Category: Finances

Wasted Energy

When is the last time you and your spouse had an argument about money? Was it the ‘same old issue’? My contention is that couples who continue to argue about the same thing over and over again need help. That is what motivated me to write my book:  Profit Sharing: The Chapman Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage.

When you argue, you are wasting energy. You don’t have a problem that other couples have not had. Perhaps you could find an older couple whom you respect. Share your struggle with them and ask for advice. If they don’t have an answer, they can likely point you to someone who does. Make money an asset to your marriage, not a battleground.

More Money?

Is money an asset, or a liability to your marriage? Much of the answer lies in your attitude toward money. If you are looking to money or the things that money can buy to make you happy, then money will be a source of conflict in your marriage. But if your trust is in God and you’re looking to Him for wisdom in how to handle money, then money will become an asset. Money is a great servant, but a poor master. Don’t let money overly influence the decisions you make. The bigger question is “How will this decision influence our marriage and family?” A move across the country may bring more money, but be detrimental to your family. In which case, less money is an asset.

When Money is in the Middle

Why is money often a source of conflict in marriage? For over thirty years as a marriage counselor, I have been listening to couples argue about money. “He could get a better job if he would try.” “All I ask is that she record the checks that she writes.” “Why can’t we save something?” Is the problem really money? I don’t think so.

I think it is a relationship problem. The first step is to write down the ‘money issues” on which the two of you disagree. Then one by one, look for a game plan that will make both of you winners. If you can’t agree on such a plan, then get a counselor or trusted friend to help you. You don’t have to spend a lifetime arguing about money.

Q&A: Wedding Budget How Much Is Too Much?

Q: My fiancée and I are at odds over our upcoming wedding budget. We don’t have much to work with, but she is willing to go into debt. How much is too much?

A: In our culture, we’ve tended to exult the wedding and minimize the wedding. The marriage is far  more important than the wedding. The wedding is one moment and one day. The marriage is for a life time. I would say, don’t ignore the dream and desire of your bride to have a beautiful wedding. But talk with her and perhaps some of her friends about how they can cut down the cost of the wedding. Many times friends are willing to pitch in to help you with the wedding. You want it to be nice to be sure but I don’t think you ought to go greatly in debt. It’s far better to spend your time and money preparing for marriage rather than simply for the wedding.

Q&A: Husband to do More as “Provider”

Q: I often feel unloved because my husband does not provide for our family the way I think he should financially. How can I encourage him to do more?

A: We have to recognize that in today’s culture, it is not always easy to get a job that will provide for the family financially. Many men are working but they are not making enough to provide for the family, and the prospects of finding another job are not very good at this point. So I would say that a wife, particularly at this juncture, needs to be very understanding. If he is making an effort, maybe he’s working two part-time jobs, praise him for the effort and hard work that he’s doing rather than condemning him for not bringing home enough money to feed the family. Also, do what you can to help him temporarily.

Q&A: Should The Husband Do The Finances?

Q: My wife thinks I should take care of all the finances, but I’m really not good at it. What do you suggest?

A: Some wives have the idea that to be a spiritual leader of the home, the husband should always take care of the finances. I don’t think that’s true. Some husbands are better than wives and some wives are better than husbands when it comes to keeping the books and paying the bills. I say, use your best teammate. We started off in our marriage with my wife keeping the books. Six months into our marriage she said, “Honey, would you be willing to do this?” I said, “Why?” She said, “It hurts my stomach.” Which means, we didn’t have enough money to pay the bills and she was struggling with deciding which bills to pay.

So, it really doesn’t matter which one of you keeps track of the finances. I’d say use the one who is best at it—the best team member. You two are on the same team.

Should the Man Make the Money?

Q: Should the man in a marriage be the soul bread winner?

A: Many women would think that would be nice but other women would say, “no, I want to be working.” The reality is, in today’s world, over 50% of the wives work outside of the home at a paying job. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s a totally different culture today in terms of how we get money and make money. But I do think the husband has the primary responsibility and the reason I say that is the wife is the one who bears the children. In the process of bearing children, there’s going to be a period of time when she will not be able to work. So the question is: What does the wife’s working outside the home mean to the marriage and family? If it’s detrimental, I suggest not doing it. If it’s helpful, I suggest it’s fine to do it.

 

Q&A: How do we come together on spending money?

Q: My husband is a spender and I’m a saver. We’re having a tough time coming together on this. Any tips?

A: It’s not unusual that one is a spender and one is a saver. Sometimes you have to go to a counselor who can help both of you hear each other and find a meeting place. I do think there is a meeting place—setting limits can sometimes be helpful on how much we spend in a particular month. There needs to also be some freedom to spend a certain amount in any way you want to spend it. However, setting limits is often key.

Q&A: I feel like a child in my new marriage. Now what?

Question: We are newly married; second marriage for my husband, third for me. I feel like he should add me to his checking. However, he has never mentioned it. I feel like a child who has to ask for an allowance. What should I do?

Answer: Talk about it. The fact that you are newly married is an asset. This is the best time to talk about such things. It’s normal for couples to have issues of adjustment when they get married. I suggest that each week you have a ‘family conference’ in which each of you brings up one thing that is bothering you and the two of you look for an answer. This gives each of you a time to get things on the table.

If it is done on a regular basis, you will process the normal conflicts in a positive way. If you don’t have a set time to talk, you will likely hold things inside until the pressure gets so strong that you explode and end up in an argument. Explosive arguments never enhance a marriage. On the other hand, sharing concerns and looking for solutions draws a couple together. Love is always willing to listen and open to change.

Q&A: I feel like a child in my new marriage. Now what?

Question: We are newly married; second marriage for my husband, third for me. I feel like he should add me to his checking. However, he has never mentioned it. I feel like a child who has to ask for an allowance. What should I do?

Answer: Talk about it. The fact that you are newly married is an asset. This is the best time to talk about such things. It’s normal for couples to have issues of adjustment when they get married. I suggest that each week you have a ‘family conference’ in which each of you brings up one thing that is bothering you and the two of you look for an answer. This gives each of you a time to get things on the table.

If it is done on a regular basis, you will process the normal conflicts in a positive way. If you don’t have a set time to talk, you will likely hold things inside until the pressure gets so strong that you explode and end up in an argument. Explosive arguments never enhance a marriage. On the other hand, sharing concerns and looking for solutions draws a couple together. Love is always willing to listen and open to change.

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