This was a very real question my wife and I began to ponder when we made the decision to get out of debt. As we were reading Dave Ramsey’s, The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, and seeking God’s direction for a specific plan we were sure of three things:
1. We would not remain where we were – it was either dive or thrive, sink or swim. Complacency was not an option.
2. We would not do anything that would strain our marriage – whatever we did needed to intentionally build our marriage.
3. We would not compromise what God called us too and who He called us to be – destiny and integrity would not be lost.
The result was a very real concept that began to flesh out in our marriage like never before, TEAM.
After talking with some close friends, our pastors, and other trusted people in our lives WE decided it would be best for her to stay in school full time and continuing working part time and for me to stay working full time at the church and get a part time job. My weeks just went from 40+ hours to 60+ hours.
Honestly, while I was super excited to tackle this debt, I was internally questioning, “Can I really do this? Do I have what it takes? I’ve never worked this much in my life!”
But, I soon realized that it wasn’t just me doing it, it was my wife and I doing it together. It was our community doing it with us. I intentionally went to people and shared with them what we were doing. Not to brag or boast, but to invite them into the process with us. I knew we were going to need constant encouragement along the way.
We had to be real with the fact that there would be weeks where we wanted to give up, not go to the second job, and flat out quit. But, we set ourselves up to have constant support, encouragement, and accountability by sharing what we were doing and asking those who loved us and believed with us to encourage us along the way.
So many people try to go about such a process by themselves and are constantly battered by the winds and waves of isolation and alienation. When they are feeling week they fold. Or, they fight so hard to prove to themselves and others they could do it that they began to do it for the wrong reasons. You don’t have to go this type of journey alone.
But, more importantly than becoming a team with the community around us, we became a team in our marriage. We began intentionally talking about our financial situation. When problems would come up we chose to be solution oriented and not allow fights to arise. We began communicating weekly and at time daily about our finances.
We began to set goals together and pursue them together. It was not her working on her spending or me working on my spending, it was US working on our spending, savings, budgeting, and reviews together. Rather than bash each other after we made a crazy purchase we would talk to one another beforehand. We began thinking selflessly about our finances and began to consider each other when we wanted to spend.
We also were intentional about the ways we needed to support one another. My wife realized how tired I would be during the week so she helped me to safeguard my schedule. She also helped out a lot more around the house to ensure our home could be an oasis for us. I tried more than ever to support her in school. I tried to find ways to encourage her or try to stay up late with her when she was working on an assignment, even though I REALLY had to grow in this area.
Until you get on the same page with your spouse you will constantly set off those relational landmines. We actually realized that when it came to finances we weren’t even in the same book, let alone the same page. This took intentional conversations, patience with one another, the ability to listen to and respect one another’s values in order to create new values together around money, and TIME.
Let’s Do This Together
Do you run from discussing the topic of money with your spouse because it always ends in an argument? How can you begin to act more like a team in this area?