Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Brad Chaffee. Engaged Marriage is sponsoring his Manage Your Money Challenge, and I encourage you to check it out.
Every year we find ourselves celebrating our anniversary with the one we love. What is it that we are celebrating exactly? What does it mean to be married? Marriage symbolizes unity, or the coming together as one, but is that what we are really celebrating?
It’s what we should be celebrating, but is it? Maybe what you are really celebrating is a social achievement that acts as a mask, covering the real reason that getting through another year is so special. Let me explain.
Before I go on let me just say that I am guilty. I am guilty of taking that day for granted sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I love my wife with every ounce of my soul and being married to her is so wonderful, BUT the truth is that I sometimes fail her. Sometimes I do not act as if we are a team, and she would probably admit she has her days as well.
74 Simple Things You Can Do to Brighten Your Spouse's Day
Join our free newsletter to get this popular checklist... plus even more tips to make your marriage thrive:
It’s a part of being married. What do you do?
You remind yourself every single day how much you love your spouse, and you FIGHT to make yourself a better mate! You’ll never be perfect but when it comes to your family, it should always be your goal. My point is that you should never stop trying to be extraordinary in your marriage. You should never stop trying to be truly married united.
Are you truly united with your spouse?
That question reaches into many aspects of your marriage, but I want to talk about one in particular. Did someone say money? Well what did you expect, I am the Enemy of Debt after all. And I am feeling very pumped up right now about this subject specifically, because I am starting my first ever Manage Your Money 31 Day Challenge. In order to win with money you have to manage it right?
What if I said budgeting could save your marriage?
Money is one of the leading causes for divorce, and certainly the number one reason for money fights. Money causes money fights? Go figure. 🙂
Are you truly united with your spouse on money?
- Do you have a budget?
- Do you feel like a team?
- Are you on the same page?
- Do you talk about your goals?
Does your spouse know where YOU WANT TO BE in 5 years? (I know, enough with the questions already, but I have a challenge for you at the bottom of this post about those questions, so bear with me.)
First, let’s discuss how you can become better united with your spouse. I want you to practice “becoming perfect” by working on the list below. I want you to do it as a team. Spend 15 minutes a week discussing this list—make an appointment to meet about this specifically. Forget about American Idol and ESPN for 15 minutes. This is how you continue to FIGHT AS HARD AS YOU CAN to be your spouse’s everything. You become extraordinary. For you, for her, and for your family’s sake.
This list pertains to every aspect of your marriage, but for today, and this challenge, we are going to focus on your money relationship with your spouse. Budgeting is the best way to come together with money. Perhaps you could become united with money the right way by signing up for my Manage Your Money Challenge.
It’s TOTALLY FREE, there are A LOT of prizes that will help you both become UNITED with your money, so I hope you’ll consider it. (I encourage you to join but even if you don’t, check out that awesome prize list.)
“THE” List WE Need To Work On
To be practiced daily
Challenge Yourself To:
Be Accountable – No placing blame anymore! If there was a mistake made and you weren’t involved in it, you should have been—take responsibility.
Be Patient – It takes time. Don’t think you are going to be able to agree on everything. Mastering the budget *specifically* takes time and patience. Stick it out!
Be Realistic – Do not make, or hold onto unrealistic desires. If you have debt, and no budget, you can’t afford to buy a new car. Just sayin’. 😉
Be Understanding – Understand that your wants and needs will not be your spouse’s wants and needs. Compromise on the things you may see as invaluable, even if you don’t understand. as Dave Ramsey says, “You don’t have to get it, you just have to get it.”
Be Specific – Make sure that you are clear about what you want? Discuss your goals in detail. What do you want? How are you going to get it? When do you get started?
Be Honest – Managing the money as a team is about trust. Don’t ruin that trust by being dishonest about your purchases. Ladies, you know you spent $30 from your grocery budget to pay for that purse. And men, you know your friend didn’t pay for that fishing trip.
Be United – Be on the same page! It’s hard to read the same book when you are both on different pages. Just like it’s hard to win with your money when there is constant resistance slowing you down. It’s in your best interest to be united.
Remember you are a team! Act like it.
I asked a lot of questions in this post. A bonus challenge of sorts, although it could be argued that you should do it first, is to take a piece of paper and write every question down. Answer the questions honestly, and discuss them at your first 15 minute meeting. Get to know each other. You don’t have to cover every question the first time. Try one per week.
Maybe Dustin would be so kind as to let me do a follow-up post to see how we’ve done, *myself included*, in about two weeks. 😉
My name is Brad Chaffee from Enemy of Debt, and I absolutely love helping people become debt free. Something I love even more is helping you realize that you are the only person holding you back. I was a non-believer myself, but now I am debt free and you can be, too. Stay motivated and subscribe to Enemy of Debt today.
