Making financial decisions in a marriage can be difficult, even if you think you know everything about your partner. Living with someone and joining bank accounts for the first time can open your eyes to habits and beliefs that you were completely unaware of before.
Financial differences are one of the leading causes of discontent in marriages. For example, if one spouse is an adamant saver while the other likes to go on frequent shopping trips, differences in values may cause tension.
Marriage as Financial Unity
The Bible defines marriage in a straightforward way:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
“Becoming one flesh” might sound purely physical. But married couples know there are many ways in which we become closely intertwined in each other’s lives. As a marriage grows, the individual partners become each other’s support systems. They create continuity in each other’s lives and allow the other to be vulnerable when things go astray. They also empower each other to find meaning in their lives through individual career endeavors, charity work, and the joint task of raising a family.
However, creating this union takes hard work. If we want to feel fulfilled inside and out of the marriage, we need our partnership to be a place of support and security. Financial security is a big part of this. Combining two people’s finances allows you to have more security and accomplish bigger financial goals.
Creating Union With Differing Financial Personalities
Financial security is a hallmark of marriage stability, but how do you achieve that when your spouse has different spending habits and attitudes from you? They say opposites attract, and in our experience, this often comes out in how we spend money.
Differing financial habits often come from our personality traits and upbringing. One spouse might have been raised in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. In that case, they might experience more anxiety surrounding their finances and tend to feel less comfortable making big purchases. A more spontaneous spouse might wish to save less so that they can create experiences.
Leaning too hard in either direction can cause troubles in your relationship. Good communication about finances is key to having a successful marriage.
One way to address different money values is by learning about your partner’s reasoning behind their choices. Consider asking your spouse these questions to open up communication about money habits:
- Do you value saving for a rainy day, or do you enjoy spending in the moment?
- Do you feel responsible for providing for your family financially, or do you receive significant satisfaction from your career and prioritize its advancement as part of the meaning in your life?
- How much money do you need in savings to feel secure?
- How much disposable income do you need to enjoy your lifestyle?
- What was your parents’ financial situation as a child? What about your financial situation before marriage?
- What is most important for you to give to our children one day?
These questions can help you make more significant decisions down the line, like whether to keep your bank accounts separate or how you’ll divvy financial responsibilities between your incomes. They can also help you empathize with your spouse’s fiscal mindset and help you play to each other’s strengths.
Charitable Giving And Values-Based Investing As a Family Decision
In addition to supporting a family and your vocations, a marriage can also serve God’s Kingdom by supporting charitable work. By giving your time, attention, and money to philanthropic organizations or your church, you can join your meaningful contributions to the world and find unity in your passions. This can happen through values-based investing as well as charitable contributions.
Values-based investing allows you to make an impact in meaningful industries through your investment vehicles. This creates financial stability for your marriage and family and serves God’s purpose for your marriage.
If values-based investing sounds like the right avenue for your financial plan, talk to a OneAscent advisor today to learn more.