Every few months, I attend a special sort of budget meeting. There is no conference room for this meeting, no PowerPoint presentation, and very few attendees. It’s just my husband, Chris, and me at our kitchen table, sharing takeout dinner, our favorite desserts, and cups of coffee.
Huddled close together, we start with a prayer, and then we compare notes on the papers we have spread out in front of us. During that time we’re deep in conversation, sometimes laughing, sometimes serious, sometimes disagreeing. Once we’re finished, we pack the papers away, feeling connected, informed, and aligned.
This time that we spend reviewing our finances (our current situation, our plans, and our goals) is the business of being married and taking care of a family. We believe that a solid money management and communication plan is part of our biblical responsibility to steward God’s resources, and we see it as crucial to the health of our marriage.
We’re not alone in this view. According to Focus on the Family and a 2007 survey by Investment News, it is money—not sex or household chores—that couples between the ages of 18 and 40 fight over the most. In fact, money is such a troublesome issue that 82 percent of survey respondents admitted to hiding purchases from his or her spouse.
And even if they’re not outright hiding things from each other, I know many couples who avoid financial discussions. It’s not the kind of romantic or glamorous thing that you want to focus on before the wedding, but over time, financial management and communication can make or break the health of a marriage.1