Two short months into our marriage, we got a rude awakening as to how quickly money can become an issue in marriage and in life–and to how quickly money can disappear!  My husband’s leg was absolutely shattered in a farming accident.  And by the time he got home from the hospital, the first of the more than $65,000 in bills was already waiting in our mailbox.

We were thankful that our parents had raised us with practical, biblical financial principles that had helped us prepare for something like this.  But we had to laugh when the lady in the hospital’s financial aid department told us that because we had some savings and owned our house–and I wasn’t pregnant!–they could not offer us a dime’s worth of a discount.  We got the same story at the local agency we tried.

It didn’t matter.  God was faithful.  Because we had built a small one-room house on land we owned, we had some savings with which to start paying the bills while we waited for the money to come in from the other members of Samaritan Ministries, a Christian medical-expense sharing group we were so very thankful to be a part of!  (Thankfully we had joined Samaritan right away even though we were young, invincible, and didn’t plan to get pregnant immediately and thus had no need of medical insurance yet!)  Between the generosity of the Samaritan family and other members of the body of Christ–and a nice lady in the billing department who knew about Samaritan and reduced our bill–every penny was covered.  And in the midst of it, we saw the truth of what Howard Dayton writes in Money and Marriage:

God wants you to use money and even money challenges to bring the two of you closer to each other rather than damaging your marriage…  God intends money to be one of the glues that bonds your love for each other…  (pg. 19)

In the pages of Money and Marriage God’s Way I found the time-tested financial principles upon which my husband and I had been raised, instead of those upon which our government seems to be operating currently.  But at the same time, it was refreshing to read a book that came out in the midst of our country’s economic crisis that made no reference to the current state of affairs (other than reassuring us that Social Security will eventually be bankrupt!).  Because the truth is, sound financial principles are the same whether our country is at its most prosperous or in its deepest debt–just as God’s principles for marriage don’t change with the times.

In Howard Dayton’s Money and Marriage I found a solid biblical outline of how a marriage should be lived and how a family’s finances should be managed.  Written in an easy-to-read conversational style, I found Dayton’s book to be memorable and recommendable.

He addresses everyone from engaged couples to parents of blended families–and every scenario in between.  And about being a stay-at-home-mom?  Howard Dayton states emphatically: “Having all the stuff in the world doesn’t compare to the privilege of raising a child” (pg. 200).

His principle of tithing was again very refreshing and biblical: “…the tithe should be the beginning of giving, not its limit” (pg. 101).

Money and Marriage highlights the very real concept of a couple having different financial personalities and backgrounds.  And as I thought about my husband’s and my very similar financial upbringing, I could still see how we’ve managed to turn our differences into strengths: we’ve mixed my “cheap” side with his willingness to pay more for quality into a shared passion for shopping at thrift stores!

The crux of Howard Dayton’s message in Money and Marriage God’s Way is this:

When you marry, the Lord wants the two of you to become on in every area including your finances.  (pg. 176)

And because money will be an issue sooner or later in every marriage, Money and Marriage is a book every couple should read—together—before and after marriage!

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  1. Gretchen,
    I always, always enjoy reading your posts. Have you ever considered writing/having published a book? (Or would you at request???)
    I would be the first to buy a copy!

  2. Suzanne England says:

    Your words of wisdom ring so true!!
    When times are financially tight at the ranch, God has never failed to provide for our needs often in the most surprising of ways!

  3. Charlotte says:

    I remember you mentioning SM after the accident. Am I correct in understanding that you did not have insurance? My son and I do not have insurance and I am wondering if this is an option for us to consider more seriously. Thanks for any other info you can share.
    God bless!

  4. Lovely testimony, Gretchen.

    God has been very faithful to us, too. My husband and I had almost nothing when we got married, but we have God. Despite driving 2 old junkers (12 & 20 years old) that should have been in the shop every month but have hardly broken down, despite medical bills and surgery (though not $65,000 worth!), despite unpaid furloughs, despite…. well, God is faithful. Slowly we’ve accumulated all the household basics and a few luxuries (fake flowers are my luxury!). I’m amazed how much of our furniture was given to us; most of the rest was super-cheap, great-quality at garage sales. All we need and a little more. And the most joyful part is being able to give generously.

    Budget together, budget every dollar, save some from every paycheck, and give as much as you can. Most of all, trust God. He will do for you what He does for others. 🙂

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