Read this blog aloud with your spouse at the dinner table. Guaranteed you will be laughing at my awkward early-marriage moments as well as adding some of your own to the table. More importantly, you will be challenged to grow together! Happy Reading!

Money Matters by Christa Hardin, MA, LLP, BCLC – excerpted from Table for Two: Mealtime Devotionals for Couples

My husband and I were newly married twenty-one year olds, and needless to say, we still had stars in our eyes.

We had just counted out the money in our wedding envelopes and were headed off with loads of cash and checks to the land of plenty – California.

We didn’t have money mentors in our lives who could help us to start out on the best financial journey. I’m sure you can guess where this is leading.

We spend almost our entire wedding cash on our honeymoon!

We thought since it was a honeymoon we should be eating at only the finest establishments, so even when we were tired and worn out, we ordered from only the most exclusive and expensive cafes in Santa Barbara.
Besides one of two sluggish games of tennis, a tandem bicycle ride gone wrong (we Midwestern folk weren’t used to hills and arguments that came on that ride! I can’t wait to tell you more about that little tandem journey in a future blog), all we did besides the obvious, was eat, eat and eat!

Thinking back, a cruise would have been a better plan for us, since we would have eaten to our heart’s content and still managed to come out with some dough in our pockets, but naive as we were, we wanted California where we had gotten engaged, and nothing could stop us from meeting our dreams, even if they were unwisely laid out. It reminds me of this verse,
“Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Proverbs 20:21
We definitely devoured, quite literally, our brand-new savings for a home or our upcoming graduate school bills or even our future family which was only a few years down the road. Since hindsight is twenty-twenty, we don’t condemn ourselves and have God’s grace, but along the way we have learned that saving a portion of our money for emergencies and future plans is wise, and that trying to get immediate gratification isn’t.
A major foodie, this still gets me from time to time, but now that we do our budget together monthly and have since taken the advice of wise financial advisors, we are on a much wiser path and enjoying the fruits of a comfortable dwelling and savings even as we give and try to keep outgiving ourselves! God has shown us that by giving over our time, talents, and treasures in this case, we can truly find wisdom.
I wonder if you have ever felt this way in your financial story together? If you have, you are not alone! Most couples tell me in our marriage sessions that financial stress is one of their biggest areas of concern and many times, spouses don’t even discuss it because there is so much fear around the topic.
As a brief activity, take some time to talk about three simple ways you can fine-tune your finances to get them more in line with God’s plans for your family. Be brief and not blaming with one another.

Saying Grace

Dear Lord,

Thank You for the provision of meals to us each day. Sometimes we have more than other times, but you have faithfully provided us our daily bread and for that we are so thankful. Help us to look at our finances wisely, with logic and wisdom. Help us to recognize when we are spending emotionally and fill us with Your precious and free gifts so that we are not tempted to fill the voids with material things which do not satisfy anyway! Help us to come together as a couple to discuss our finances regularly and consistently. Help us to know where to give and now much, to have passion to give in places that will honor you! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Table Trivia

“What’s cooking? Apparently, not Americans. For the first time ever, people in the U.S. are spending more money dining out then buying groceries.” FoxNews.com April 15th, 2015.
Honey Homework

For future study: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover program is an excellent beginning or even advanced financial spending program, and Suze Orman has a wonderful book entitled, The 9 Steps to FInancial Freedom that will help you to find healing and hope in this area! Commit to beginning one of these programs or talking to a financially wise mentor or advisor (non-family if possible) about your next steps.

A La Carte

On your next date night, set a ridiculously low budget (so long as it’s not an anniversary or your spouse’s birthday!). If you’re used to spending sixty dollars, for instance, between the meal, a sitter, and drinks or dessert, try aiming for twenty-five, by swapping childcare with a friend as well as eating at a local upscale(ish) cafe (like Panera Bread or a pizza joint) and taking a walk together afterwards!

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