As a Christian counselor, when my husband provides premarital counseling, he will most always give the couple a temperament assessment and then expend much energy helping them to understand not only themselves, but their mates' dispositions. Part of helping them to understand their makeup involves open discussion of their views and beliefs about money, and encouraging them to have open, honest, conversations about how they plan to manage their finances.
Disagreements about money have been cited as one of the major reasons first time couples divorce. Living-in-step only complicates financial matters. If minor children are involved, most likely the husband is paying child support and perhaps alimony. The wife may be receiving money from the bio-dad. As a stepfamily, its best to discuss these matters before marriage and lay them all out on the table.
I cannot stress enough the importance of complete disclosure about finances before you marry. Not only should you disclose your current financial situation, but also discuss money management. Do not assume money matters will just work out. Do yourself a favor and take the guesswork out.
Early in our marriage, discussing money appeared to be somewhat of a taboo. As my husband was paying child support, alimony, college expenses, three car payments and car insurance, he would have needed another job to cover the expenses in our household. Since he moved in with me and my children, I continued to cover most of the household expenses. I was okay with that for the most part but there were times when I became angry as I was paying the bills. I felt like too much money was going to the other household. When money was tight I was really frustrated. When his children needed additional expensive items, I felt taken advantage of. I often prayed that I would not say anything to make matters worse. Instead, I dreamed about the day when he would no longer have to pay out so much.
In stepfamilies, emotions will come and go with the monthly exchange of money. When the remarried, non-custodial, bio-dad takes on the responsibility of a new wife, he can feel pulled in different directions. His new wife may have desires and needs that may be neglected because there is little money left. The children may be angry because they have less, and it appears that Dad's new household has more. They may even compare and complain openly. It is possible that the bio-mom may decide to return to court to get additional money when she feels like she and he children are being slighted.
The good news is, the more time goes by, and as children grow up, the closer you get to your financial goals. In the meantime, trust God to provide for you and your family. Remember Philippians 4:29, "God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory". Be blessed Living-in-step!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach