Who Should Manage The Money In A Marriage?
By Fin Sheridan
Before we go any further, take a second to try and say the title to this article 5 times, fast. Tricky eh? Not as tricky as the actual subject! Money and marriage go hand in hand (not least because the average British wedding costs over £20k!!) and figuring out the figures can be one of the most important things that you do with your spouse.
Every marriage is different. There are thousands of nuances and dynamics, set against the backdrop of totally unique circumstances. A prescriptive approach doesn’t work here. We asked “Who manages the money?” to the CBN Europe staff and these were some of the answers:
“We do it together but we check every financial decision with each other. Even the little ones – like £10 on some pizza with friends.”
“My wife doesn’t like doing the finances, she leaves it to me but she also prefers it if we’re extremely frugal.”
“I’m not married yet but I don’t know how I feel about someone else telling me what to do with my money.”
“My wife is great with numbers – and I’m terrible at them – but we didn’t want to feel like she was my Mum, giving me pocket money to spend.”
“My husband takes care of all the money. He’s on top of all the bills and he lets me know how much I can spend each month. He always gives room for spontaneity and treats. It’s very liberating and I really appreciate it.
“The most rewarding moments of marriage are the moments when you discover what “oneness” really means.”
There’s plenty of differences!
So, is there a right way? Well, the Bible doesn’t directly address the issue. Whilst it describes the man as the “head of the marriage”, it also depicts the woman in Proverbs 31 as a businesswoman who buys land, works hard, has financial sense and manages a household well. Biblical marriage involves both parties bringing their respective strengths together to glorify God together. Those strengths are gifts from God and part of glorifying him is using them well.
If one person is good at cooking, and the other unable to make beans on toast, who does the cooking? If one person is tall and the other short, who reaches up to get the book from the highest shelf? The answers are obvious because we have common sense (some more than others!). Similarly with finances, if one person is more savvy with money than the other, it makes sense for them to lead, or at the very least, “chair” the discussion around money. Men, this may be humbling. Women, this may involve a hard level of trust.
The most rewarding moments of marriage are the moments when you discover what “oneness” really means. When you cooperate together, celebrating the strength of your spouse, finding them to truly be your helper. Money can lead to all sorts of disunity, distrust and resentment or it can be mastered into an opportunity to love and serve your significant other.