Some couples who say the vows "Till death do us part" actually mean "Till debt do us part," because money problems will cause many of them to part. That's why, if you're going to have a great marriage, there must be financial agreement.

The Bible doesn't speak directly to managing money in a marriage, but it does speak a lot about managing money. For instance, the principles about giving that Paul laid out in 2 Corinthians 9 apply to everyone who is a believer, whether single or married. But I want to confine my remarks on this passage to six guidelines on managing money in a marriage:

1. Remember the source: God. In verse 8, Paul said, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (see also v. 10). In other words, God generously supplies the resources from which we live and thus the resources from which we give. So whatever resources you have as a couple, recognize it's all from God (see Deuteronomy 8:18).

2. Restrain yourself. To do this, you need to think of needs, not greeds. God promises to meet your needs: food, clothing, and shelter (see Philippians 4:19). But then there are greeds—unwise spending based on impulse or attractive marketing. To counter that, Hebrews 13:5 tells us, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" You can rest in the fact that God, the maker and supplier of all things, is with you.

3. Reach for the stars—use your finances to give God glory. Paul told the Corinthians that their financial gift to the believers in Jerusalem would cause those believers to "glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men" (v. 13). So learn to look at your finances as a way to worship God and bring Him glory.

4. Regard your soul mate. In this passage, Paul was writing not to an individual, but to a group—the church. In the same way, marriage is God making a group out of a man, a woman, and typically children. My and mine is replaced with our and ours, including when it comes to money. Thus, couples ought to commit to agreeing financially.

5. Regulate your spending. In other words, plan ahead. "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (v. 6). Paul here was using an illustration of farming. A farmer doesn't wake up one day and decide to plant something. He plans well in advance and waits for the right season, temperature, and soil condition. Likewise, couples need to make a plan, a budget—if even a flexible one (see James 4:13-15).

6. Remember to share. "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (v. 7). Giving should be done purposefully, joyfully, and expectantly. It's not the sharing of wealth that impoverishes a Christian—it's the refusal to share it that impoverishes a Christian (see Proverbs 22:9; Acts 20:35).

So may the things that we steward be our servants, and may we not stoop to serving mammon (see Matthew 6:24). May we instead, as husbands and wives, use our finances to serve the living God, to glorify the risen Christ, and to declare our trust in the Lord who has been faithful to provide for us in the first place.

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