So I’m not quite sure how to say this.
How I should put it.
But it goes something like this . . .
Sometimes life doesn’t go as we plan.
And maybe you think I’m talking about you and your plans.
But I’m not.
I’m talking about us here.
We didn’t plan on our daughter having to take Life-Flight out of the wilderness and over to the hospital when she suddenly went into anaphylactic shock.
We didn’t plan on my husband having emergency gallbladder surgery.
Nor did we plan on that same daughter having two more life-and-death ambulance runs back to the hospital.
No, this was definitely NOT what we would have planned.
Oh, and did I mention that we didn’t have medical insurance?
So basically, all of this added up to *ahem . . . . Well, let’s just say it put something of a strain on us.
As in, FINANCIAL PRESSURE.
Some of you know what I’m talking about here. Your reasons might not involve unplanned helicopter rides or a gallbladder turning gangrene (Did you even know that was possible??).
But you’ve had your own unexpected, unintended, and certainly undesired circumstances that have weighed you down.
Burdened you both.
It’s even possible that this financial struggle has invaded your marriage and taken it’s toll.
Financial trials are never much fun anyway and nobody really likes to talk about it. I mean, it’s not something you generally throw out at a party, or mention in passing at Bible study. Credit card debt, unmet needs, and unpaid bills are not exactly popular conversation-starters.
Yet it’s one of those “hidden” stresses that affects nearly everything—-even your marriage relationship.
Maybe even especially there.
Financial struggles can easily turn into financial strife.
So other than winning the state lottery, or coming into a large inheritance . . .
What can a couple do to keep from fighting over finances?
7 Strategies That Have Seriously Helped Us
Determine to face the financial challenges together.
Remind each other that you’re a team—even more than that, in God’s eyes the two of you are as one (Eph. 5:31). So whatever problems or challenges you’re up against, you need to face them together. Get on the same page as much – and as quickly – as possible.
Don’t blame your spouse.
It can be tempting to turn on the other person and accuse them (either loudly or silently) of something they should have done, or should not have done. Resist the impulse to blame and instead, embrace the responsibility of going forward together.
Come up with a plan.
Financial pressures can seem rather overwhelming. Messy, ridiculous, and maybe even impossible. It might be that one or both of you don’t want to look closely at the problem and try to carry on as if it didn’t exist. Instead of ignoring or denying the issues, it’s better to come up with a reasonable, concrete solution.
Decide what you can do without.
Sometimes we get mixed-up with what we don’t want to live without, rather than what we actually can live without. We really can live without a family vacation, a second car, or brand new clothes. We don’t have to eat out and our children are not truly deprived if they’ve never been to Disneyland. (Can you guess how I know all this? 😉 )
Be willing to accept help.
We live in an I-can-do-this-by-myself culture, so often we end up trying to “fix” things by ourselves, when God actually calls us to live in community. He says we are “His body” and we are to work and walk together (Eph. 4:16). Personally, we’ve been greatly blessed as people around us have offered to help in all kinds of wonderful ways. We are grateful and humbled by their kindness—-experiencing God’s goodness through His people.
Commit to prayer.
God invites us to lay our needs before Him. He also promises to give us wisdom, if we ask for it (James 1:5). We can convince ourselves that God isn’t concerned about our financial situation, or maybe even fall into an “we got ourselves into this, so we’ll have to get ourselves out,” but our Heavenly Father cares about our needs. Take it to Him in prayer.
It’s so natural to focus on all that is “wrong” and forget that we have much to be thankful for too. Instead of staring at that big bill from St. Charles Hospital, he and I can remind each other how relieved we are that our daughter’s life was spared. I’m grateful that I’m not a widow and his surgery was in time. We can list out all the many things that we do enjoy—some of the most basic gifts like food and flowers and love—and that alone eases the tension tremendously.
So I don’t know what your situation might be—if you’ve lost a job, can’t get work, have health issues, or unplanned expenses. Or maybe you simply haven’t handled your finances wisely. Whatever the case may be – as my husband often reminds me – this might not be what we had planned, but none of this comes as a surprise to God.
He knows our troubles and He cares.
And, above all, He wants us to walk in love together.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Phil. 4:6-7
*I would love to hear what else you might recommend! I also welcome questions, keeping in mind that my strengths are in marriage and family relationships, not financial matters.
Here are a couple of resources I can recommend. This classic by Dave Ramsey The The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.
And you might be interested in this free resource from Christy Fitzwater: Going Cash: Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up a Cash Budget.
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.