budget

3 Powerful Secrets That STOPPED Our Money Fights

When Jono and I first got married, I used to dread our family budget meetings. We would only do them once a month or so, but it always resulted in both of us getting tensed and irritated with each other. He would come up with a plan for the money, and I would just nod and agree to hurry the meeting along. During the month though, I would do stuff that wasn’t in the plan, and we would end up arguing about it at the next budget meeting. I wanted to go out to eat, plan vacations, and go shopping. He wanted to get life insurance and start paying off our student loans.

After months (couple of years?)  of going through the same cycle, we decided to sign up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. And oh my goodness, it literally changed our relationship. The more I learned about money and the importance of budgeting, the more I learned about myself. I realized that my attitude towards our budget meetings was because I felt intimidated.

 I had never really followed a budget. Before I got married, all I did was make sure my bills were paid and my car was running. The rest of my money just kind of floated away as stuff came up. So when they introduced the concept of making a zero-balanced budget to us, it blew my mind. It was up to me to tell my money where it would go instead of the other way around. I had to think ahead of every possible scenario and plan for it in the budget instead of getting taken by surprise when stuff came up.

When we were done with that class, I felt so empowered. Now my husband and I were finally on the same page. Now I understood why he was constantly thinking of the long-term. I got why he was so adamant about leaving the savings account alone instead of dipping into it when we ran out of cash.

We decided to go ahead and make it our goal to put $1000 into an emergency fund. It felt so good when we saved up that money! It felt even better when our car blew a tire and we didn’t have to scramble to try to find money to replace it!

Now I realize that the main reason why couples fight over money is so simple: money highlights the differences in each person’s mindset.

Every time we talked about money, it was plain as day that Jono is more of a long-term thinker, while I’m more concerned with here and now. He likes to plan ahead and have everything laid out, but I’m more of a free spirit, just going with the flow. He likes to strategize and think through problems, but I tend to avoid things that intimidate me. I like to stay in my comfort zone.

So what do you do when you and your partner are opposites?

1.       Embrace your differences. Instead of trying to change your spouse or making them feel bad about they way they are, focus on their positive aspects. There’s something that each of you can learn from each other that will help you both become better people and enhance your relationship. I can honestly say now that Jono’s need for routines, plans, and strategies have helped me see the benefit in being more organized. I try to be more intentional about planning out my day and what I do with my time, as well as our money. He sees the benefit in being flexible and being able to go with the flow when things come up.

2.       Try to understand each other. There’s almost always a deeper reason for your partner’s actions. Jono didn’t realize that my lack of experience with money made me feel intimidated and anxious. I’m pretty sure that if he had, we would’ve taken Dave Ramsey’s class a lot sooner.

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 I didn’t realize how important it was to Jono that our family had financial security. I knew he had grown up in a household where money was very tight, but I didn’t realize how driven he was to make sure our family didn’t have to go through the things he had to go through as a child. He had to wear the same pants and shoes to school every day. They never turned on the AC so that the electricity bill would stay low. I never had to go through that, so when he was being super strict with our budget, I felt like he was trying to control me. We both needed to understand each other better, and thankfully now we do.

3.       Remember that you’re on the same team. I used to feel like Jono was trying to control me when we would have our budget meetings. He thought that I didn’t care about his wishes. We were both wrong. When we took that class together, a part of a relationship finally clicked into place. We decided to be intentional about working together on our budget instead of Jono coming up with a plan by himself. When we did that, I found it easier to speak up about the things I really wanted to do, and we found ways to put it in our budget. It was so simple now.

Working out our money differences made us so much happier as a couple. It made us appreciate our differences instead of trying so hard to make each other change. And that’s why our relationship is so amazing!

Want to learn more about how to make your differences STRENGTHEN your marriage instead of weakening it? Sign up today for our FREE training!

Talk to you soon!

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Is My Husband Really Supposed To Be In Charge Of Our Decisions?

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Huntsville. Back then, we didn’t have kids  so we were free to just wake up when we felt fully rested. I got up and cooked us a gourmet breakfast of scrambled tofu and pancakes. We were young, just married, and trying to be healthy. Oh, the memories.

