I’ve heard that finance can be a cause of tension in a marriage. I can honestly say that this has not been the case for us, for the most part. Just like in any other area, we have our differences when it comes to how we handle our money. We don’t agree on every financial matter, but we do have one common factor that keeps us from finance becoming a major issue in our marriage: we both do NOT have a strong love of money.
I’m probably at the extreme end of not caring enough about money. I don’t ever spend money excessively, yet if it was up to me, I wouldn’t save much either (I always figure, God will provide for what I need). As long as my immediate needs are met, I’ve never asked for (nor longed for) much more. I was pretty proud of myself for being a non-spender, until I met my husband. Man, talk about cheap (uh, I mean, economical)! He really doesn’t like spending money, especially on himself. Honestly, I think I do him a huge favor by not buying a gift for him on holidays. He’s also much smarter than I am about saving and making investments. Last but not least, even though he doesn’t like to spend money on himself, he’s by far the most giving person that I know. In this area, he holds nothing back. This is one of the things I admire the most about this guy. He works SO hard (harder than anyone I know), always places God first in our finances, provides for our family (God was good to him by giving him a wife who can run a household on a small budget), spends almost nothing on himself, pays down debt/invests/saves, and gives the rest away. This is how our household runs.
Now, let me share with you a little of what God has done with our family finances this past year.
Every year, our church has a “bring your best offering” Sunday in November, where we bring the best amount we can (above our tithes) towards the new building project. Last November (2011), as I prayed about what that amount should be, I felt heavy in my heart that it should be an amount that is “more than comfortable” for us, an amount that would be considered a “sacrifice” for our family. I had a particular amount in mind, and when I turned to my husband and asked what he thought, he gave me an amount that was $100 more than what I had in mind. Have I mentioned to you yet how much I love this man? We both felt complete peace about the amount, and we willingly gave it to the church. At the same time, I began to pray for a financial breakthrough for our family. This was what I wrote on my journal:
God, I’m believing for financial breakthrough for us…to be free from house/(investment) condo mortgages. We want to do more for Your kingdom. We know that material things are meaningless. We want to use what You give us to make an impact for eternity. Lord, I believe that from this contribution, Your victory and breakthrough will come. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
Well, things went south after this particular Sunday. For the rest of winter and early spring, we experienced one major financial blow after another (mainly involving our investment condos). In all honesty, there were days when my husband was frustrated and I was worried. We strongly believed that we had stepped out in obedience, but instead of finding breakthrough, we found more financial troubles. I started to doubt if I made the right choice in quitting my part-time job. Then, I came across this reading from the Bible one morning:
I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.
So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:13-15 New Living Translation
I wrote this in my journal:
Lord, You long to bless us and give us the abundant life You intended for us. But it’s also a choice that I have to make daily – a choice to TRUST You. I, too, will choose to serve YOU, every day. There is no other way for me. I will put away my idol called WORRY. Thank You, Lord, for this important reminder. Help me to live out my faith in front of my family and others daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Since then, we’ve watched in awe the WONDERS God has done through Allan’s supplement business (and it’s still very much continuing). We continue to put God first in our finances, and He continues to pour out His blessings. Allan had decided from the beginning that 10% of gross sales (not just profit) from his business will be given away. Through this commitment, we’ve been able to give away so much more than the amount we originally gave to the church last November. We’ve been able to give not only to the church, but to various mission trips/ministries, hospitals, scholarships, and other friends in need. I share this not as “look what we’ve been doing” but purely as “LOOK WHAT GOD IS DOING,” simply through our obedience and our love for Him (and not money).
In our own household, we’ve been able to pay off one of the condos as well as the HELOC on the house (which was part of the cafe ordeal from years ago). Thanks to a financial coach who helped us to organize our finances, the adoption cost has been easily affordable. Although we are still a little ways out from buying “our home” (where we hope to raise our children in for majority of their years), we are so content with waiting, while we now focus on our final (investment) condo mortgage and give some more away.
Again, this post it not meant to serve as a trophy of anything we’ve done, but of what God has done (and continues to do). Going back to my point at the beginning, I believe we are so blessed with finance not being an issue in our marriage, because we do not love money more than God. To us, our finance is not a means to gain personal satisfaction but another means to honor God with wholeheartedly. We will continue to serve Him faithfully with our finances. We will continue to be content with what we’ve been blessed with (which has been a lot!). We do not seek material wealth, because our treasure is in heaven. We LOVE giving money away, and we count is as an honor that God has allowed us to participate in. As we keep honoring God with our money, I believe our season of blessings will continue. But even if/when we encounter another season of financial trial, I can look back on what He has done in this season and place my trust in Him once more to carry us through.