, the less stuff you have, the easier life is. Ask yourself, "Do I own my possessions or do my possessions own me?" Simplify, simplify, simplify!
Lord, I thank you for bringing Bob and I to the place where we can be of one mind (most of the time!) when it comes to finances. Thank you for your gracious provision. Help me remember that all we have is really yours and enable us to use our resources in a way pleasing to you.