Money, Marriage and Making it Work

December 20, 2012

in the generous life

Hi, all. I have a lovely guest post today. I’ve been wanting to write something about finances (the holidays often put people in a crunch) and Megan of Do Not Disturb offered me this post and I snapped it up. Enjoy.

“You know what, babe? When I was a kid I hated unwrapping socks and underwear on Christmas morning. But this year, I think that would be wonderful!”

I had to laugh last year when my husband said those words, because I understood that he was right. Things were so tight that unwrapping warm, cushy new socks and something other than thread bear underwear would have indeed seemed like a luxurious gift. Like many marriages, financial hardship has definitely run its course from time to time in our marriage. Sometimes this has been through mismanagement, some through poor planning and some through the sheer difficulty of life in general. Regardless of what has led down the path I have learned some things along the way.

Marriage is not always easy. In fact, there are times when it is downright difficult. Add money problems to that and it seems almost impossible to make it work, let alone enjoy it. But whether it’s financial struggles, or some other marital strain, there are a few things I like to remind myself and others when real life and marriage collide. These include:

1. Laugh Together.  

There is always something to laugh about. Maybe you can lighten the mood of a difficult financial situation by making a joke (like my husband’s joke about socks and underwear). Or perhaps you can watch a comedy together and find some common ground. A great way to diffuse a tense moment is to use humor. However it works for you, take opportunities to laugh every day with one another.

2. Learn Together. 

Learn what is important to your spouse. Are you slaving over trying to cook gourmet or exotic food when your spouse would be completely satisfied with PB&J? Are you bending over backwards to buy them a gift when a simple card and setting aside some time would make them feel more loved and appreciated? Learn about your spouse and how they feel loved. 

Learn about finances together. Dave Ramsey says that money struggles are the leading cause of divorce. Couples who don’t talk through their situation will never find a solution. Take time to talk about what your priorities are and then budget with that in mind. 

3. Love Together.  

Money cannot buy love. When difficult situations (financial or otherwise) shake the very foundation of your marriage, it is important to remember what love really is. Love is life lived as a promise, a commitment and a sacrifice for the good of another person. When things get tough, it is important to choose love. Remember your vows: for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part. Remembering these promises during financial or other hardships will strengthen your marriage and help make it work. Love really is a choice, and when you truly love one another your marriage will overcome the obstacles life throws your way. 

Megan is a wife, mother, mentor and blogger. Though passionate about many things she regularly writes and speaks about marriage and intimacy. She and her husband co-author Do Not Disturb, a blog about marriage and intimacy. They can also be found on twitter @_DoNot_Disturb and facebook.

 

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Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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If you are looking for financial help in the New Year, look for a Financial Peace University near you. If there isn’t one, you could read the text book for the course, Complete Guide to Money (by Dave Ramsey).

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The Great Jollyhoombah: The Value of the Diamond This is a new-to-me blog with an interesting message on learning to live your dream.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gaye @CalmHealthySexy December 20, 2012 at 7:04 am

These are really good tips. I encourage young spouses who are reading them to begin applying them now, early in their marriages. My husband and I were stupid about money for too many years – I would love to have a “do over” on those years. Also, begin tithing early – the payoff (so to speak) is huge.

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Tammy R December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Great ideas, Megan. I really love the Laugh, Learn, Love. (I see book title!) After 15 years of marriage, we have decided that having fun and truly living life is the key. We wake every day excited for what is to come. It was not always like that. When we first got married, we were finding our way with money and jobs. We bought into the whole idea of musts and shoulds and found ourselves living week to week and hoping for the next break/vacation. When we rearranged our lives to be together – in work and fun – our lives changed dramatically. I start every day with a five mile walk and great talk. I notice squirrels. I notice clouds. I notice my husband.

With regards to money, we both read our own copy of a popular finance book and revamped our budget, retirement, and savings. Since April 2011, we have been enjoying our finances. And we don’t make any more money! All because we both read a book and took action – together. So glad you are advocating the same!

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