The Power of Agreement

So what good is a budget if you are the only one using it? What if you are trying to be budget conscious and your wife keeps handing you piles of receipts from her purse? What if your husband is constantly impulse buying, and even though you would love to be out of debt, you feel like you are powerless to do anything, or you feel like a nag because you try? How do you make a budget work when you have two very different people and personalities trying to come together in their financial life?

Marriage is a lot of hard work. It is absolutely the best adventure, but like any worthwhile adventure, it takes preparation, some kind of plan, and you are going to need some money. Seriously, finances are the number one reason that couples fight, and also a very popular reason for divorce. This topic can be so divisive and full of landmines, largely because everyone in the world comes from different backgrounds when it comes to money. Some people are afraid of spending money; others can’t stop spending. Some people love to save, while others prefer the endorphins of shopping. Some people take any attempt at a conversation about finances as an attack, and others prefer to duck their head into the sand and pretend their finances aren’t there. No matter what your background is when it comes to money, if you are married… God has called you to walk with this man/of woman and so there is a way to unity in your finances.

My husband and I have had to talk through all of these issues. We are unique people, from different financial backgrounds, with differing passions. I love to save money, he loves for there to be breathing room in our budget. I am passionate about finances, and he is passionate about me… but not so much about finances. We have had to learn how to come together, and how to speak the same financial language so that we can agree. I can honestly say, that our finances are such a peaceful issue in our home now. It’s not because we stopped being ourselves or stopped having individual opinions, but because we have discovered that we can accomplish so much in our finances if we are willing to come together.

This coming together is so amazing because in coming together you will find the power of agreement… and man, is it powerful! What an amazing gift that God has blessed you with in your partner in that the two of you can come into agreement and bind things in heaven or on earth and set them free. In fact, I believe one of the most wonderful tools you have in marriage is the power of agreement, because you can even set yourselves free. As you come into agreement about your spending, about your situation, your debt, your dreams, your goals, it can be the most liberating thing in the world for your marriage. Especially if one partner has been carrying all of the financial burden, the power of agreement somehow lifts that load as you realize that you are not alone.

Now, if you are single, you are not alone either. I want to address the very unique challenges of finances and being single, but I think that I am going to write a whole blog on it, because you definitely deserve your own day. But I did just want to say, that God is with you today. So please don’t despair as I talk about marriage and the power of agreement, because He has not left you alone in your finances. He is always with you, and talk about powerful, there is something incredibly powerful when you come into agreement with God over your finances!

So, in marriage, how do you come into financial agreement? Well, the key to that is communication. You have to start to talk about your finances. In too many marriages, one of the partners has enabled their spouse to revert to a sort of parent/child relationship when it comes to finances. “You handle the finances honey, and just tell me what I can spend.” In other words, “you take all the responsibility, and I’ll just be the child.” In other marriages it may be that the spouse has been the one saying, “Don’t worry about the finances, honey, I’ll handle them.” They may mean well, but they are denying themselves the power of agreement and the freedom that comes in financial unity in a marriage. Ignorance is not agreement… It is time to include your spouse in what is happening in your financial life.

Starting this budget is a wonderful way to do it. It is not pages and pages of bills and figures. It is a simple sheet that can open the doors to discussion about your finances and help you to establish goals together and talk about your dreams. So here is how you do it. You take my budget which hopefully you have made your own and filled in all of your bills and expenses, and then you sit down with your spouse and say, “Honey, here is what we make each month. This is what our mortgage/rent is… our water bill… our phone… etc. What can we live on when it comes to groceries? Can we come into agreement on how much to spend on eating out and then hold each other accountable? What are we saving for? What dreams do you have when it comes to finances? Maybe we could each have a separate savings account for our dreams, mine for a new couch, yours for a new laptop? This is what we spent on Christmas last year. Let’s make a plan for what to spend on Christmas this year and then start a savings account towards that and include it in the budget. Does this feel too rigid anywhere, or can we live on this budget? Can we agree on this budget?”

Then after the conversation, print two copies of the budget, one for your spouse and one for you and then keep this conversation going all the time. Every time you sit down with your bills you need to be having conversations about where you are in your finances, your goals, your dreams, with your spouse. This will both encourage them and it will bring you both into that incredibly powerful place of unity. I don’t think it is possible to actually get out of debt as a married couple without agreement. You both spend money. You have both created your debt, whether knowingly or unknowingly. It is going to take both of you being willing to take responsibility and being willing to talk about your finances. But as you come into that place of agreement, I truly believe that anything is possible.

So if you have not had a conversation like this one with your spouse, it is time. You are in a marriage, you are not their parent, and you need the power of agreement in your finances. Your spouse may not want to take responsibility, they may not want to know, but that ignorance is going to kill your finances and sabotage both your marital peace and your budget. Obviously, if your spouse gets overwhelmed easily, then have the conversation in bite size pieces, but you have to still have it. The key is to start a conversation that is ongoing and brings you into unity. This conversation doesn’t all have to happen in one day, it just needs to happen.

This is also not the time to beat your spouse up over their spending habits, or issues. Division has already cost you dearly, and attacks on each other are just going to bring more division. Your heart in this financial conversation is agreement (not coercion!), which means you need to hear each other’s hearts and try to facilitate each other’s dreams. Pray before it, sit together and talk about your fears when it comes to money and then take that to the Lord. This may be the start of not just a turning point in your finances, but a turning point in your marriage. The power of agreement will set you both free… so what are you waiting for?

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:19-20