In part two of taking your marriage on a retreat we want to consider finances. Because we have laid down a foundation of prayer for this time, it will be easier to talk about money and financial decisions. The use of finances is something that most couples struggle with and for many it is their most difficult area to find agreement. That’s because we often come into marriage with differing financial values. For example I was a “saver” and Mary was a “spender.” In an earlier blog I wrote about how those were actually gifts once we began to appreciate and discover what the other person’s way of thinking brought into the marriage. But for the sake of this weekend, we want to first review our prior year financially, give God thanks and then move on to the coming year in order to make necessary changes. Below, I have encapsulated our process for this time.
Take time to review your budget from the prior year. Where was your budget accurate and where did it miss the mark? Review each of your accounts, checking and savings. Review your giving, e.g., tithe, missions, first fruits and offerings. Review your investments, e.g., life insurance, money market, IRA’s, etc. Review your debt and your plan to be clear of debt. Are you in agreement with your spending, credit card charges and purchases? Are you in agreement with your saving, life investments and giving? Are you meeting your financial goals in all the above areas?
After evaluation turn toward the future: What are our future financial goals? What are we saving toward? How are we handling our children’s higher education? When do we update our vehicle? What projects do we need to consider in our home in order to address ongoing maintenance and improvements? In other words, what is our financial plan? Most couples do not incorporate a budget or a financial plan. It is an extremely helpful way to be in agreement and to reach those financial goals.
Why do all this? Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth. I truly believe and have experienced God’s blessing when we are operating in financial oneness.