I agree that being united in marriage is often a challenge. I know I have to continually work at it. My wife and I have made a lot of progress over the last 2-3 years in the area of personal finance, but we still struggle at times to remain on the same page. Of course, a budget is the best way to work together, but it really requires that both of you set down on a monthly basis to plan and agree on the budget. Having one is not enough! It has to be one that you are both committed to adhering to that matters.
.-= Jeff@MySuperChargedLife´s last blog ..Elevate Your Thinking to Elevate Your Life =-.
I agree, Jeff. I’d say our marriage has improved significantly since we became more unified (and purposeful) in two areas: Money and Sex. And that translates most simply into budgeting and Natural Family Planning for us. Who knew I’d be using those two terms in the same sentence? 🙂
Hmmm. Money and sex. Be careful, Dustin, or someone will think you are talking about the world’s oldest profession.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Reduction to Practice =-.
Awesome, Scott! Just awesome.
That’s exactly right Jeff! We have to be clear and purposeful with each other about our goals and desires. The budget is merely a tool to help make it easier, but it does take two people willing to communicate their desires in order for it to work. The ultimate goal is probably improving in the area of communication.
.-= Brad´s last blog ..The 2009 Plutus Awards Have Arrived =-.
Probably at most a minority would agree with me, but then my view may be something of a curiosity for many.
I think the significance of marriage comes in what it represents, namely the unity and relationship within the One God, the Maker of humanity and the universe. More than that, it represents the relationship between Christ and His church … which is another story.
In other words, the significance of marriage is as the image in the mirror to the real thing. Problems concerning unity and relationship in marriage are representative of our divorce from God’s character. We have cracked or fogged the mirror, so to speak. If we were more like God, we married couples would, so to speak, finish each others’ sentences. More than that, we would love God.
This is not to say that one is necessarily even partly responsible for a belligerent or self-centered or unfaithful spouse. Rarely are we qualified to point such fingers. I speak rather in general terms of the ideal and the reason the ideal is rarely met. And one might also add that fleeting glimpses or hints of unity in marriage may in some way reflect something more wonderful and mysterious than “mere” romantic euphoria alone.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Using Color Onsite for Greater Impact =-.
You bring up a great point. How many of us including myself fail to recognize the Holy Trinity that marriage really represents, when we celebrate our anniversary? As you said so nicely it is bigger than even our own understanding.Great comment!
.-= Brad´s last blog ..It’s Your Money, YOU Spend It! =-.
Right on, Peter! We have truly realized and embraced the role that God has in our marriage. It’s one of the reasons I started this site actually, and you can read one of my first posts called “Marriage as a Vocation” to get my thoughts on the whole Trinity thing here:
An oldie but a goodie, in my own humble opinion. 😉
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32. I just love this profound mystery.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Reduction to Practice =-.
Absolutely, Scott. There are so many very deep and meaningful passages in Ephesians that relate to marriage. We have given several long presentations at marriage retreats…all based on a few passages from that book of the Bible!
You gotta see this!
A loving couple married for 62 years shows us what can be done.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Using Color Onsite for Greater Impact =-.
That is a great video Peter! 62 years together can be nothing short of extraordinary!
.-= Brad´s last blog ..Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #5 =-.
That video rocks, man! I think I just found a great piece for this weekend’s Round-Up of Interesting Reads….”Rock Out with Your Teeth Out” edition.
Thanks for sharing, Peter!
We just celebrated our 31st anniversary, and I have to say Tom has led the way. His view has always been to keep our relationship primary even through raising three children, homeschooling and a busy career. I’ve always known I came first (next to his relationship with Christ!). We have been well taught biblically on how to grow your marriage to reflect Christ’s relationship with His church. When we do things His way for His glory, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that it works!!! We have nothing to boast in but God! It is all Him, and this is why we’ve committed our lives to proclaim the way to having a successful marriage. Visit our blog if you have the time – we’d love to hear from you!
Tom and Debi
.-= Tom and Debi Walter – TheRomanticVineyard´s last blog ..Change of Plans =-.
Thank you, Tom and Debi! When you view God as an integral part of your marriage, it’s tough NOT to be unified. Of course, we all falter though and even reject Him from time to time.
By the way, I quoted you guys and linked to your blog in my next post, which will go live in the morning. It was your great insight on what it means to have an Extraordinary Marriage.
Thanks for all that you do!
Tom and Debi, that is great news for sure! 31 years is awesome! I live for God and believe my marriage is an example of my connection to God. Sometimes my wife and I struggle with looking to Him when we are having a difficult time to help us through. It’s that struggle that made me ask myself the very questions I put in this article. Are we really united with our spouse and how can we become one with each other the way Christ intended. A work in progress for sure, but in my humble opinion, we will always be a work in progress. Thanks for the great comment!
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..The FREE E-Book “LOVEveryday” Has Finally Arrived!! =-.
You are doing a service here and it’s so encouraging to see someone young that gets the thing about unity. I’m glad I found your site and I’m going to tell my married friends about it. Thanks again. Good job. The world needs more people encouraging love with all the put downs and derogatory jokes about marriage that are so prominent.