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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.

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!

History isn't Destiny

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Genesis 50:20:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

So, I think we all have a voice in our head without being “crazy.” It will often bring shame and accusations to us, and most times won’t even wait for us to get to our second cup of coffee before we subconsciously agree with it. 

“You’ll never get past your past.” or “You have a ceiling because of what was done to you.” or “Your history will define you no matter who you pretend to be.” “You’re a fraud and others will eventually find out.”

This voice is one that drags us backward, because that is where we feel the most inept and shameful. We tell ourselves, “There is no way my story will be a beautiful one because of where I came from. There is no way I can build a beautiful family, because I’ll end up just like my parents, or will become what my parents said I’d become.” This is the voice of shame - and it’s effective. 

My favorite strategy has two steps. First, simple agreement. That’s right. I just agree with the voice, but maybe not for the same reason you’d think. I know I’m limited. I’ve hurt others in my past and others have hurt me. I also carry regrettable decisions as I regret things that have happened to me. My past family wasn’t perfect, and the one I’m building also isn’t perfect. But God is perfect for the imperfect. 

Take the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. His history was ridiculous and full of limiters. Bad family. Bad luck? Bad opportunities? Nothing was perfectly laid out for Joseph. But God is perfect for the imperfect. 

So what do we do? We agree that we are not perfect. Step two, remind yourself that the Gospel is perfect for imperfect people. 

Philippians 3:13–14:

I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind & straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Paul wasn’t celebrating a weird selective amnesia, but a gospel forgetfulness. He didn’t ignore his history, but refused it access to define his future. His future was determined by God and his Gospel. 

Lamentations 3:22–24:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

For you and me, when we hear the voice in our head of our lack, we can find peace in revisiting the gospel to celebrate the mercy of it all and enjoying what it has given us. We are free to forget, and free to strain forward. 

You’ll make decisions that are dumb and you’ll have regrets, and still God covers over a multitude of our worst moments with his best and most shining moment. He takes our baggage as we carry it to the cross. No longer are you defined by your past timeline. Your history is not your destiny.

 

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