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As I cleared the dishes away my husband said something that made my stomach drop in dread.

“Babe, I wanted us to sit down and look at the budget today.”

Ugh.

Why couldn’t we just keep enjoying our peaceful Sunday morning?

I plopped down next to him on our couch with my arms folded as he pulled out his laptop. In a couple of seconds he had Dave Ramsey’s Budgeting Spreadsheet up and was scrolling through the numbers.

“So here’s our monthly income….” he started off. Then he scrolled down to our expenses. As he punched in the numbers and the amount of money left to budget decreased, I felt myself growing more anxious and frustrated. We hadn’t even reached the section for our personal spending allowances and the money was almost gone.

Ugh.

“…..so I think to save money we should….” I nodded silently even as I tuned out what he was saying. Why did I need to keep listening? I already knew the gist of what he was saying: We’re on a tight budget and can’t really spend much on ourselves.

For months, even the first few years of our marriage, this was my attitude when it came to our finances. I didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of figuring out how to save and spend our money, so I just left everything up to my husband and just waited to pull out my personal spending money.

After a while I realized that I couldn’t continue this way. How could I say we were a team when I was basically dumping the responsibility of our finances on my husband?

I started being more engaged in our budget meetings. I brainstormed strategies to cut expenses in some places so that we could have more flexibility in other places. A few hours after one of our meetings my husband sent me a text that said, “You being involved with the budget really took a lot of stress off me. It’s so much better when we work together.”

Awww. That made me feel happy.

It also forced me to take a good, long look at my approach to our marriage. I realized that in a lot of ways, I was being a PASSIVE wife . I used the “biblical” example of male leadership to cop out of actively engaging in problem-solving in our marriage.

Basically, I was leaving the “adulting” to my husband and expecting him to work out all our problems. I was trying so hard to avoid potential conflicts over money that I became disengaged from the decision-making process.

Wives, we CANNOT be this way.

Our husbands can’t be great husbands unless we help them be great. Our husbands can’t truly lead our families unless we’re standing beside them. They need us to actively engage with and support them. That doesn’t happen with you just standing there letting him make every decision.  
By avoiding conflict, you’re making yourself a spectator in your own marriage and in your own home.

Only by working together can a husband and wife set the tone of the home. Together, you and your husband will determine the life your family lives .  Together, you decide on the vision and values of your family. Only when you actively work together can your family have the legacy you want.

But husbands, I got something for ya’ll too.

Some husbands like to use what they interpret as the “biblical” model of male leadership to run their houses like a one-man show. They think whatever they say should go and that their wives should just swallow whatever reservations or doubts they have and go with the plan.

Nope.

Sorry, but I’m not sorry. This view of leadership is completely WRONG.

God said, “It’s not good that man should be alone.”

You hear that? You shouldn’t be alone. Not in life, and definitely not in decision-making. You NEED your wife’s input. She can see things you can’t because her perspective is different from yours. Just like the story of the 5 blind men and the elephant, you can only see the whole picture when everyone on the team shares what they see.

She thinks it’s not a good idea to launch that business?

Ask her why and actually LISTEN to what she’s saying, not to come up with a rebuttal, but to understand her perspective. She may see holes in your plan that you didn’t see yourself.   

Some husbands brush off their wives opinions because they have such a high opinion of their own intelligence, not realizing that we all have expertise in certain areas. Instead of teaming up with your wife to overcome life’s obstacles, you’re treating her like she’s a player on an opposing team. 

This will only push her away and make her feel unimportant and undervalued.

You don’t want that do you?

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.” Basically, Christ’s love for us should make us be more intentional about being united with our spouse. It should motivate us to strive to be on the same page, or at least work on getting there without making the other person feel obligated to just go along with whatever we decide.

I feel like there’s so much more that can be said on this topic, but I’ll let you guys respond and pick the conversation back up in another post soon.

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Take care!

Kay

P.S. Check out 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage! It's written by one of my favorite marriage bloggers (and fellow Canadian :-)

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