Friday, January 8, 2010

Dave Ramsey for a Stronger Marriage

Those of you who have read my posts on marriage before are probably a bit puzzled by my title, but I am totally serious. There have been a lot of great books and people who have made a positive impact on our marriage. Recently Dave Ramsey has made a great difference in our relationship.

When our church held a Financial Peace University a while back, I was familiar with the name Dave Ramsey, but Thomas had no idea who he was. Thomas had taken a Crown Financial class at our church a few years before that, so he didn't have any interest in FPU classes. I was curious, but when I found out the kit you had to buy to take the class was $100, I thought that was crazy. I was thinking, "Who has $100 to spend on that kit if you are really in need of a class on finances?". I just thought it was kind of ridiculous. I don't think the classes were really well advertised at that time, or maybe it just wasn't the right time for us to take them.

So, Fall 2009, the kids started going to AWANA classes at Ellie's best friend's church. While the kids were in class, and I was at my part-time job, Thomas was invited to sit in on a Financial Peace class at the AWANA Church (as we call it). We had attended Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope, and Thomas liked what he said. So, at this point, Thomas was interested and wanted me to check it out, too, but I had no way to do that since I was at work. We asked our church about borrowing the dvds. At the same time they were offering for sale two leftover kits from the class at our church (long since done and people graduated). We weren't sure if we wanted to purchase the kit (still $100), but after viewing the videos, decided that we should purchase the kit and implement what we were learning.

Now, I should give you all a bit of a background on what we brought to our marriage in the financial arena. Thomas and I came from two very different backgrounds. My parents were savers (they bought their first car together as a married couple with cash) and didn't even have credit cards most of my growing up years. Thomas came from a family who relied on credit for emergency's and large purchases. I got my first credit card in college and only used it to "build my credit score" (which I now know is a load of hooey); I only used the card when I had the money to pay the bill in full. I pulled an Eve and encouraged Thomas to get his first credit card for the same reason.

Well, we did well during college and didn't bring a load of credit card debt to our marriage, but the only thing we really agreed about money before we were married is that we would share our money and we would share the bookkeeping and bill paying. I only wish we'd known then what we know now. We didn't really save money, though we didn't spend like crazy, we spent much of what we made. I am certian we could have done better at saving more money when we were first married if we were taught the principles (Godly principles) about how to handle our money that we have learned from Dave Ramsey.

So, through the last decade of marriage, we have went through many stages. At first, we shared our money and bill paying as we had earlier agreed. Only, we had both kept our own check book before and had different ways of doing things. We drove each other crazy. We also went through a stage where we didn't agree with the way the other was spending money. That led us to separate accounts and separate responsibilites for our money. That worked well for a while, but I think we still both felt that the other was not necessarily spending the way we thought he/she should be. The last year or so, we had been working together more to bring each other in on what we were spending money on. This was nice, because I do believe there was a bit of a wedge between us that money was leaving there.

Going through FPU has pulled that wedge away. We still have two accounts, but we have equal access to the accounts. We sit down and budget together. He no longer worries that I am spending on things I shouldn't be spending on, and I realize he doesn't spend as much on things I thought he was spending too much on either. I have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders knowing where the money is going. We finally have an emergency fund! That is a relief, too.

The kids sat in on our private FPU class and everyone quotes Dave Ramsey. Wyatt reminds Daddy that "The man is supposed to make the woman feel comfortable" (by saving, budgeting, and more)...especially if he feels Mommy is not feeling comfortable. Ellie likes to say "Gazelle Intense!". The kids are saving money and learning how to handle their money the way we wish we had learned when we were their age. We got the kids FPU JR. for Christmas and look for them to have a lifetime of wise handling their finances.

Our Pastor asked us to consider leading an FPU class at our church. The lessons have made such a positive impact on our marriage and family. Well, we prayed and discussed and decided we wanted to share what we learned with others. We will begin leading classes next month.

In the classes, Dave Ramsey quotes research that the #1 reason for problems in a marriage is money problems, money fights. I can't even explain how much closer Thomas and I have become in agreeing on our finances. I thought Created to Be His Help Meet and our Fireproof Couples Study made such a huge difference in bringing us closer, but Dave Ramsey's FPU has even surpassed those! Having a strong marriage means security for our children. Secure children means a stronger and happier family. It's all good. As Dave Ramsey says, "We're changing our family tree."

"... the borrower is slave to the lender." Proverbs 22:7

Looking forward to FREEDOM!

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