Click below to listen to Episode 71 – For Richer Or Poorer

For Richer Or Poorer

Learn about biblical wisdom in regards to marital finances.

Marriage is a game changer. You are becoming a team, a unit. It starts out full of promise for a hopeful future, but sometimes life gets in the way of happily ever after, and we soon run up against conflict. Since money is THE most common cause of friction in most marriages, Bob and Mary Jo have made an episode focusing specifically on finances in marriage.

One of the hardest things for most couples is managing money in a way that promotes harmony and unity in the household. Some of the topics covered in this episode include:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Common Goals
  • Proper Communication
  • Organization
  • Tithing

 

This is such an important topic that there are a number of books written on the subject, and God has a lot to say about money in the Bible. In fact, the Bible refers to money over 5000 times, sharing a tremendous amount of wisdom in regards to finances. With today’s secular worldview young marrieds can easily get caught up in the trap of consumerism if they don’t first start out with a Biblical worldview.

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®
58 – What’s Your Money History?
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59 – What’s Your Money Style?
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Money Before Marriage
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Before You Say I Do
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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.

[EPISODE]

Bob:
Genesis 2:24, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” Deuteronomy 4:40, “Keep these decrees and commands which I am giving you today so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord God gives you for all time.” So are you thinking about getting married or maybe you’re already engaged?

Mary Jo:
Today’s episode of Christian Financial Perspectives is “For Richer Or Poorer”. Bob and I are going to be sharing financial wisdom for young adults that are engaged to be married, maybe thinking of taking this step, or maybe even newly married. It’s such an exciting and promising time in life.

Bob:
A biblical marriage is about two people becoming as one, and I tell you, it takes a lot of years for that to happen to become as one. But being intentional and thoughtful about how to enter into this lifetime covenant to glorify God is the foundation of a great marriage. The closer you draw to God, the closer you draw to each other as a husband and wife and vice versa.

Mary Jo:
Young love. It speaks of promise and hope for the future. It’s such an exciting time in life. For my husband and I, we had already become great friends before we started dating, so I already knew he was a good person and he’d already sparked my interest and you know, there was a deep friendship there, so I’d already checked off a number of my criteria, if you will, for friendship and thought maybe there could be something more. But when I saw the level of respect for which he treated his parents, as well as my own parents when he met them for the first time, this just did it for me. I knew he was a keeper, and this is the one. This would eliminate a lot of conflict that happens in many relationships. So it reassured me that he knew what was important in life. That helped open my eyes to what was important longterm. What about you, Bob?

Bob:
Well, I tell you what, the first time I met Mike, he struck me as such a great guy.

Mary Jo:
Well thank you.

Bob:
You got a good one there. Okay. About me. I’ll tell ya. It was a little different. Rachael and I were not friends, you know, at all. We didn’t even know each other but I saw Rachael and sometimes I wonder, okay, was this a little shallow at first cause she just knocked my eyes out. But it was interesting. I just knew somehow that the first time I laid my eyes on her that she was the one, I mean it was just, my heart jumped and within an hour of meeting her as a total stranger, I even told my college roommates, Hey, I found a girl I wanna marry. They’re like, Oh, you’ve flipped out, boy. I met her on a Friday night and being the old country boy I was back then and working on a ranch and working at the Luling livestock auction on the weekends. So the first date – I met her on a Friday night and I said, Hey, would you like to go out tomorrow? She said, well, sure, you seem like a nice guy. And so I said, I’ll pick you up at 10 in the morning. And she didn’t know what I was, you know, 10 o’clock first date – AM. So I picked her up and I went and taught her how to shoot a shotgun.

Mary Jo:
Oh, that’s an interesting first date.

