Tag Archives: marriage

Kid’s activity schedules…disrupting marriages since minivans were invented

IMG_5218Raising kids is tough.  I struggle all the time worrying about whether or not I’m missing opportunities to impact Eli’s life.  After work, sometimes I’ll do nothing but veg out, and think, “I should probably take this time to do something amazing with him.”  Or, I worry about missing seasons of sports thinking how he may “get behind” the other kids.  What’s difficult is that there is no instruction book for what’s right, and one parent’s perspective can differ greatly from another.

IMG_0383Part of being a good father, husband, employee, and person is learning to have balance in life.  I think too often we are pushed to center our lives around our kids.  Eli likes activities.  If given the chance to do it, he will want to play soccer…and baseball…and basketball…swimming…cub scouts…gymnastics…lacrosse…dancing…wrestling…tennis…and more.  Yikes…that’s a lot!  Even doing just a handful of these will keep us driving back and forth from one activity to another most nights of the week.  And we just have ONE child.  I can only imagine what it would be like when you have multiple kids with busy schedules.  As parents we try very hard to make sure Eli is not over-scheduled.  We have a loose rule that he can only be involved in one sport at a time.  If he wants to play baseball, that’s great…but he has to stop gymnastics.

IMG_1723I think the difficulty lies in wanting your child to have every opportunity to maximize their potential.  If they are physically gifted…you WANT to give them every chance to do their best.  If they are academically gifted…you WANT to do everything you can to help that grow.  We would be slighting our kids if we DIDN’T give them opportunities to grow if there is an area they are gifted and interested in.  The question is…how can you do that and maintain balance in life? 

I think it’s important to figure out what’s the point of being a kid?  Is it to train to become a professional athlete?  Is it to become a genius?  Let’s be honest…statistically speaking, (according to the interwebs) if 100 people read this article, around 10 will have a kid that goes on to play sports at college.  And out of 100 people, 0 will have kids that play professionally.  But out of 100 kids…ALL of them will become adults…and CLOSE to all of them will be married and have kids.  So I think it makes sense to focus the majority of our energy on developing these areas.

  • how to be a husband/wife
  • how to be a father/mother
  • how to be responsible with money
  • how to love God
  • how to make friends
  • how to love others

IMG_2242One of the dangers in putting TOO much of your time and energy into kid’s activities is that the rest of your life can suffer because of it…things like your marriage relationship, your personal health and well being, and your ability to impact other people with your life.  With no margin left in life, it can be easy for these things to fall by the wayside.

I definitely do not have this mastered.  And I’m not totally sure the ways I’ve tried to balance life IS what’s best.  But I think it’s something that is important to think about and make sure to keep in mind.

My challenge to you:

Don’t let your kids activities dominate your life.  Make sure to keep a balance.  Don’t neglect nurturing an interest or talent they have in something, but make sure the push to become great at an activity doesn’t take precedence over the push to become great at becoming an adult.IMG_1933

Wait…this is NOT the person I married

scan0010 - Version 2Do you ever wonder what happened to the person you fell in love with and married?  Are there things about your wife that have changed over the years?  It’s natural for people to change.  Think about yourself…what were you interested in when you were 20 years old?  What types of things did you do with your time?  Now look at today…are you still interested in the same things?  Do you still spend your free time the same way?

**disclaimer…unless I specifically mention something about Julia that has changed, any examples I give are NOT about her…just so we’re clear** :-)

I know I’ve changed.  I used to stay up until 4:30 in the morning every night and would sleep as late as I possibly could.  Now, I’m being wild and crazy if I’m up past 10:15 and am excited and ready to get up at 5:00 in the morning!  Also, I used to HATE any form of exercise…running specifically.  Now, I LOVE it!  I got into running several years ago and would go 4 -5 times a week eventually racing in a marathon.  Now I’m totally into Crossfit and do it 5 times a week!  It would be easy to look at me and say that I’m not the same person I was back when I got married…because I’m not!  I’ve changed in so many ways.

It makes sense if you think about it though.  When you’re young, you’re still learning who you are, who you want to be, and what’s important to you.  As you grow up, get a job, and start a family, your priorities change and so do your interests and actions.  I’ve seen this in Julia too.  When we were dating, she was “very interested” in camping, hiking, and outdoor activities.  She hadn’t done it growing up, but I had and she wanted to do it too.  As we grew in our marriage, she decided that she really didn’t like it…at all.  So, even though hiking and camping was a big part of our dating relationship, in the last 5 years, I think we’ve camped together once.

