Financial struggles exist. There are always choices to be made about money in marriage regardless of your age. However, when first married, you quickly learn the value of the dollar. When we were first married, we had two incomes. My wife was a grade-school teacher, and I was a youth pastor. Our combined income paid the bills and allowed us to put some money away for one big item, but the question was, why do we save?
“Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” — Hebrews 13:5
Was it to save money for a down payment on our first home, a better car, nicer furniture, a retirement fund, graduate school, or vacations? We chose saving money for a DP on a home. I was able to acquire a car through work; we received hand-me-down furniture from our parents. We were too young to think about retirement, and graduate school was kind to me with scholarships. Eating out meant the local burger shack. Eating at home meant hot dogs, chipped beef over mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, or, my favorite, pizza muffins.
It worked. We saved enough for a down payment on a two-bedroom home. More importantly, we were on the same page financially. We knew how much money was coming in, we stayed within our means and we had a plan…. until BAM! She got pregnant with twins. In 9 months, we lost more than half our income and doubled our food bill. Diapers weren’t cheap either.
Handling Financial Struggles
As a young married couple, how do you handle a financial crisis? When the rules change, do you still have a plan? Does your money or lack of it draw you closer to God or separate you from Him? Does it start to put a wedge in your relationship with your spouse? Your conversations take on new meaning. It’s living a little longer with that old carpet. It’s fixing up the old car instead of buying new ones. It’s a vacation to a board member’s beach condo who lets you use it for free instead of a vacation to a beautiful resort. The point here is, do you talk about it, do you come up with a new plan and can you see a way out together in time? Most importantly, do you pray about it?
Was their tension during these financially tight times? Yes! Did we stick together? Most of the time! We had each other, two beautiful children, and a faith that sustained us in some miraculous ways. Spiritually and relationally, we were rich with gold. Financially we had zippo, but we had a plan, and we believed God was in our marriage and our finances.
Using Early Marriage Rightly
We tithed. It may have been like the “widow’s mite,” but we gave back to God what He first gave us. What that did for us is it freed us from the burden of making money our God. The Lord provided for us through planning, discipline, and hope, and we were thankful for his provision.
Early marriage is a time to get to know each other physically, emotionally, relationally, and, yes, financially. Don’t let money or lack of it drive your relationship. Let Christ drive it and bring you closer to each other, even during tight financial times.
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