Bob:
She still says, he taught me how to shoot some old soapboxes. It’s like we had some tide boxes and I put them across the stock tank and I said, here’s how you shoot it. She said, this boy is definitely a country boy and but you know, from that day forward, we just never left each other’s side. I mean it was just a magnet. The next day, which was Sunday, I took her to church with me. You know what she told me? She said, you’re the first boy in college to take me to church. And from there, we both got heavily involved in the youth ministry. So there it was. It was love at first sight. We’re still married 35 years later. I mean it’s not been easy all the way, but we’ve always kept Jesus Christ as the center, and he is the glue that’s kept us together.

Mary Jo:
Oh, that’s a great story, Bob. And you know, marriage, it starts out full of promise for a hopeful future, but sometimes life just gets in the way of happily ever after and soon we run up against conflict. One of the hardest things for most couples is managing your money in a way that promotes harmony and unity in the household. And it’s no secret that the most common cause for failure of a marriage is a breakdown in communication, and that generally always stems from money – money disagreements, that is. Money is the most common cause of friction in most marriages. And I think that’s pretty universal.

Bob:
I will tell you, Mary Jo is, it’s been some conflict in ours, so I totally agree with you because this is such an important topic. There’s some great books that I want to recommend to a newly married couple or someone who’s about to get engaged when it comes to money. One of them was a mentor of mine. He’s no longer here, but his name was Larry Burkett, and he wrote this book called “Money Before Marriage” and it’s actually a little workbook and it addresses issues like your spending personalities, budgeting, beliefs about money that are formed as you’re growing up, and other fundamentals that will keep those money issues from becoming those money pressures in marriage that cause so much conflict. So that’s one book I would highly recommend is “Money Before Marriage” by Larry Burkett. Another one is a book called, “Before You Say I Do” by Norman Wright and Wes Roberts. I’ve known about Norman a long time, and this marriage preparation guide for couples is full of tried and true wisdom to help plan a solid future for your marriage and build a lasting relationship with that one you love. The authors explore what makes a person feel loved, how to handle conflict, the issues surrounding children, financial priorities, and biblical teachings on marriage.

Mary Jo:
Those are all just such great books and such great topics. It made me think about our previous podcast on money styles and money histories and we all have that that we bring into the relationship. So, understanding what you’re starting with is a great starting place. It brings me to where do we start? I think the first place to start is with prayer. This is true with most things in life. Financial decisions are really spiritual decisions and they say, “Where goes your heart so goes your money.” God actually has a lot to say about money, and the Bible shares a tremendous amount of wisdom in regards to money. In fact, the Bible refers to money over 5,000 times.

Bob:
That’s quite a few times. And I want to mention that again what you said, because we’ve said this a lot on Christian Financial Perspectives, that financial decisions are really spiritual ones. I remember when I heard that the first time by Ron Blue, who was a recent guest on our podcast. That struck me. All you have to do is look at someone’s checkbook to see how they feel about money.

Mary Jo:
As Kingdom Advisors, that’s something that we understand very well, and it’s true about all your financial decisions.

Bob:
With today’s secular worldview surrounding us, young married couples can get so easily caught up in that trap of consumerism if they don’t first start off with a biblical worldview of money. Again, that’s a biblical worldview. Look at that through the lens of the Bible. We go from celebrating young love, and then it quickly turns to celebrating stuff if we’re not careful.

Mary Jo:
That is so true, Bob. You just kinda think about this series of events that happens. A marriage often starts out with celebrations to honor the young couple, and as you’re engaged, you have showers and parties and it’s all about gift-giving and all of a sudden all the wedding presents flow in and gifts to help the young couples start to build a home and start at housekeeping. But it soon begins to snowball if you’re not careful. It becomes about acquiring stuff and more stuff. The newlyweds, they want it all and they want it yesterday and they’re not willing to wait. What happens? They’re in this acquisition mode. They need new furniture to furnish their new home. They need all the household goods, the kitchen supplies, the bedroom furniture and all of that stuff, and they’re acquiring this stuff probably on credit cards, and then pretty soon it just overwhelms them and they become in debt and it can easily carry over into the marriage.