I’m guessing guys reading this may have something they feel that has changed about their wives since they’ve been married.  So, is this kind of a bait and switch?  Do you feel cheated?  Did you fall in love with your wife solely because of her long brown hair, but since then she cut it short and dyed it blonde?  If that’s the case then that’s something you’re going to have to work through.  But HOPEFULLY it was more than one or two specific things that made you fall in love in the first place.  Hopefully a couple things about them changing is nothing compared to the complete package of the person they are.

greek_letter_delta_rectangle_decalHere’s what you need to do…EMBRACE THE CHANGE!  Your wife is growing as a person and finding out who she really is.  I fell in love with Julia because of who she is, not because of her singing voice, her love of reading, her looks, her intelligence, her ultimate frisbee skills, or her love of camping.  I married her because God brought us together and there is NO ONE I would rather spend my life with.  She makes me a better person and is my best friend, and those are things that will NEVER change.  I love her way more now than I did when we first got married, and I’m proud of the woman she has become.

My challenge to you:

If there is something about your wife that you used to like which has changed over time, focus on who she is as a whole.  Don’t lament the long brown hair she used to have, the way she used to love to travel but doesn’t now, the the skinny legs that she used to have, or that she used to like the same movies as you but doesn’t anymore.  Instead, love her for who she is now.  Remember that God has created her to be that way and he has made her to be your wife.

My secondary challenge is this…think about how YOU have changed.  Some ways may be for good, but some may not.  What attracted your wife to you originally?  Was it your humor, personality, looks, confidence, the way you pursued her, the way you paid attention to her.  Some of these (if they’ve changed…like looks) you can’t do much about.  But, some of them could change due to laziness or a lack of focus.  So…think about what may have changed in YOU that she may miss…and see if you can do anything to get it back!

A new year’s resolution your wife will be glad you made

o-NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS-2014-CANADA-facebookIn reality, there is nothing special about January 1st.  Sure, it’s a new calendar year, but it’s really no different than the day before.  To be honest, I feel the concept of new year’s resolutions is a little silly.  If something is so important to someone, why wait until January 1st to start doing it?!  Why not start whenever you first realize you should be doing it?!

But, I DO often make resolutions in a new year.  Not because that’s the only time I can convince myself to do something, but because I like to take the opportunity to think about my life and what I may want to change about it.  The new year is a good reminder to try to focus on something that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought about.

Sometimes my resolution has something to do with my health or fitness.  Sometimes it’s about my spiritual life.  Sometimes it is something to do with my family.  This year, my resolution is to spend more time in prayer.  I want to work prayer into my life more…in the morning, before bed, with my family, when things are going well, and when they’re going badly.  I want it to be more of a REGULAR part of my life.

Change-Ahead-signIf you’ve been following this blog and feel there are some areas you could use some focus on concerning your role as a husband, maybe January 1st is a good time to make a resolution!  To get you started, here are some possible ideas…

  • I resolve to do more around the house to help out:  Maybe add one more chore to your regular responsibility list that your wife has done in the past.  Or maybe just identify a few things that you normally don’t help with and try to look for chances to intentionally take care of them.
  • I resolve to feed into my wife’s main love language:  Go all out and constantly try to love her in that area.  If you don’t know about love languages, see my earlier post about it.  If you’re not showing her love in this, it would be a great area for you to focus on.
  • I resolve to be more selfless:  The biggest enemy to a strong marriage is selfishness.  Where do you eat?  What do you watch on tv?  What music do you listen to in the car?  What color couch do you buy?  Being married means you work together on decisions like these (and millions of others).  A leader who always gets what he wants could be seen as a dictator.  A GOOD leader is one who thinks more of others than himself.  For the new year, try to focus on being more selfless.
  • I resolve to be a better spiritual leader:  What is the spiritual health of your family like?  How much of it’s health is due to YOUR influence?  Think about some ways you can help your family grow.  Family prayer time, family devotional time, or leading by example in personal study and prayer…these are all possible things to focus on.

Remember, January 1st is a new day and is the perfect chance to think about something you may want to do differently.  Whatever it is, cover it with prayer and ask God to help you sustain change to allow your to bless your wife and others.

