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Financial Oneness in Marriage

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Financial Oneness in Marriage

God’s Design for marriage goes beyond one man and one woman for one lifetime. He calls married couples  to “oneness” in all aspects of marriage. From the beginning marriage God stated His intention for oneness in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” How would you evaluate your pursuit of oneness with your spouse? How about your financial oneness? 

Oneness is a challenge, and it does not occur the instant you say, “I do.” Couples continue to grow in oneness throughout marriage, if you’re seeking God’s desire for your marriage.

Oneness is not the end goal, instead the end goal is to glorify God by displaying the union between Christ and Believers. Because Believes are united with Christ, through the Holy Spirit, Believers  also are united in all the blessings that Christ has accomplished. What does this have to do with finances in marriage? Financial oneness is a portrait of the union between Christ and His Church. 

If we are honest, we like to hold tight to our finances, and we don’t appreciate when others tell us what to do with our money. Money represents our labor, our sacrifice, and it’s the reward for our hard work. With our money, we can provide housing, food, and clothing for our families. Our money also buys us our ways of recreation. With enough money, you can pick the private school you want your children to attend, take vacations, and enjoy what others have created with their time and talents. And that’s partially why we are so concerned about our money.... We find security in it, and we find joy in the things we can buy with money. Therefore, in our flesh, we want nothing to do with anything that might threaten our finances. 

This is the point where it is important to remember God’s call for marriage: Oneness. God calls us to follow His example uniting with our spouse. He calls us to make the interest of our spouse, our own interest. This is oneness. Financially speaking, the money that I earn and control is my spouses, just as much as it is mine… because we are one. 

What does this look like practically? It likely looks like shared bank accounts, shared names on your home, shared car titles, and shared investments. It looks like both spouses being involved in  financial decisions.

Ultimately, our hesitancy to be one in finances reveals a bigger hesitancy of fully trusting our spouse.

 If you have a separate bank account, you may say with your lips that I trust you or I’m not going to leave you, but in the event I want to I also have the means to leave you. If you have one name on your deed to your home, you may say with your lips that I love you and want to live with you forever, but in the event you change your mind, it’s pretty simple who will continue to live in the home.

We know what betrayal feels like…  We have thought about it, experienced it, and done it. We know how easy betrayal can occur. In marriage, it is crucial to guard against betrayal, and ultimately to become like God by displaying his character to our spouse, children and the world. 

Oftentimes, separate assets in marriage, is a safety net for the case of the marriage not working out. Many don’t want to combine finances because they want to be assured, they won’t be left high and dry if something goes wrong. If that is in the back of your mind, how can you truly open up and be one in any area of marriage?

Instead, be vulnerable. Trust your spouse...In all areas, be so unified with your spouse, it is impossible to define what is his and hers. This type of oneness helps foster a relationship that can experience vulnerability and trust. In this type of marriage, one does not have to fear the end when they act out, but instead expects to work through difficulties. This type of marriage has no financial secrets and banks on the marriage lasting a lifetime. Our finances reveal a lot about our hearts. 

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that God hates divorce. Divorce blasphemes the character of God. God will always be united to His church. When divorce happens, it tells a lie about God. Divorce says God is unfaithful. We want to display God’s faithfulness! We do this by pursuing oneness in marriage… in every area… even finances.

Life on Mission as a Family

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As a family, we know we are called to love our neighbors and be a “light” to our community,
family and those around us. We are convinced that there is a clear CALLING in scripture to honor and
glorify God by spreading His Good News. There is a clear NEED in this world to find forgiveness of sins
and a relationship with God through Christ. And there is a clear PURPOSE for His followers to live as
ambassadors to the world.

Throughout our Christian lives, how Matt and I have lived this out has taken on different forms.
Here's what has stayed the same throughout our single days, dating, engagement, early marriage and now
being a family of four with two young kids:

• We want to live as though every person in our lives God has put there for a reason. Every
difficult family member, every co-worker we pass by in our building and greet with a smile as we
walk by without ever speaking, and every neighbor surrounding us of all ages, gender, and race.
• We want to live as though, hard as this life might be at times, the greatest thing to fear is a life
outside of God's promises and, even worse, an eternity apart from Him. What is worse than
cancer? Having cancer without knowing Christ. What is worse than depression? Having
depression without any hope in Christ. And even those we would consider “thiving” in life have
nothing apart from knowing Christ because fame, glory, material things, great looks, etc. are of no
value when you don't know Christ. Everyone has the same desperate need that trumps all other
needs: hope in Christ.
• We want to live as though we have nothing in and of ourselves to offer anyone but because we
know Christ, we have EVERYTHING to offer someone. The Holy Spirit is alive in me.
Therefore, God can use EVEN me. I have the power of HIS WORDS to share. I have the power
of PRAYER to pray for people. If I focus too much on my own insecurities or weaknesses, I'll be
hindered from seeing what God wants to do through me.
• We want to live as though we trust God to do the heart work that we are incapable of doing. We
want to find the hunger that God has already created. My job isn't to argue, lecture or twist
someone's arm into the faith. I don't have to have the best arguments for why we believe the Bible
to be infallible. I can start the conversation with good questions and genuine curiosity of
someone's spiritual life (or lack thereof) without needing the perfect responses. Prayer is our
greatest tool in seeing someone's heart change.
• We want to live as though this topic of faith that can be intimidating to approach with someone is
actually a topic that people in the world are craving to have with someone they trust.