Bob:
Some good wisdom for young couples is don’t try to keep up with your friends and it’s all over social media on Pinterest and Instagram and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, you know? I mean, I hear that’s a thing, but I’ve never watched it. But you know, I think people get the picture. You don’t want to build a lifestyle built on that consumerism and stuff. They start off so many times, you know, with this desire to furnish that new home that’s going to be picture perfect because of what you see on social media and that money is spent to entertain and show off that new home filled with furniture that maybe you financed. You didn’t pay cash for it. There’s the China and the towels and the coffee bar and all that stuff – lots of stuff. Then you need that fancy car to drive, but really can you afford it? So just be real careful of that. Don’t rely on debt, especially in the beginning years – or ever, but especially in the beginning of years of your marriage. Don’t start off that way because it’s hard to get out of it. You can get into debt so quick, but then it’s so many years to get out of that debt.

Mary Jo:
This podcast, it’s our voice and we speak from our experience, and Mike and I went down that road and it is not pretty, so I’m speaking from the heart when I talk about this. Did we also mention that they often enter into this marriage and the consumerism and the debt, but they’re also carrying with them a heaping pile of student loan debt from college and that’s what they have to start with. Pretty soon your financial situation, it’s in chaos. Financial distress breaks out, conflict starts, and it’s a slippery slope. Today we’re going to share some advice on how to avoid this trap. Here on Christian Financial Perspectives, we believe there are two important truths about money. God owns it all and we are all called to be good stewards of our God given resources. And you know, life. Life is about decisions. Decisions determine destiny. Financial decisions are really spiritual decisions in disguise as we started off speaking about.

Bob:
So when we’re young on the cusp of a promising future together, how do you avoid this trap? First, you want to get on the same page together, gain agreement about what you want your financial future to look like. So we’re going to go into many key financial topics, and let’s take a look at some for setting up harmony in your marriage financially. First, let’s think about your bank accounts. Should you mingle them or not? You know, one of the most common questions is should you maintain separate bank accounts? And this is a major decision and one that should not be taken lightly. It’s a very personal thing. Having your own money to spend as a of power. Without it, a person can feel trapped to build that lasting relationship. Though, we encourage you to come together in prayer about this decision.

Mary Jo:
For some people, it’s depending on when you enter into your marriage that this can be more or less of a challenge. In the case with two professionals, you’re both earning a significant income. This can become difficult, especially when you both enter into the relationship with prior financial obligations. Dividing that up, you have to pray about it and talk about it and come to an agreement.

Bob:
Yeah, and you know there are those challenges if you are getting married later in life. Maybe this is your second marriage because you lost your first spouse or just didn’t work out, and there could have been trust issues in that first marriage for you. So this really requires a shared vision and don’t place your new spouse in the same category as your last spouse. Be very careful of that. Most thought leaders in the Christian community agree that shared finances, though, are the way to go because it creates unity in all areas of our life, including finances. And I will say with Rachael and I, we have always done that. Everything is together. It’s not separate.

Mary Jo:
We did the same thing, Bob. Since the beginning of our marriage, we’ve always approached money with an “ours, not mine” approach, although I often joke, I say, what is ours is ours, what is his is our,s and what is mine is mine. But, that’s all just really in good fun.

Bob:
That’s a lot with women. They always say that.

Mary Jo:
It does, it has to be a partnership or it’s really doomed to fail. And as you mentioned earlier, it’s not always easy and it hasn’t been easy for us, but I wouldn’t change the approach at all. There were certainly times that trust was broken and it became difficult to repair, but over time and with prayer and effort, we did repair it. There’s time and a desire to get better at this that goes a long way towards healing. We didn’t start out with a biblical mindset and this was probably where it all went wrong for us. I think the most important lesson we learned is how blessings can flow in a marriage from mutually agreed upon goals and money management. When we weren’t in sync on these things, there were more hardship than blessing.

Bob:
Yeah, I can definitely see that.