It’s never too late to learn from your dad

IMG_5464I grew up with 2 brothers and we had a lot of fun as kids.  One thing that was great about growing up was learning from my dad.  He was silly.  He liked to have fun with us.  He helped us catch snakes.  He loved taking us camping, hiking, and exploring.  He taught us about budgeting and how to be financially responsible.  He was solid in his knowledge of the Bible and taught us well about growing up to be godly men.  I was very blessed to see a model of what being an AMAZING father looked like, and I feel that much of what is good about my role as a father now, I learned from his example.

Several years ago, something else happened that left an impression on me.  After my younger brother went off to college, my parents were left with an empty nest.  Rather than become “roommates” living in a house together without kids, my dad stepped up who he was as a husband to my mom.  He was afraid they wouldn’t have things to talk about.  They started doing an anniversary journal (like the one I wrote about earlier), and he wasn’t satisfied with the content he was able to fill it with.  So because of this, he decided to be intentional about making a change in their marriage.

They set goals together for their marriage.  He started to learn more about himself…understanding more about his feelings and how who he is now was shaped by his past experiences.  He was able to open up and share more with my mom on a personal level.  He initiated them reading together and studying the Bible together.  He took dance lessons with her.  He made sure to take dates with her on a regular basis.  And he became very intentional about finding ways to serve her…like doing things around the house that he never did in the past.

I’ve seen such a change in him during this time.  It has been so inspiring to me to see it, and I feel challenged to know that it is never too late to make changes in life.  If my dad can make a huge difference in who he is as a husband after 30 years of marriage, then I’m sure anyone with a desire and will to do it can too.

My challenge to you:
If you don’t feel you are an ideal husband (or father, or worker, or friend, or follower of Christ, or whatever…), it doesn’t matter where you are in life, you can make a change starting NOW.  Show your wife you love her.  Don’t settle for what you’ve always done.  If you’ve settled into a comfortable routine consisting of mediocre affection and selfishness, it’s time to step up your game.  If you can make your wife say, “wow, who is this man and what have you done to my husband?!”, then you’re on the right track!

How a clean shower leads to a happy marriage…

...not our actual shower :-)
…not our actual shower :-)

I know a surefire way to bring conflict into a marriage…one person NOT doing something that is expected of them.  This statement could apply in lots of ways, but today I’m specifically referring to household responsibilities.  I’m not going to tell you which of us does this in our marriage, but I’ll give you a hint…it’s both of us!

For example, I’m responsible for taking out the trash.  Every once in a while I forget to do it though.  When that happens, the trash starts to pile up, and the can in the garage starts to stink.  Also, I’m responsible for cleaning the tubs and showers in the house.  For some reason, I have a habit of letting this go for weeks…scratch that…for months…before cleaning them.  Julia doesn’t complain though.  She’s very understanding and forgiving.  But, when I do this repeatedly, and my negligence results in her having to put up with smelly trash and dirty showers, so naturally she is a little upset.

There are two problems I run into concerning chores.  One is that I sometimes forget what things I’m responsible for.  And, the other is that sometimes my tolerance for what is “acceptable” doesn’t match hers.  This isn’t to say that her expectations are unreasonable by any means.  I’m just not putting the necessary amount of effort and attention into doing something that I agreed would be my responsibility.

Just recently we sat down and redefined our chore list.  It was a great chance to do a couple things:

  • Now that Julia is working part-time, she has much less free time.  This gave us a chance to re-balance the amount of work each of us was responsible for.
  • It helped remind of us which chores were on our list
  • It gave each of us the chance to discuss if there was an area the other person wasn’t meeting what we felt was a reasonable expectation for that chore.

As a result of this conversation, we BOTH have done a better job with our responsibilities.  This has helped us to feel more loved by each other, and resulted in less frustration…woohoo!

My challenge to you:

Sit down and talk with your wife about household chores.

  • Make a list and divide up who is going to be responsible for what areas.
  • Make sure things are divided up to where you are both sharing in the load.
  • Make sure you are able to RESPECTFULLY discuss if someone isn’t currently taking care of an area to the extent you would like.
  • Set a calendar reminder to touch base again in 6 months or a year to see how it’s going.

I wish I knew THAT back when I got married

This weekend I had the joy of seeing one of my oldest friends get married.  It was so great to see how happy he is marrying the woman God prepared just for him.  They’re a perfect fit for each other, and it makes me so excited to see them together!

