Okay, I know you are tired of hearing, “You need to know how to budget before you get married”, or anything with the word budget in it. This point is not about learning how to budget because honestly, I want you to be able to buy your Starbucks, go on that vacation, or purchase those new jeans. Budgeting could help you eventually attain it, but it would take a lot longer than just having the financial intelligence to create extra streams of revenue in order to have the freedom to make those purchases.
Yes, a monthly spending plan is essential for growth, but it means nothing if you do not have any intelligence on how to capitalize on your savings. Financial intelligence requires much reading and exposing yourself to great minds who have learned the rules of finance! Financial intelligence will benefit your spouse more than just having the ability to stick to a monthly budget. Before we jump into the how to of developing your financial intelligence, I want you to ask yourself this question. “What is my relationship with money?”
Here are 4 Important Ways to be Financially Prepared for Marriage
1. Develop the discipline of having a monthly spending plan
It is said that finances are one of the top causes of divorce today. Many think once they get married, money will eventually work itself out. WRONG! When you are single, it is easy to get away with a budget-less life, but once you are married it is one of the most necessary disciplines needed. I encourage you to start a budget now, and do some study on personal finances. Luke 14:28 states it so perfectly, “don’t begin to build until you have considered the cost.” If you can learn this concept while single, you will bypass many arguments during budget time and your spouse will thank you for it. By developing a discipline of having a monthly spending plan, you will then become consistent with putting money where it belongs. Your bills will be paid on time, you will give your tithes regular, and you will invest more into your future.
2. Give generously
Giving is the heart of the kingdom and reveals the heart of man. I believe with all my heart many of the blessings I received, such as having the majority of our wedding being paid for, never lacking financially, or God ordained opportunities for multiple streams of income all stem from the generous giving I did before I married and still do now being married.
Sowing and reaping is a biblical principle you can be sure God stands by, but He does not do it on your terms. I encourage you to develop the passion for giving generously to others and watch God work on your behalf. Second Corinthians 4:12 says that “whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”
3. Pay down debt
Making and sticking to a plan to pay down your debt is an act of love towards your future spouse. Even though when you marry your spouse, they also marry everything that comes with you. They should not be penalized for your lack of discipline to work as hard as possible to pay down debt. I do understand there are debts that takes years to eradicate i.e. school, car loans, etc. I am not saying you should not have any debt going into a marriage, but you should make it a priority before you marry to pay it down as much as possible.
Do not wait to marry someone with the plan to then, after marriage start paying down your debt. I have talked with a few unmarried women some with over $100,000 in school loans and another with a horrific credit history fearful of a potential husband being turned away due to their financial situation. This is a major issue for both men and women today due to the increase in need for school loans and a hard economy preventing the paying down of those loans. My encouragement is to learn how to manage your money wisely making way for you to become disciplined in your finances.
4. Pay your tithes
After watching my mom tithe my entire life, I was so excited to do it once I started making my own money. God has shown Himself faithful in this area of my life more times than I can count. I remember my first time seeing my older brother ride his bike without training wheels. It was so cool, and I instantly wanted to do the same. I jumped on it and crashed. My dad came over to me and said, “Jamal you need to learn how to ride on the training wheels before you move on to the big boy bike.” I would practice every day until I felt I was ready to do it again. This is the same with tithing. God has set up that the starting point is 10% of your income, but that is only training for where He truly desires to take you, which is giving over and above the minimum.
Second Corinthians 9:7 states, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” My goal was not to stay on the training wheels, but to one day be able to ride freely without any assistance. I believe with all of my heart the reason I have never lacked is because I have faithfully been a tither and giver. From full college scholarships, vehicles paid off, never not had a job, supernatural wedding, and much more have been the fruit of my, and now our, faithfulness. Have there been hard times? Absolutely. But, those hard times simply reminded us of who are source of joy is. Jesus. This is God’s heart for your tithe.
BMWK, Are you financially prepared for your marriage?