Welcome to the third and final installment of the 5-5-5 of Finances series! I hope you’ve found it encouraging so far. The other two posts discussed hindrances to, followed by benefits of getting involved in your finances. And now, finally, here are some ways to get started.
This may seem obvious, but I have to admit that prayer is not always the first solution that comes to my mind when I’m facing a challenge. But prayer is absolutely where you should start, and continue (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Pray for peace (Philippians 4:6-7). You don’t even have to know what to pray for (Romans 8:26). A cry of “Heeelp!” qualifies as prayer! I have also prayed this prayer from The Power of a Praying Wife.
Lord, I commit our finances to You. Be in charge of them and use them for Your purposes. May we both be good stewards of all that You give us, and walk in total agreement as to how it is to be dispersed. I pray that we will learn to live free of burdensome debt. Where we have not been wise, bring restoration and give us guidance. Show me how I can help increase our finances and not decrease them unwisely. Help us to remember that all we have belongs to You, and to be grateful for it. I pray that [your husband’s name] will find it easy to give to You and to others as You have instructed in Your Word. Give him wisdom to handle money wisely. Help him make good decisions as to how he spends. Show him how to plan for the future. I pray that he will find the perfect balance between spending needlessly and being miserly. May he always be paid well for the work he does, and may his money not be stolen, lost, devoured, destroyed, or wasted. Multiply it so that what he makes will go a long way. I pray that he will not be anxious about finances, but will seek Your Kingdom first, knowing that as he does, we will have all we need (Luke 12:31).*
Renew Your Mind
Change is hard, and lasting change is even harder. I know because I’ve changed a bunch of times! 😀 Some changes have been permanent (I don’t nag … as much … I don’t think?), but I long for change in other areas (confidence, and freedom from worry). Romans 12:2 tells us how to not only change, but be truly transformed. It happens when our minds are renewed. When we are truly convinced of an idea, it shows up in our attitudes and actions. And the best way to change our financial (and marital) attitudes and actions is to adopt God’s ideas, which can be found in Scripture. Here are just a few:
- Everything we have is from God (Deuteronomy 8:11-18; 1 Chronicles 29:14, Psalm 24:1; 1 Timothy 6:17).
- We should be grateful for everything God has given us (Psalm 95:2, Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- We should honor the Lord with our finances and be generous with our material blessings (Proverbs 3:9-10; Proverbs 19:17; 1 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 John 3:16-17).
- We don’t need to worry about money (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7).
- We should encourage, help, love, and respect our husbands (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Proverbs 31:12, Titus 2:4, Ephesians 5:22, 33; Colossians 3:18).
In addition to reading what God has to say about money and marriage, I encourage you to memorize passages about issues that are especially difficult for you. (Which means, I need to meditate more on God’s faithfulness!). Hide those verses in your heart (Psalm 119:11), and see if they doesn’t pop into your mind at just the right times. When I’ve been tempted to ignore the bills on my desk, or put off a much-needed budget chat with my husband, the Holy Spirit has reminded me of Proverbs 27:23 and Proverbs 3:27-28. When I’ve worried about my job, He has comforted me with Lamentations 3:22-23.
Get the Right Advice
Another way to dip your toe in the pool of finances is to get some good advice. It could be tips for saving money or getting financially organized. You might find helpful strategies for getting out of debt. There are lots of books, blogs, and programs out there, which is not surprising—it’s something we all think about, even when we don’t want to! But not all of the advice out there is Biblical (trying to get rich quick, for example, is discouraged in Proverbs 28:20), and it doesn’t all put marriage before money. So find what I like to call “covenant-minded” resources that encourage you to work with your husband and for your family in managing money. And, I must add, don’t feel condemned if someone’s highly successful approach doesn’t work for your family right now, or ever. Unless it’s from God, you don’t have to do it, even if it worked great for someone else. That also goes for anything on this blog, obviously. 🙂 Take what works for you and leave the rest!!
Track Your Own Spending
Recording your own expenses for 30 days, or even two weeks, is a relatively easy way to start learning where your family’s money goes. I say “easy” because you can start right away and do it yourself. It can be a little painful, though. For me, it was a real eye-opener. Keeping track of my spending for a few weeks revealed how much I was spending on fast food and unnecessary grocery trips. It was surprising because I don’t consider myself a big spender. But this little examination led me to make changes—meal planning and paying with cash—that saved 20% on my food spending. And even though I didn’t ask him to or even suggest it, my husband started doing it, too!
Talk to Your Husband
To me, this one is the hardest. My husband is an extremely kind and calm person, and he wants me to be involved in the finances. Still, it is not always easy for us to talk about money, for reasons I’ve mentioned in this series and other posts. But partnership requires communication. Not about every expense and transaction. But enough that both parties have a good idea of what is going on.
If the thought of sitting down at the kitchen table with your husband to TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET fills you with overwhelming dread, there may be other less intense ways for you discuss money. There are also less intense aspects of finances than THE BUDGET; you can find small places to start, such as suggestions for reducing expenses (if that’s necessary). And you may not need to start a conversation. Your next step could just be having an open and willing heart the next time your husband brings up the subject of money. But whoever brings it up, be respectful of your husband and appreciative of his efforts. In other words, you might not want to say, “I’ve done some research and compiled a list of mistakes you have been making, in addition to changes I intend to implement.” And if you do discover problems, pray for humility and patience. Examine yourself (Matthew 7:4-5); it may be necessary for you and your husband to forgive. Be led by the Holy Spirit, and consider asking God to show you your role in financial and marital restoration.
I pray that this series, and this blog, have been a blessing to you. As I’ve said before, money may not be a fun topic. But it’s not a bad word either. Rather, know that God is working in your circumstances for your good (Romans 8:28).
Thank you very much for stopping by,
* Taken from The Power of a Praying Wife. Copyright (r) 1997, 2014 by Stormie Omartian. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. www.harvesthousepublishers.com. Used by permission.