8eAs I was there, it made me think about weddings in general.  Couples often put SO much effort into planning for “the big day” so that it can be amazing.  All the food, flowers, schedules, music, etc has to be planned out in hopes of the event going perfectly.  In all the work, it can be easy to put so much focus on the wedding itself, that couples can sometimes forget to put the same amount of effort and planning into their marriage.  Many couples, including my friend and his wife, go through some type of premarital counseling and guidance, to help prepare them for their marriage…not just for the wedding.  Without this type of work, a couple might know EXACTLY what they’re doing for the 6 hours of the wedding and reception, but not have a clue of what they’re going to do for the 5 decades to come of their marriage!

Reading this, you may agree, but be already married and past the point to do anything with this idea.  So, here’s the bomb…it is NEVER too late to prepare for your marriage!  You may be married for 20 years now, but you can STILL go through some of these marriage prep ideas.

  • Discuss your desires and expectations for children:  You may already have three of them, but it is good to make sure you and your wife are on the same page no matter where you are in your family size.
  • Discuss role expectations:  One of the best things Julia and I did in preparing for our marriage was discuss our expectations of who would be the “decision maker” in certain areas of life.  We did this in a workbook called Before You Say I Do, but you could do the exercise without it.  Come up with a list of categories (where money is spent, where we live, parenting roles, home decoration, church involvement, vacation decisions, etc) and indicate what percentage of influence each spouse has in that category.    Answer on your own and then compare.  We found it VERY interesting and helpful.  You can do this even if you’ve been married for a long time!
  • Discuss finances:  How do you budget your money?  What do you do with “extra” money that comes in?  Who manages the bills and balancing it all?
  • Discuss things you want to make sure you do or don’t do as a parent.  This is important even if you are halfway through the process.
  • Have another (possibly older) couple that can serve as a mentor couple to you.  Share with them issues that you have and be open to advice.
  • Talk about communication:  How well do you communicate?  Are there lingering issues that need to be discussed that you haven’t addressed?
  • See a marriage counselor:  No, this is NOT just for couples that are “in trouble”.  Seeing a marriage counselor can help anyone.  If your marriage is good, that might be what you need to help make it GREAT!

My challenge to you:
If you are already married, think through the list above and possibly sit down with your spouse and talk about some of them.  Discussing topics like these, even if you’ve been married for a long time, will help you be on the same page and be more purposeful in your marriage.  You have a lot of married time together left in life, so go prepare for it!!

I love football more than my wife

Watching-football-on-TVOk guys, it’s that time of the year again!  Break out the cold drinks, chips, remote control , and the la-z-boy because it’s football season!  My favorite sport to watch all year is NFL football, and I get so excited when September comes around…as I know many of you men do too.  Even though I love it, and even though I cheer for my Falcons, Eagles, and Yellow Jackets, I believe there is a hidden downside that many people don’t recognize, and often don’t choose to care about.

Just like eating warm Krispy Kreme donuts, watching football can be a lot of fun.  However, if you don’t show restraint in how much you consume, you may find yourself dealing with other side effects that you didn’t want.  What I’m talking about is balance in life.  Let’s picture a guy who is WAY into his football watching.  Saturday, college football is on TV all day long.  Sunday, NFL is on all day long.  And of course, he can’t miss the Monday night game.  And oh…this week there is a Thursday game too.  Plus, don’t forget about all the ESPN update shows in the middle that analyze what’s happened and is going to happen.  Realistically, this can very easily add up to 25-30 hours of football watching per week!  So, outside of work, sleeping, commuting, and watching football, how much time is this guy devoting to meaningful conversation or activities with his wife and kids?  Probably not much…because there is not much left.

Now, most of you probably aren’t like this guy.  But, still I would venture a guess that MANY guys reading this will watch 1 maybe 2 games on a Saturday, 1 maybe 2 games on a Sunday, and maybe one more during the week.  That’s easily somewhere between 10 and 20 hours per week.  Again the question is…how much time is left for the family?

Now, don’t think I’m against football because I’m not.  Often I end up watching a LOT just because it’s there, and I love it.  Julia always rejoices though when February comes around and there is no more to watch.  Even if she’s partially joking about celebrating it being over, that means some part of her feels neglected during that time…and I hate that.  I think actions sometimes say something that we would never put into words.  And if I’m being honest, there are some weeks where my actions have spoken loud and clear to Julia telling her that I love football more than her.  And for me…that’s just not acceptable.