Mary Jo:
So after a number of years, we’ve learned that it worked best when we agreed on what we could spend over a certain amount without first talking it over. That was an important step that we came to. You know, at first we didn’t have a lot of extra cashflow, so it was $25. Now, it’s certainly more like if we’re going to spend over a $100, and even though we can afford a whole lot more, it’s just out of respect for each other. And that will depend on your income level. So any personal spending beyond that amount, it should really be a shared decision. And this gives us each the feeling that we can spend if we choose to spend, but within certain constraints and boundaries. It’s about principle and sharing common goals.

Bob:
So if I’m hearing you right, any decision for y’all that’s below a %100 you don’t share with one another, but if it’s above a $100 you do.

Mary Jo:
Yeah, we kind of use that as a guideline.

Bob:
Okay. That’s a good one.

Mary Jo:
And I feel like if I’m going to be out shopping or whatever, I have the freedom to buy a certain amount, but if it’s going to have more of an impact on the household budget, I need to be respectful and we need to talk about it and he does the same. But you know, we have friends that kept separate accounts and I could never really see this as an option or really as I thought about it, how that made sense. So how do you save for shared goals, like a new home purchase or even a vacation or even something much bigger like retirement when both parties, you’re not rowing together in the same direction. What if one of you is a spender and the other one is a saver? So one of you is saving towards that retirement goal, but the other one’s going out and buying trucks and four wheelers and things along that line. That’s kind of sexist, isn’t it? It was just a hypothetical example.

Bob:
Us guys and our trucks.

Mary Jo:
That’s right. So how do you reconcile these differences? Bob? What about you and Rachael? What were some things that have worked well for you in this regard?

Bob:
Well, it’s a lot like what you were saying. You know, we’ve always played a row in making those major financial decisions together, but not getting caught up in the minor ones. So, in our marriage, except for the first year when I was starting the business, it’s always been my responsibility though, and this is unique, you know, to earn the income needed for the family and Rachael’s responsibility was to manage the household, which meant seeing to it that all the bills were paid. And this just worked out really good for us. We were thought by so many people – you’ve heard me say this to you many times – that we were the “Leave It To Beaver” type family model with all our kids growing up. Our kids’ friends were always astonished at how great all the meals were that Rachael made for them and sent them to school with. They’d kind of look on like, could I have some of that? And you know, they’d want to come to eat at our house. And we always had our meals together every evening. Not around a TV. We turned the TV off and mealtime was just a real time we were together. And our kids’ friends, they love to come over to our house because we spent that family time. So, I know I got off a little bit on that, maybe away from the finance, but really that has to do with our harmony, and Rachael and I try to this day to be a really strong team that we’re going the same, you know, that we’re evenly yoked together with no confusion of what our roles are. I know my responsibilities and she knows hers, and this just makes a great marriage and our family works well. Like the old saying and I bring in the bacon, the earnings, but then she helps so much on the financial end and making sure all that budget is carried out. Does that make sense?

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. It makes sense. And you know, you talked about the family that eats together, stays together. Growing up, we ate together as a family as well. There was an expectation that everyone was there for dinner at night. I think that was a difference maker. And my husband and I do that as well. You know, we try not to eat in front of the TV and really focus on each other.

Bob:
I gotta admit though, we’re a little guilty now since the kids are out, we do watch Wheel of Fortune together and eat together.

Mary Jo:
Well. Okay. We do that too.

Bob:
I’m a wheel guy, a wheel watcher.

Mary Jo:
I’m a little over Pat Sajak and Vanna White right now. I’ve got a little overload. But yeah, that is true. We do that. But we still try to make it an important meal. Maybe it depends on what we’re having. When we’re having steak, we eat at the dining room table.

Bob:
But when the kids are over, it’s all TV’s off. Let’s be a family and share that time, and iPhones turned down.

Mary Jo:
Oh, absolutely. Yes. They are not in our hands and we are not focused on those. So there’s another scripture that I think speaks to all of this. “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” And this is Matthew 19:6.

