The more you know about how your mate thinks and feels about a wide variety of issues and the more discussions you have in the honeymoon period of your marriage, the fewer surprises you will encounter later. This applies to financial matters in marriage.
Questions uncover assumptions that might otherwise become invisible, emotional “land mines” that will explode unexpectedly. They can cause major damage to your relationship later. These questions provide a “shovel” which you can use to dig out the hidden mines before you step on them.
We do not want to put unnecessary stress on a relationship. We simply want to bring to light those areas in which there is existing agreement or disagreement.
As you discuss these questions, you may find only three or four that are potentially relationship-threatening disagreements. Work through these potentially explosive areas during the “deeply in love” part of your relationship.
Few areas of married life cause more yelling, pouting, and throwing of things than financial matters.
To the extent that you are making different financial assumptions, it is likely that you will go through your marriage with some severe strains in this area. Discussing your financial assumptions will help reduce the amount of frustration, pressure, and tension you experience in this area throughout your married life.
Make sure your assumptions are compatible in this area today!
Concerning Financial Matters: Ask and Discuss:
1. Who’s going to write the checks to pay our monthly bills in our household?
2. Who’s going to balance the bank statement each month?
3. What are your feelings about joint versus separate checking accounts?
4. How would you honestly describe yourself as a money manager?
5. How much money should we spend on furniture the first year? What about buying good used furniture? What furniture style do you prefer?
6. Do you see both of us working this next year? If so, for how long?
7. How much income would you like us to make (together) this next year?
8. In today’s economy, how expensive a house (in your dreams) do you want to live in? In five years? Ten years? Twenty years?
9. What do you think about credit cards? Which cards should we keep (if any)?
10. Do you see yourself as “good with keeping books” or “bad with keeping books”?
11. Will our income support the standard of living you’ve become accustomed to? If not, what adjustments do we need to make?
12. What are your feelings about a monthly budget?
13. What do we need to do with my car, your car? What kind of car would you ideally like to drive? In five years? Ten years? Twenty years?
14. How much money do you currently spend each month on clothing? How much do we need to plan to spend on clothing during this year? And how much would you like to spend per year in five years? Ten years?
15. What are your total financial obligations right now? (In some situations this is a critical question.)
16. What are your feelings about a will? When do you think we should have one made? Why?
Additional Financial Matters to Discuss:
17. How much money should we spend a year on luxury items such as jewelry, furs, athletic equipment, trips, etc.?
18. What percentage should we tip a server who does an outstanding job? An average job? A poor job?
19. How do you feel about borrowing money from our parents or relatives?
20. How do you feel about loaning money to our parents or relatives?
21. How much should you have to pay to gave your hair cut? Styled? What is a suitable tip for these services?
22. If we inherited a million dollars, what would you want to do with it?
23. What percent of our income should we give to the place of worship we attend? Why?
24. What percent of our income should we give to charitable organizations? Which ones?
25. How much life insurance should we have? Health insurance? What company? Why?
26. Do you want to invest some of our money? How? When?
27. How much should we spend on a getaway weekend?
28. How would you have the most amount of fun if we only have five dollars spend some evening?
29. How much should we spend on special occasions like:
• Birthdays: each other’s, parents, children, friends, others (your name)
• Anniversaries: our own; parents, friends, relatives, others
• Other special days: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day
• Christmas: each other’s gift, parents, children, other relatives, coworkers, friends, decorations?
30. Who should do the gift buying? If it’s usually the same person, how does the other one help?
31. What should be the dollar limit on purchases made without the other’s knowledge? Why?
32. Prioritize the following typical household items as to their importance to you.
Some of them are:
___ Athletic equipment
___ Color TV
___ Food processor
___ Hobby items
___ Bedroom furniture
___ DVD Player
___ Compact disc player
___ Dining room furniture
___ Food dehydrator
___ Living room furniture
___ Stereo system
___ Video camera
___ Other: _____________
These thoughts and questions concerning financial matters come from a small booklet titled, “Making the Most of Your Honeymoon Year.” It’s written by Bobb and Cheryl Biehl. Unfortunately this book is no longer in print. But Bobb can be reached at Bobbbiehl.com (where you could inquire to see if Bobb has any copies of the book to sell). He is a charter member of the Focus on the Family board of directors. Cheryl is an author/speaker and a charter member of Trinity Forum. Bobb and Cheryl have been married since August 1964. They have two adult children and enjoy scuba diving and European travel as hobbies.
— ALSO —
For a related article to read on financial matters, please click onto the Baptist Press web site (and our web site) to read: