Linda and I have been married for 14 years. In the beginning of our marriage, we struggled with our finances. And, we were definitely not on the same page when it came to money. This rings true to many married couples out there. The joining of two lives also means the joining two potentially different thought patterns when it comes to household finances and really our overall concept of money itself. Recently, we sat down together to discuss the unlikely money change that helped our marriage and we want to share this with you! Below you’ll find this video as well as the transcript of our conversation!
Bob: If she runs and buys whatever, 27 Chick-fil-A milkshakes in a month, then I’m like, “Girl, what’s up? You spent all of our money here on milkshakes.” There’s something that we do with our money that really helped our marriage.
Bob: It was pretty unlikely candidate, I think. Right?
Linda: Yeah. I don’t think most people would suspect this.
Bob: Yeah, I mean we didn’t.
Bob: At all.
Linda: We’re really building this up, leading them on.
Bob: Yeah. If there was one thing I could teach every newlywed couple …
Linda: Or about to be wed couple.
One Simple Thing You Can Do
Bob: Yeah, or about to be wed couple about money, this would be it. I think if you do this one thing, it’s one simple thing you can do with money that is really going to help your marriage. You know? Like I said, it’s completely unlikely. You wouldn’t expect it at all. I think we’re beating a dead horse here. Should we get to it?
Linda: It is, drum roll please, a budget.
Bob: A budget, yeah. Now before you turn off the video and run-
Linda: Stay with us, stay with us.
Bob: And run to watch a cat video or anything else, hang with us. Hear us out. Let us explain a couple of reasons why, because you probably wouldn’t expect it. You know as well as I do that money is a very divisive thing in a marriage, or it can be, and that you’ve probably heard the stats that whatever, 50% of people get married end up in divorce and of the majority of them, it’s about money. That’s the reason for so much financial strife and struggle. So many of us in our marriages don’t like talking about money with our spouses. We want to hide stuff. We want to have our own financial secrets from our spouses. All that to say there’s just a lot of problems that can arise from not being in unity about money and a budget helps you, when done right, get in unity with your money.
Bob: In our case, this was something that, yeah, it was just fascinating to us to discover that this silly little thing called a budget helped us get in unity about our money, but that also affected all these other areas of our marriage.
Linda: Yeah. I mean it gets you on the same page. When it’s time to spend money, you don’t have to… A lot of times you don’t even have to ask because if the money is there, it is available for spending.
Bob: Yeah. There are fewer decisions that need to be made and, therefore, we found there are fewer fights.
Money Fights in Marriage
Bob: By having a budget, we greatly reduced the number of money fights we were having.
Linda: One of our big, big things was we each get our own personal spending money each month. It doesn’t matter what silly little thing I want to spend my money on, he does not care.
Bob: I don’t care.
Linda: There’s never a fight about that, which is just really amazing because then I can be as frivolous as I want with my money. I can buy as many milkshakes as I want.
Bob: Yeah. The difference is before we had a budget, it’s all in one big pot just sitting in our checking account. If she runs and buys whatever, 27 Chick-fil-A milkshakes in a month, then I’m like, “Girl, what’s up? You’ve spent all of our money here on milkshakes.” When it’s in her own spending money account that has a limit, she’ll spend all of it up to that whatever point.
Linda: He doesn’t care.
Bob: I don’t care.
Linda: Also, what that would do or what that has done is I don’t care if he sees me with the milkshake now, but if he was like, “Why are you spending all our money on milkshakes?” I would start hiding them. Once you start hiding things in your marriage, it’s a bad idea.
Bob: It’s a bad precedent. It’s things aren’t going in a good direction.
Linda: Right. That’s why this, to me, this is one of the lifesaving marriage techniques that everyone should know about.
Unity In Finances
Bob: Yeah. What was so surprising to me is that it trickled over into other areas of our marriage. Just by getting in unity on this one thing with our finances, it affected a whole bunch of other areas.
Linda: Do you know why I think that might be is because talking about money is one of the most difficult things to talk about. If you can communicate-
Bob: If you can do that.
Linda: Well about this, it will make some of the other easier topics a breeze to talk about.
Bob: Yeah, for sure.
Linda: It really hones in your communication with each other. Yeah. Let’s talk about what we have found is a healthy way to talk to each other about money.
Bob: That’s a great idea.
Linda: Because a lot of this, we’ve both made mistakes even within our budget. I think giving each other a lot of grace over that and realizing that we’ve both done it, that we’ve both made mistakes and kind of approaching each other with humility on both ends and giving our self grace, but instead of going, “Why did you spend money on this? I thought we had talked about this and we weren’t going to do that,” or whatever. Just going, “Hey, I kind of noticed that… Hey, hey honey.”
Linda: “I saw that you spent a little bit extra money in this category and I was thinking maybe we don’t do that again.”
The Humility Component
Bob: Yeah. I think the humility component is so incredibly important because to have a healthy marriage… We’ve been married 14 years. We’re not quite ready to write our book yet, but we’re going to …
Linda: This will be in it though.
Bob: Yeah. It would absolutely be in it if we ever did that. As a married couple, anybody who’s been doing this a while, you realize that in order to succeed, you have to be able to humble yourself. You have to be able to admit when you’re wrong. You have to be able to learn from the other person and adapt and adjust. It’s just an important part of this whole equation. I feel like in order to do this budget thing, you have to go through that process. I think that’s part of also why it trickles down to everything else.