Bob:
That really sums it up. That is a beautiful scripture, and that’s what we’re aiming to become. Sometimes, it takes 30 or 40 or 50 years.

Mary Jo:
Yes. So the next advice topic, if you will, is common goals. Do you share the same short and longterm financial goals? If you have the same goals, you will both be more inclined to work towards those goals as a unit. Otherwise, you’re fighting against each other. When that happens, you’re setting your relationship up for constant turmoil and that’s just not good. It’s not gonna work longterm. You’ve got to learn how your future spouse sees money, how they view risk, and what their longterm financial objectives are. Are you on the same page? Can you get in harmony on this? You want to think about what you want your money to do for you and share this with your spouse. So get clear on your individual and joint financial goals. Create that vision of what you want your future to look like.

Bob:
Like a great question to ask each other is what do you see the vision for your financial future in say five years and then write down 10 years, in 25 years, and don’t just talk about it. I think it’s a good idea to sit down and actually write these down, you know, because we know that when you write the goals down, it’s so much more likely to happen. And when you write it down, you’re really seeing what each other thinks about that. Do you want a small house in the city, like we say, with that little white picket fence, or do you want that mega mansion in the suburbs? Hopefully not. Or a ranch in the country, I got that. That’s where we live. You know we live on 17 acres or that cottage at the beach. Hey, that’s not bad either. But talk about those things. Where do you see yourself living? How do you see yourself living? What cars do you see yourself driving, and be careful of getting caught up in materialism because that will really come out when you talk about this. Do you both agree on how you want to raise the children if you’re blessed with that? Do you want to homeschool? Do you want them to go to a community college or a prep school or an Ivy league education? Boy, you need to think about that because there’s a lot of saving that you need to do that. And do you think the kids should be expected to contribute financially, if they do want to go to a school like that?

Mary Jo:
I think so many people enter into marriage and parenting without talking about those things, and then they become a source of conflict down the way. But if you’re going to have to save for those educations and you’re not in sync on that, it’s competing against your other financial goals. It’s really important to have that vision. Are you both in agreement on tithing to the church and how much that should be and when? When it comes to home repairs and remodeling, are you do it yourselfers? Is that your personality and your approach to fixing things around the house? Or are you someone who picks up the phone and call someone and wants to hire someone else to do it for you?

Bob:
Cha ching, cha ching. They’ll say, we’ll be out. That’d be $200 just for us to come out. Yeah.

Mary Jo:
And you know, Bob and I often joke and we can use my husband as a comic relief on our podcast a lot. A man needs to know his limitations. Mike is best left with not a hammer in his hand.

Bob:
Oh poor Mike. Here we go picking on Mike again.

Mary Jo:
So we make a call.

Bob:
When you said about agreeing on that tithing, and that is so important because you know this is a scriptural principle and this is why it’s so important to be evenly yoked – that you both love the Lord and that you know where you stand when it comes to your Christian beliefs and how you feel about the Bible. Because it’s very clear in Malachi 3 that you bring the tithe into the storehouse. And this is something that I could see as conflict if one of you thinks that you should obey that and the other doesn’t. That can definitely create conflict.

Mary Jo:
Another area that ultimately leads to financial conflict. How do you view your relationship with your extended family, your parents, your grandparents, your siblings? Do you agree on how you should see them, how often you should see them? Do you live nearby? Are you in the same community or do they live across the country and will you travel to go see them – once a year at the holidays. And if travel is needed, how much and how often? This all has to be entered into in the budget before luxuries are counted on. So, these are just some examples of questions you should explore together before you say I do, not after. It’s impossible to plan ahead for every scenario, but when it comes to these big things, just make sure you’re in harmony on those.