So, here’s my plan that I try to go by…  On any given day, I pick out which game I am most interested in and ONLY watch that one.  If she’s going to be gone, maybe I’ll watch more.  Or, if she’s going out that night, maybe I’ll TIVO a game and watch it when she leaves.  And I try to make a point of spending time with her and Eli whenever I can.

My challenge to you:

If you love watching football, think about how much time you spend doing it.  Think about what message it sends to your wife.  And evaluate if you need to change something up.  Remember what is important!  At the end of your life, are you more likely to think back and wish that you spent MORE time watching football?  Or are you more likely to wish you spent more quality time with your wife and kids?

Yes, I would LOVE to watch that reality TV show about dancing with you

couple-watching-tv_725x377-1360355188So, you want to have a closer relationship with your wife huh?  Here’s something that can help.  Find something you can share an interest in.  If you each always pursue what YOU want to do, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to share life together.  Having an activity, sport, TV show, or hobby that you’re both interested in is a GREAT way to spend more time together and connect better.

Couple-ReadingIt’s tough for me to write about this subject because, to be honest, I have a lot of room for improvement in it.  I did read Twilight (ok) and The Host (pretty good), but on the whole I have a hard time choosing to read the types of books she’s interested in reading.  We have a few TV shows that we both enjoy (Amazing Race, Modern Family, Survivor), but on the whole my TV preferences are MUCH different than hers.  Same with movies…I like explosions and adventure.  National Treasure is probably the archetype for my ideal movie…whereas hers is Lars and the Real Girl.

I KNOW that I should suck it up and watch So You Think You Can Dance, or Parenthood, or Celebrity Game Night, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I know that I should read more books that she reads as a way to understand and connect with her more.  I know that I should sit through watching The Tree of Life as a way to understand more about what she loves, but I just haven’t.

tennisfansHow great would it be if I put aside what I wanted to do and decided to pursue an interest in something she was interested in.  Or if we both decided to get into a new hobby together (dancing, painting, etc).

My advice to you:
Try out some of the things your wife is into.  Even if it is not something you’re interested in, try it out as a way to connect with her more.  And talk with her about finding a new activity that you both could get into and try it together.  Even if you don’t fall in love with the new activity, at least you’re experiencing it together…which can be fun.

Life is good, so why does my marriage feel so distant?!

far_awayOk…this week’s post is a reality check for me.  I LOVE my life.  I feel very blessed and am so thankful for what God has given to me.  But, the last few weeks have been a sobering reminder of just how TOUGH life can be.

Recently, Julia and I signed up to be marriage coaches for small group leaders at our church.  I’m really excited about it.  It’s a way to use my passions to reach other people and encourage them in their marriage.  Also, it’s a great opportunity for us to have a ministry TOGETHER, which we haven’t done in a long time.  But, we knew that as soon as we got in a place to do what we felt God calling us to do, that we would be attacked.  And that’s exactly what happened.

From the moment we agreed to be coaches, Julia and I have felt distant.  Life was busy like it always is.  I had a couple business trips.   Eli started back in school.  But, nothing was that different though.  All of a sudden, Julia and I just felt like roommates.  It was weird.  We still loved each other, but felt like we didn’t know each other anymore.  And we BOTH felt it, but couldn’t figure out anything to do to fix it.  The evenings we did have together resulted in surface conversations and watching mindless TV.

As a result of this, I found myself spending a lot of time in prayer.  Isn’t it a shame, that it often takes desperate situations to give our prayer lives much substance?…but, maybe that’s just me.  I felt God speaking to me about a few things during this time.

  • From a Bible study Julia and I have been doing together, I really felt convicted by Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the tree in Daniel 4.  How he had become so great and self-reliant that God saw fit to take everything away from him.  I realized how I didn’t want it to take devastation in my life to get me to “praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven” the way He deserves.
  • I recently felt convicted/reminded about my role as a father from a conversation I had with a friend.  We both shared how we had a hard time having the energy to be a dad when our kids wanted us.  That it can be so tempting to just “get by” rather than make the effort to really do fun things with them.
  • If we are going to “lead” others, we need to expect to be spiritually attacked.  I realized that if we are going to be able to be effective as coaches, we cannot do it on our own.
  • Lastly, I felt challenged by last week’s message at our church titled “Living for God in a Godless Culture”.  I felt inadequate in my passion for reaching the many people all around me who need help and need the Gospel.