Linda: Yeah, yeah. Just your communication style, you can say the exact same thing two different ways, “I love you.” Or you can say, “I love you,” and it means two different things. We all know this. We’ve all had people do that to us so just go… One of my friends told me, “Go with as much humility as you can muster, as much humility as you can find in yourself.” That’s how you approach a difficult topic.
Bob: Yeah. I would add to that for the money nerds out there among us, I being one.
Linda: I’m not.
Bob: When we create a budget, because I think in most houses you’re going to have one person who’s leading the charge on the budget and creating it or whatever, but the other person has to be involved. You have to do it together.
Linda: Because you have to agree on it.
Bob: Yeah. I love that Dave Ramsey talked about this because it’s just such an important part. You have to be in unity. If one person… If I’m just doing everything, creating it, saying, “Here woman, this is what we’re doing,” it just isn’t going to fly.
Linda: Guess what? I’m not going to do it because I’m going to be like, “Well, I need money for this.” It’s not in the budget and because I need it, I’m going to spend my money on this and then he has no idea. It’s just causing this cycle of arguments about something because we didn’t have it upfront.
Bob: That’s where the humility for the money nerds is just really, really important. It’s like it’s something that we have to humble ourselves and realize that the budget isn’t going to be perfect if she gets her hands on it, but it’s better done than perfect. You know what I mean?
Linda: I really loved the interview you did with Chuck Bentley. He wrote a book about marriage and finances. One of the things that he talked about was just how, even though he was leading the charge with their finances, he realized his best counselor about their finances was his wife and saw what she had to bring to the table. It was something different than what he had. The two of them working together is what made it work. That’s what actually makes it work. It helps you fulfill the call that God has on your life, because there are things that are important to me that maybe aren’t necessarily as important to him or have gained importance because we’ve talked through them.
Linda: Yeah, there’s things that maybe have been on my heart or have been on his heart and as we come together, it kind of becomes something important to both of us and not just something that’s really important to me and I want this and so I’m going to do this. We’re actually in unity on it. It’s just us fulfilling our call together instead of separately. Yeah, one of the things for us that has been really important, I mean that we talked about before we were even married, was we really felt called to give. We made a separate budgeting category for that. It is actually helping us… So we’re using our budget to make sure the things that are important to us get funded.
Bob: Yeah, and that’s one of them.
Linda: Date night is another one, so making sure we have money for a babysitter and for dinner out. Vacations is another one.
Freedom Aspect of Budgeting
Bob: Yeah. This is one of those things where so many people are confused with the budget, because they think it steals your joy and it robs you of your joy. The reality is if you do it right, it actually provides more freedom to do those things that you find more important.
Linda: Yeah. It’s hard to save for vacation. If you have that conversation and you’re just saving for it, then when the time comes and the money is already there, I mean it’s amazing.
Bob: You don’t have to put it on a credit card. It’s really great.
Linda: Yeah. That’s the freedom aspect of it is you just quit worrying about some of these things that are really important to you or the bill that you know is coming at the end of the year that is always there, that you forget about until the end of the year, and then it’s like, “Well, we’ve got that. We’ve got Christmas. We’ve got six family birthdays this month also.” The money’s already there for that bill. Yeah, overall, it just helps and brings a whole lot more freedom.
Bob: Yeah. The bottom line is that the budget has been a very unlikely hero of our marriage. It’s one of those things I just never would have expected, but there have been so many wonderful benefits of it and this is just for our marriage. This doesn’t even take into account all the things in our financial life as a whole. It’s a really, really important thing. If you’re not doing it, highly recommend it.
Linda: Do it.
Bob: If you don’t have a budget, we obviously highly recommend that you do it. Whatever budgeting method works for you, great, just do that.
Linda: Do it. That’s what works. We actually have a method that we really, really love. We have a course on it. We’ll point you to that. It’s really good. It’s really simple and, I don’t know, it’s what I would do.
Bob: It works. I’ve tried so many things and we failed one after another after another. We created this. I would call it a budgeting method that works for people who have failed at budgeting pretty much. If that’s you, if you’ve tried one in the past and you’ve struggled with it, didn’t work, I think you’re going to like this. One of the most telling things I think is that we tried all these different budgeting methods. Every single time, Linda came back and said she wanted to use this method. I’m like, “Well, no, there’s this really cool software out right now. I want to try that.” She’s like, “No, if you die… ” What’d you say?
Linda: Let’s not go that. If I were in charge of our finances, this is what I would use. We’re using it now, which is great because it works.
Bob: It works. It’s the thing that works, so great. We’re doing it. If you’re married and you’re on a budget, let us know down in the comments what kind of blessings you have gotten over this.
Linda: That’s true. More importantly, if you’re not on a budget, tell us why. We would really love to work through that with you and help you figure out what your hangups are and how you can possibly solve that problem.
Bob: Yeah. I’ve spent almost the last 11, 12 years talking to people about their personal finances and their budget. Yeah, I would love to be able to provide any kind of insight if you have any hang ups, so definitely let us know down in the comments. If you found the video helpful, hit the like button so we know, the little thumbs up, and then hit the subscribe button and the little bell if you want to hear from us as well. That’s all for today. Be blessed, be blessing. We’ll see you soon.
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