Bob:
Yeah, and like you said, if you could talk about that before, but there are so many things that come about because of life. The next area that is so important that we’ve been kind of emphasizing all along is communication is really that key to success. You know, this entire podcast is about communication and how important it is to establish those lines of communication before, not after, you walk down that aisle. There are ways to do this effectively and when you enjoy that really healthy dialogue about money matters, you can work as a team. It’s a way to agree on those goals and work together with a common purpose. So when you share the same vision for the future, boy it becomes easier. And you do this before, because afterwards you don’t want to be going in opposite directions. We have some really good best practices to use in talking with your spouse about money. This comes from our own personal experience and learning what works and what doesn’t work from friends, family, and quite frankly our clients that have told us this.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely, we’ve experienced it. We deal with clients all the time through our financial planning process, and we kind of become counselors in that regard. Another good thing that we want to talk about as a best practice is scheduling those regular family financial huddles or financial date night. When you come together to talk about your money decisions. And here you’re going to agree to discuss your financial life together. I kind of recommend doing it on a bi-monthly meeting basis or more frequently in times of financial stress. This is a planned meeting to go over the family finances, the budget, the balances, and to set priorities and make plans on how to best achieve those priorities. Once you agree on the priorities, can you agree on a course of action? If yes, discuss your expectations of who, what, when, where, and why, and how all of this is gonna play out. And if you can’t agree, can you find a compromise? If there’s no compromise, agree to postpone that decision and that discussion for a later time. And we really want to encourage you to be disciplined about this. Coming together in a family and talking about these things repeatedly – discipline – that’s a great best practice.

Bob:
You know, Mary Jo, I’m looking over at your notes across from me, and I noticed one of the things you wrote down that I think – I don’t know if I heard you mention it. Did you mention to call it a money date?

Mary Jo:
I did.

Bob:
I was thinking, huh, now we’ve been married 35 years and I have got to admit I’ve never said, “Hey Rachel, let’s go out on a money date.” But that’s a good idea.

Mary Jo:
It’s a meeting. It’s a date. So yeah, I thought it made sense.

Bob:
You might want to pick a lower priced restaurant when you do that.

Mary Jo:
Eat at home. Do it over the dining room table.

Bob:
A second thing that we talk about – this is so extremely important and wise – is to practice active listening skills. Not just talking skills but listening. Because if you don’t know what this is, you need to learn it because there are a lot of resources to help you learn how to listen better. You know, ask questions to make sure you understand. And I’ve learned to do that as I’ve gotten older. Someone will say something to me and I’ll say, “Is this what you said?” And they’ll say, “No, that’s not what I said.” Then I need to come back and say, “This is what I think you’ve said.” So, give everyone a chance to be heard without judgment or shaming them in it. Let them say what they need to say, listen to them, and then maybe repeat back to them, “Is this what I heard you say?”

Mary Jo:
Listening and hearing are two different things.

Bob:
There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Right?

Mary Jo:
That’s exactly right. I had a boss say that to me one time. I think it was little ears, big mouth. And it should be the other way around – little mouth, big ears. So, it’s a visual for you to leave you with.

Bob:
Well, scripture says the tongue is like a rudder and you know a rudder could control a whole ship.

Mary Jo:
There you go.

Bob:
Yeah.

Mary Jo:
You also want to recognize that emotions often run high during periods of stress. So as you’re having these money dates, money huddles, conversations around money, tensions escalate, agree to take a break. Take a breather. Reflect on what has been said and agree when you’re going to come back together. But don’t let too much time pass. If things get heated, take a step back. Say, “Let’s just take a break and let’s come back together in 20 minutes.”

Bob:
It never hurts to pray about it.

Mary Jo:
Oh, that’s great advice, Bob.

Bob:
Fourth thing we’ve got here is agree on a saving strategy, and this just goes back to sharing some of those common goals. Determine how you’re going to work for those common goals such as retirement or maybe that first home or that vacation home. Ask yourselves, what are your personal wishlist items, such as maybe that new mountain bike or those nice new shoes that your wife wants.

