November 15, 2018
At my former church, I had the opportunity to spend time with those in our premarital class and discuss the issue of money. One of the very first pieces of advice I gave was to, once married, get joint bank accounts and avoid bank accounts to which your spouse will not be able to access. Why? Because you do not get choose what part of your spouse you want to marry or what part you want to give to your spouse. It’s an all-in deal—You get all of them, and they get all of you.
Including your bank account.
Having joint bank accounts communicates something to your spouse about the marriage. Here are five messages joint bank accounts send to your spouse:
- Joint accounts communicate “our money.” In a marriage, the statement “Well, it’s my money so….” is a lie and is divisive. Joint accounts tell your spouse the money you or your spouse makes is just as much theirs as it is yours. It does not matter who makes more or less money for the family. It is both the husband’s and the wife’s money—every single penny.
- Join accounts communicate “our expenditures.” Whether hidden or in plain sight, your purchases affect your spouse. If you have poor purchase habits, your spouse feels the fallout. Married couples do not make financial decisions in a vacuum. Joint accounts encourage input from both spouses in determining expenditures. And getting on the same financial page can significantly reduce arguments over money.
- Joint accounts communicate transparency. When you have joint accounts, there is no hiding your purchases. It tells your spouse you want them to be aware of your purchases—that there is nothing you are hiding from them. No purchase or movement of money is done in secret.
- Joint accounts communicate trust. Accounts to which both husband and wife have access demonstrates a belief that the spouse will handle money in an agreed upon way. Each has confidence in the other.
- Joint accounts communicate commitment. Contrastingly, separate accounts communicate a desire to remain free of accountability and responsibility to another. Separate accounts communicate you are not ready to bring everything into the marriage and can communicate you want a way out. Pooling finances raises the level of accountability and responsibility. And it demonstrates that you are committed to you spouse. Every part of you is theirs, including the bank account.
When God created marriage, He intended it to be an all-in deal. It is two becoming one. Deciding to have joint accounts can communicate transparency, trust, and commitment to your spouse. Because in marriage, it is not “my money” and “my expenditures” but “our money” and “our expenditures.”
Written by Art Rainer, member of the Summit Stewardship and Generosity Ministry Leadership Team.
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