Create a Ten Commandments of Money
Today’s post is a brief excerpt from one of the chapters from my 2014 book, Elevate Your Marriage. Look for more along these lines in the form of an e-course coming up in 2015.
Because the emotions run so deep when it comes to money, couples often will struggle to communicate their feelings accurately, succinctly, or at all. Find out more about Financial Infidelity.
Here, then, is a suggestion that can quickly communicate what is important to your marriage when it comes to money. Grab a sheet of paper and list your Ten Commandments of Money. You can even add it to the Vision, Mission Statement and Goals document created in Practice 3. What are the ten things that you consider to be “sacred” when it comes to managing money in your relationship? What is important as a couple about dealing with credit cards, erasing debt, saving for college, giving to the local church, homeless shelter or charity? Here is a quick example of what my list would look like.
- Purchases above $500 need to be discussed.
- Thou shalt never have to pay late fees.
- We shall talk about our finances weekly.
- There shall be no secret accounts.
- We will share equal access to all accounts.
- We shall check our credit together annually.
- We shall maintain savings equivalent to six months of income.
- We shall contribute systematically to a college fund.
- At every possible chance we get, we will save and use cash instead of credit.
- We must contribute to our local church and other Christian causes.
No two persons would compile the same list, and that is fine. The idea is to compare and begin to discuss your lists to find common ground and places of compromise. My wife’s list would undoubtedly say something about balancing the checkbook to the penny at every moment: mine does not. As we begin to understand what is important to each other, we begin to see how we approach money matters differently. But don’t be deceived: differences are strengths, not weaknesses. It is a part of God’s humor to pair a devout saver with a live-for- today spender. Those differences come from places in our life and childhood experiences and they have deep meanings. Talk through the differences and learn to celebrate them as strengths that are divinely provided to balance your relationship, not destroy it. As you compare your “Ten Commandments”, work toward consolidating your two lists into one. You now have effectively communicated a point by point framework that you can begin to connect your marriage around.