Here are some practical ways as a family to live “on mission”:
• Take the time to SEE the people around you. Stop, smile, start a conversation, show genuine
interest in others. This week I was in the middle of yard work when I turned off my lawn mower
to interact with neighbors as they walked down the sidewalk. My husband joined the conversation
and was able to give them a ride to the grocery store so that they didn't have to continue their walk
to the bus stop (90 year old woman walking in 90 degree heat). I'm so glad that we took the time
to “see” them. We hope this is one deposit of many that could open a door to a significant
spiritual conversation.
• Talk about God in your normal, everyday conversations. “God is teaching me to be more
patient with my children” or “Praise God He answered my prayer about my aunt's health,” or
“God is working in my life in these ways...” This language will spark curiosity in the watching
• Think about how you might use your time, money, relationships, talents, possessions to
serve and love others. I have a great backyard for kids. I get to bless many young mom friends
by inviting the children over so that she can have some time to do things she wouldn't otherwise
get to do. Yesterday it was so that my neighbor could mow. Today it was so my friend could go
to the gym. Pretty regular occurrence over here. All that we have belongs to God. How can you
be faithful with what you have? It is certainly not to store up for yourself.
• Be available. Clear your schedule. I'm not saying, “don't do anything.” I'm just saying clear
your schedule so that you can be available to think intentionally for how to spend your time.
What is “the need of the hour?” We need space from our busy schedules to think, “Who can we have over tonight?” or “How can we bless the family who just moved in across the street?”
• Food is always a great way to serve people. We keep frozen burgers and hotdogs in the freezer,
ready to pull out at any given notice. We are also likely to have ice cream, ingredients for s'mores,
drinks, or packaged snacks for the little ones. We want to live ready to invite someone over, even
if it's on a whim. And even if it's “just” a frozen burger.
• Ask questions. My friend once told me, “When you don't know what to say, just ask questions
because everyone seems to like to talk about themselves.” That was about 20 years ago and has
proven mostly true! My advice, if you've worked through the basic get-to-know you questions is
to now ask open ended questions that trigger emotions. For example: “What is your favorite thing
about living in Nashville?” or “What are the difficult things about motherhood in this season?'
Eventually, you might pray God opens the door for even deeper spiritual questions like, “Did you
grow up in church?” or “What would you say it takes for someone to go to heaven?”
• Partner with the church – don't do this alone. As I connect with something who may not be in
church, my prayer is always that they would come to know the Lord AND that they would get
plugged in to my church with me. My church is filled with women and men who love the Lord
and point me to Truth on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. I want to always be thinking ways to
connect my non-believing friends with other believers so that they can see the beauty of the Body
lived out. Tomorrow, my mentor and I are meeting with a friend of mine at a park to study the
Bible together. My mentor and I are better together.

To live missionally is to surrender the idea that this life is mine to live on my own and for my own. I died
to living for myself when I became a Christian. Now, I see life through an eternal lens and want to be
faithful to truly love those around me by sharing God's love in my actions and in my conversation.

Let's Get Intimate

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Let's Get Intimate

What comes to mind when you hear of the word intimacy? In my experience, I have often heard the word intimacy be synonymous with sex. But what if using sex and intimacy interchangeable was actually devaluing true intimacy?

 Not all sex is intimate, however good sex is, of course, intimate. Intimacy might not look like sex scenes commonly portrayed in the movies or what you dream up your honeymoon to look like, but even still intimacy is better. Often these depictions of sex are a cheap imitation, they leave us with false expectation of what sex looks like, and on the rare occasion that sex does look like the Hollywood scene we’ve been exposed to, we might be left wondering why it wasn’t as satisfying as we expected. The problem is we are too easily satisfied with the act of sex without the striving for intimacy.

Intimacy takes time and work. Some psychologists say that good sex doesn’t even start to happen until five years into marriage. It has been said before that sex is a lot like wine, it only gets better with time… why is that? The more life you do with your spouse, the more fuel you have for intimacy.

I’m willing to bet if you pondered on your own marriage or asked a married couple about the most intimate moments they have shared, the answer would not be a sexual encounter. I would bet the answer would be a moment of connection, a moment of support, or a moment of knowing one another. For some marriage, sex is not possible in some seasons for various reasons. Does that leave them without intimacy? No, intimacy is found in the connection of walking alongside, comforting, working together.

I can be brought to tear when I think about the most intimate moments in my marriage. If you were to ask me that question in front of my husband, he would immediately know my answer. He would expect the tear. He would be in the moment with me. Why? Because he knows me. He lived the experience with me.

Our most intimate moments have been learning one another, celebrating with one another, and grieving with one another. To be intimate means you are fully known and fully accepted. . In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller wrote “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

The beauty of marriage is the covenant with your husband or wife. There is safety in a covenant. Only in covenant with one another, can intimacy take place. Only in covenant can a argue all night and still go bed saying “I love you” being assured that person is not going anywhere. Only in covenant can one be fully know and fully accepted, and only in covenant can one be naked and truly unashamed (Genesis 2:25).

If marriage is a display of the Gospel to the world, which it is (Ephesians 5:21-33). Sex is a display of the Gospel shown only between only a husband and wife. It is the safe place where a husband and wife affirm their marriage vows by saying, “I see you. I know you. I love you. And you are mine.” This is a dim shadow of the love and acceptance that comes with being in relationship with Christ. To God’s people, Jesus says, “I see you, all of your failures. I want you. I love you. Come be seated at my table” (1 John 3:1; 2 Samuel 9:13).

In a world that equates intimacy with sex, it is crucial to remember that intimacy is a knowing, accepting, and loving of one another. Intimacy in marriage comes with time and covenant commitment between a husband and wife, and then, the sex starts to get good!