All of these issues stacked up to make me feel overwhelmed and unworthy of the grace and blessings that God has given to me.  It resulted in me crying in the back row of church with Julia as I prayed for God to help me be the husband I need to, the father I need to, the coach I need to be to our new group, and of course to help Julia and I communicate and work through whatever had been derailing our relationship.

As cathartic as that moment was, it wasn’t a magic spell that fixed everything.  I have spent a lot of time in prayer since then, and we’ve been able to have some good conversations in the last several days.  With God’s help, we’re doing MUCH better now and I’m confident that our marriage will continue to grow and become stronger than ever.  Also, I know that HE WILL USE US.  He has called us to this ministry and I believe good things will happen as a result.

My advice to you:

If you and your wife feel distant, there is going to be some underlying cause.  Make it your top priority to work through it.  The work WILL be tough, but is undoubtably worth it.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you spending enough quality time together (talking and doing things…not just being physically near each other)
  • Are you too busy?  Maybe you need to cut out some activities.
  • Are you putting your wife’s needs over yours?
  • How is your prayer life?  If your marriage doesn’t have roots in The Word, then you have nothing to keep you grounded.
  • Are there any sins or issues that need to be confessed or discussed?  Nothing will derail a relationship quite like secrets and lies.  Confession is a powerful tool that take away its power over you.

5 secrets to prevent fighting over finances

marriage-money“You know what really makes our marriage amazing…finances!”…said no person ever.  It’s no secret that financial issues are the number one conflict in marriages.  In our society today, practically ALL of our lives center around money…the house we live in, the cars we drive, the food we eat, the activities we’re in, the clothes we wear, how much we tithe, etc.  And the one immutable fact about money is…when it’s gone…it’s gone!  So, in a marriage it is easy to see how a couple, who lives together and shares expenses, could easily have conflict.

I feel PRETTY good (and I use that term loosely) about how Julia and I balance finances.  I think we communicate pretty well and I’m lucky that Julia is so responsible with money.  However, we STILL argue about money from time to time.  I want to share some tips that I’ve found to be helpful in this area.  We haven’t mastered them yet, but I think they are all good things to consider…

1. Treat any income as joint income

If you and your wife both work, nothing promotes selfishness and mistrust quite like keeping your money separate.  Treat any income as FAMILY income.  Combine it and decide together what to do with it.  Separate bank accounts might sound good to the one who earns the higher income, but it creates a hierarchy of importance in the relationship…which is never good.  At work, I’ve heard from several different guys how when annual bonus time comes around, they turn off the automatic deposit for their paycheck…so they can get their bonus money and do whatever they want with it without their wife knowing about it.  Please, for your sake…don’t do this.

2. Don’t hide purchases from your wife

No matter how you keep track of purchases, there is always some way to “get away with” buying something that your wife doesn’t know about.  What I mean is…imagine you have a budget category for electronics, clothes, games, food, etc and you want to buy something but don’t have enough money in the budget for it.  There is often a way to get around this and buy it without your wife knowing that you spent money you weren’t supposed to (especially if you’re the one who takes care of the finances).  DON’T DO IT!  You wouldn’t want her to do it to you, so set the right example and be honest with what you do.

divorce-money-fight3. Budget together

One of my favorite times of the year…budgeting time!!  Julia doesn’t share my enthusiasm for it, but I make sure that she has input into what we do.  Whatever method you use, make sure both you and your wife have a say in the process.

4. Don’t make large financial decisions without being in agreement

Make sure anytime you’re making a decision that involves finances for something larger than your normal expenses that you both are talking about it and are in agreement.  It drives me crazy when I see those commercials about someone buying a new $50,000 car and putting a bow on it for a surprise gift.  Really?…you’re not going to talk about that first?

5. Pray about finances

When you’re budgeting, or deciding about large purchases, don’t rely on your own instincts.  Pray about whether or not it is a good idea.  Ask God to give you wisdom and an unselfish heart.  If you apply this to financial decisions, especially if you pray TOGETHER, it will help make sure you’re on the same page…not just with your wife…but with God.  Remember that God is the one who gave you the money, so keep that in mind when deciding what to do with it.

My advice to you:

No matter where you are, we all need to make sure we’re being healthy in our marriage relationship where finances are concerned.  All of the above advice can be summed up by…don’t be selfish, talk about money, remember that God gave it to you.