Everyone brings a different set of financial experiences, expectations, and terminology to the table.

Nancy and I were no different.  Our different life experiences and upbringings were a veritable powder keg, waiting to explode into money fights when we finally tied the knot and combined our finances.

I came from a upper-middle-class family, and was taught to work – hard – at a pretty young age.  I received a nominal allowance, and I supplemented that starting in my pre-teen years cutting other neighbors lawns and doing odd jobs.  I worked hard through high school and college as well, and what I made was mine.  I spent and saved it how I wanted to, according to my thoughts and whims.

Nancy was raised in an upper-class family (also hardworking), and it was much later in life before she understood the real value of a dollar.  Her upbringing afforded her some incredible experiences for which she’s very thankful.  She didn’t have a “real job” until college, and that was by her own choosing.

I share this so you can see – when we were preparing for marriage we were bringing to the table very different sets of expectations, experiences, and even different language to describe our interactions with money.  With money fights and money problems being the number one cause of divorce in North America, we were a prime target for some real issues.

Thankfully, we were able to get on the same page while we were engaged thanks to the principles Dave Ramsey teaches, and it’s provided some incredible benefits.  Whatever system you decide to follow or make up is fine, just be on the same page about your goals!

Here are some of the awesome benefits we’ve seen from it:

We don’t fight about money.
We’ve definitely had passionate discussions, but the truth is that money is not a point of contention for us, so we don’t fight about it.  Being on the same page means we have the same goals, we’re pulling the same direction, and we’re working together.

It simplified our communication.
Different families use different terminology when discussing money.  Do you “invest” in things like furniture and a car, or only in assets like stocks and real estate?  Is a credit card “debt” or is it a “tool” to be used wisely?  Does “credit” have a good connotation or bad connotation for you?  What defines a “financial emergency” for you?

The words we use to describe our finances show our underlying assumptions and beliefs about money.  Sharing the same language about our money helps simplify communication by ensuring that when we use words like debt, investing, credit, emergency, etc., we mean the same thing.

It has enhanced our relational intimacy.
When you work alongside someone toward a shared goal, relationship is deepened.  When you struggle together, sacrifice together, work together, and have fun together, a deeper relationship is formed.  When one person is struggling and the other comes alongside to encourage, it brings you together.  Achieving a shared goal strengthens the team mentality that I think is important in marriage; the “us versus the world” mindset that says, “No matter what, I’m on your team.”

– It has given us energy.
You’re stronger when you’re working alongside someone toward a goal.  It’s easier when you have built-in accountability.  The load is easier to carry when you’re walking with someone, and we spur each other on toward the direction we want to go.  It’s exciting to achieve a goal and then celebrate with the one that’s been walking it out with you.

– It enhanced our trust.
I know that she’s going to carry out what we’ve agreed to do, and she knows that I’ll stick to what we’ve agreed to do.  I know that she shares the same values about our money, so I trust she has our best interest at heart with the suggestions and input she gives, and vice versa.  Because we have a plan that we both crafted, we don’t have to constantly look over the other person’s shoulder, or be suspicious about where the money is going.

As you can imagine, each one of those things has had lasting benefits for our marriage in general, not just as it relates to our finances.  Whatever money system or plan you decide to follow is fine, the key is being on the same page with your spouse about it, with shared values, goals, and language.  Getting on the same page will supercharge your marriage and pay dividends for years to come.

Question: Where have you seen a benefit from being on the same page about money?  Have you struggled in the past because you haven’t been on the same page?  Comment below!