Mary Jo:
You can never have too much money or too many shoes. That’s my thought.

Bob:
Okay. That’s why we have different perspectives here. You know, a male and a female. Rachael’s got a lot of shoes. I got to admit and I got about five pair and that’s all I need.

Mary Jo:
As you walk through this, one of the most important things is to be gentle with each other. Be kind and be respectful. Use the language of love when you’re speaking with your spouse, always. And use this time, this money huddle time, to discuss money challenges in regard to your family, especially as your family grows. As kids enter the picture or as your parents age and their care requires a commitment on your part of either time or money. Some of us are sandwiched between the kids and aging parents, so you want to use your huddle time to discuss and hopefully come to agreement on how you’re going to handle these challenges as a family. Gain a clear understanding of each other’s situation, your family dynamics, and any expectations that you have for that. As younger adults, we see our grandparents age, and we see how our parents help and facilitate that. At some point you’re going to have to kind of step in and help facilitate your parents as they age. How are you going to approach that?

Bob:
You really want to think about this in your marriage is just creating a balance of power in regards to that money. In other words, it’s not fair that one spouse should shoulder all the responsibility for all the finances. It’s important that both of you are knowledgeable when it comes to that. Because really, how we’re imbalanced can have two very different negative aspects to it. One spouse gets all the blame and the other one feels helpless, which only adds up to more stress. Now, I want to mention that was just under the communication. There were seven different things that we talked about and there’s a lot that we’re sharing today. So as we do this podcast, we always put the notes from the podcast on our website, which is Christianfinancialpodcast.com and you can go see all this, because we have a lot more to share today because there’s just so many important things. We want this to be a positive thing for you. We want nothing but the best for your marriage.

Mary Jo:
Oh, that’s a great reminder, Bob. Thank you. Over time, you will learn each other’s love language and you’re going to learn what triggers emotional reactions in your spouse. We encourage you to listen to our previous podcast on money styles, which was episode number 59 and money histories, which was episode number 58. Both of these podcasts have tips to help you learn to communicate with those you care about more effectively.

Bob:
I’ll tell you what, and that has so much to do with the way we look at money is how we grew up with it.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely.

Bob:
So, the fourth thing is seek wisdom and knowledge about financial matters. Boy, this is so important. You know, they say that wisdom is the skill of living life well and I believe it. As Christians, we just really encourage you to seek biblical wisdom like we talked about – money and the use of it. It appears in different forms over 5,000 times in the Bible. There’s over 2200 scriptures that deal with stewardship, and we’re both Certified Kingdom Advisors and we agree that biblical wisdom is timeless, transcendent, accurate, universal, and practical and God is the source of biblical wisdom. What he said then holds true today and never changes. Biblical wisdom, it improves our confidence. It provides that peace of mind. It provides that eternal perspective and helps us focus on God’s agenda. I’d say that’s pretty powerful. So, as Christian mentors and financial experts ask questions, read books, research the things you’re not sure about, consult with a trusted financial advisor. Take a class. Know what you don’t know, and make a commitment to educate yourself. This is being a good steward of what God has given us.

Mary Jo:
Also, you want to organize your financial life. Keep good records from the start. Keep good financial records about budgeting. The planner in me always says that before you leave on any trip, you have to have a map and plan how you’re going to go to reach your destination. So how will you divide the household duties and chores? Is one of you better at managing money? Is one of you naturally more organized than the other? It makes sense for one spouse to take the lead in managing the household finances. But it’s important that both spouses have their hands in it and how this is done, so that you’re both contributing and all the weight, as we mentioned earlier, is not on one person’s shoulders. You also want to start a filing system that works for you both. So if one of you needs to find where the checkbook is or where the bills are and where they’re kept and make sure that you both know how this is organized. If you’re driven by technology, create a spreadsheet that you both can use and refer to it as the center of your discussion around your finances. But remember, it’s the discussion that’s important. It’s the important driver, not the actual spreadsheet. It’s the communication that’s important. Keep track of your spending. Most banks and credit cards, now, they have tools to help you do this. There are apps that will help you like mint.com. Take advantage of those. Download where your money is going.

