Families, communities, and nations are stronger when financial information is known by all who are in leadership positions. Elder Marvin J. Ashton quoted a study by the American Bar Association that indicated that “89 percent of all divorces can be traced to quarrels and accusations over money.”
One way to achieve oneness with a spouse on finances is to discuss finances while dating. In their textbook titled Fundamentals of Family Finance – Living Joyfully within your Means,
E. Jeffrey Hill and Bryan L. Sudweeks discussed this topic. In chapter 13 Marriage and Money, the authors listed lots of questions to discuss with a potential spouse. Some of those questions are as follows:
Are you a saver or a spender?
What is your net worth?
What is your attitude about debt?
What is your attitude about financial help from family?
What is your credit score?
Do you currently have and live within a budget? If so, what are your living expenses each month?
How are you paying for your college education?
How do you foresee sharing finances and assets with your spouse after marriage?
How many children do you desire in hour family?
What is your expectation about who is going to earn the money in your family?
What do you think about tithing and other donations?
The authors taught that the purchase of “the engagement ring is the first major financial decision that you will make related to your marriage” (p. 177). The decision on the ring should be a joint decision. The second big expense is the wedding budget, and couples should avoid going into debt to pay for a wedding.
The authors gave four principles for handling money in marriage: (1) Spouses should be equal partners in financial decisions. (2) There should be total trust and transparency between marital partners. (3) Couples should work together to reduce and eventually eliminate debt. (4) Couples should counsel with the Lord in all thy financial doings.
In addition, the authors gave six practices for handling money in marriage: (1) Do your budget together and review it frequently. (2) Make major purchases together. (3) Agree to spending limits. (4) Sleep on big purchases. (5) Deal with financial disagreements constructively (remember H.A.L.T. – hungry, angry, lonely, tired). (6) Both spouses should have some mad money to spend on anything they desire without a need to account for it.
Marital partners can strengthen their marriage by getting on the same page with finances. By following the authors’ suggestions, they can strengthen their marriage, family, community, and nation.