Bob:
We have that great app that we use for Christian Financial Advisors that helps you with all of your budgeting, and it goes in once a day and it looks at all of your bank accounts and it puts them in categories. So, if you went to the restaurant, it’s going to put that in food. If you go to gas, it’s going to put that in fuel. You know, if you go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and it’s going to put that in home supplies. So these apps today are so great where you used to have to go physically put it into a spreadsheet, and now today if you’re using a debit card, it just automatically will do that for you. Next is planning ahead for that strong family. You know, stewardship is a biblical concept that speaks to how well we care of our God given resources, and this applies to both money and our family. So as you look farther down the road in your marriage, it’s important to plan for success. Most of the time that involves planning for a family. What we mean by that is planning for the kind of family you want to have and you want to have a strong family. And I hope so. And if so, how? Then there’s a lot of attention paid today to what’s wrong with our families. But in a study that we found by the university of Nebraska, researchers looked at the strengths of successful homes and families and they found six common qualities that define strong families. Number one, strong families are committed to the family. Number two, they spend time together. Number three, strong families have good family communication. Number four, strong families express appreciation to one another. Number five, strong families have a commitment to following a biblical worldview. And last, strong families are able to work together the solve problems in a crisis.

Mary Jo:
Bob, as I look at this list, I believe the key to each ingredient is faith and godliness. Successful families have parents who take the lead in each of these key areas. Whether you have children or not, you and your spouse become your own family unit. And it’s important to talk about how you see these traits playing out in your new family. How will you develop and maintain a spiritual commitment within your family?

Bob:
So as we get to the end, I encourage all of our married couples, whether they’re just getting started or who’ve been married 35 years like Rachael and I.

Mary Jo:
37 like Mike and I.

Bob:
Oh yeah, you’ve got us beat there, don’t you? Stay committed to keeping God at the center of your marriage, read the Bible daily, pray together on a daily basis, be involved in a Bible believing church, attend a small group of fellow believers on a weekly basis for accountability. The closer you draw to God, the closer you’ll be as a couple and the farther either of you are away from God, the more isolated you will become from each other. There’s an old saying that the couple that prays together stays together and I believe it’s true. And I’ll tell you, it works for my wife, Rachael and I. Couples I know that have consistently stayed married a long time not only pray together but they do all these things that I just mentioned, like reading the Bible, being involved in a Bible believing church, staying committed, keeping God at the center, and that small group is so important to that accountability group.

Mary Jo:
Mike and I belong to a small group and we’ve done that in recent years and we both get a lot out of it. So, I think that’s a big component. The best advice we can give any husband and wife is whenever your financial issues begin to create stress in your relationship, always start with prayer. There is no substitute for God’s wisdom.

Bob:
We’ve covered a lot of information today, and like I mentioned about 10 minutes ago on the podcast, all this is for you. We always take the podcast and then we have a person, God bless them, they type all this stuff out while we’re talking. And then we put that in our website for Christianfinancialpodcast.com, and you can actually see all those things that we talked about. And I would encourage you to go to our website and download that. Print it out. And you know, maybe you’ve been married many, many years, but if you know a couple that’s just engaged or about to get married, this would be a great resource to share with them. So, let them know about this podcast. And as always, Mary Jo and I are here to help and you can give us a call at the office during office hours at (830) 609-6986. Again, (830) 609-6986 or go to our website at CISwealth.com and hit the contact us page and you can email us right from there.

[CONCLUSION]

Mary Jo: You’ve been listening to Christian Financial Perspectives. Join us as we explore more about how to apply biblical wisdom to your financial situations.

Bob: To make sure you don’t miss any of our podcasts, you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit out website at ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.

Mary Jo: That’s all for now.

[DISCLOSURES]

Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.