Marriage & Money: The Veto Rule – Our Simple Second Rule


Marriage & Money advice - the second simple rule - The Veto Rule; avoid money fights and build teamwork and respect

My husband and I are an anomaly among couples. At least among the couples we know. We simply don’t have money fights.

I shared with a friend of mine a while back that I am almost scared to be open and honest about how good we have it. It seems like every one of my close girlfriends have something to complain about when it comes to their spouses. And that is just the things they are willing to share.

It feels a bit insensitive to add my two cents to the conversation – extolling the beauty of my relationship with my husband, still going strong after all these years.

That’s not to say we are (by any stretch) perfect. But there are a few things we have been faithful to along the way. These things have built our relationship with open, honest, and vulnerable communication.

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Earlier, I shared our best advice to newlyweds. Today, I am sharing our second money rule. This one is SO HARD – sometimes. But it has been such a wonderful financial protection for us.

Our Quirks – Our Picadilloes

Ok, I know I just talked about not complaining about my husband. So remember that I find these qualities super-endearing when I tell you about them. And remember: he puts up with me and my quirks, just as much as I do his.

My husband likes cars and computers/electronics. These items are not cheap. He has what I refer to as car fever. It is a chronic, incurable condition. Thankfully it is non-communicable. He has gone through so many cars I lost count and can only identify them by color.

I have an obsession with purchasing books – vintage, used, new – you got ’em, I will likely take ’em. Also, I will spend money on my kids in a heartbeat and fuss over a purchase for myself for ages. I even have trouble using a gift card I find valuable – for fear of “wasting” it on something frivolous.

Writing this out has caused me to see afresh the balance we bring to each other. His purchases – typically large and substantial – balance out my frugality.

Because we often find ourselves at different ends of the spectrum on spending, we have one simple rule we follow which brings important balance. It has also always helped us to avoid money fights.

Our Simple Rule

Ready for our simple second rule?

If it’s a “no” for one of us, It is a “no” for both of us.

Earth shattering, isn’t it?

I guess you could translate it and call it the Veto Rule. It is so self explanatory, I figure it doesn’t require much more discussion.

If he says no to something I want – it’s a no.

If I say no to something he wants – it’s a no.

This power-balancing rule, as I said, is hard to follow sometimes. And yet, we have seen how the Lord has used each of us to protect our family from bad financial decisions.

Exclusions to the Veto Rule

There are no specific exclusions to the Veto Rule. However, you will remember we have a Spending Cap rule which is rule number one. The Spending Cap allows each of us to spend up to a certain dollar amount, no questions asked, no permission needed.

We also budget what we call “play money” into the budget every month. This is an amount of money each of us receives each month which we can use however we see fit.

These bits of autonomy are helpful in sticking to the Veto Rule. I guess these could be called corollaries to the rule.

Benefits of the Veto Rule

The number of times we have protected one another from unwise purchases is countless. Also, the number of times we have unwittingly encouraged patience for a bigger blessing is innumerable.

A recent one comes to mind vividly.

Last year we almost lost our minds. Seriously.

Let me tell you the story.

I was dropping my kids off at their best friends’ house. Spotting a For Sale sign on their street, I looked up and saw the cutest house. It was one of those houses with character – like it belongs on TV. My interest piqued, I looked it up and immediately sent a link over to my husband. By the time I got home, he had not only looked up the house, but was talking about setting up an appointment to look at it. Before we could even get into the house to look at it, we were already exploring the neighborhood, discussing the sale of our home, etc. We were dreaming…BIG.

The Lord’s hand appeared to be in it, too. By the next Friday, we had a buyer for our home – without putting it on the market, and were ready to put an offer in on the new “dream” home.

The next day, we spent with family. Busy with the kids and talking with family, I wasn’t paying much attention to my husband. About dinner time, we got a few minutes alone with one another and he confessed he didn’t feel right about this decision. He hadn’t eaten all day. His spirit was simply unsettled. It was a no for him.

Immediately, I told him we should walk away.

So we did. Not only have we not looked back in longing, we have looked back and praised God for His direction in our lives. If my husband had ignored the unsettled feeling he had, or if I had pushed forward when it was a no for him, we might have made a decision we would regret.

My husband protected us from a potentially bad financial decision. One simple word – no – kept us from a dangerous leap.

The Veto Rule Builds Teamwork

An added benefit of the Veto Rule in our marriage has been team building. Instead of being constantly at odds with one another on financial matters, the argument is avoided altogether.

Acquiescing to one another and to the simple rule, requires respect for one another’s wisdom. It places his opinion and my opinion on equal footing.

We don’t say no to one another’s desires just to have the power in the relationship. Rather we trust God’s leading and gifting of both of us, respecting it. God is the One who holds the reins in this relationship – we simply follow His leading for both of us.

The Veto Rule Avoids the Blame Game

Since every financial decision we make is made together, no one is to blame when we step into a bad place.

We have made some bad financial decisions in our marriage. But we do not blame one another because we made them together. Some of the poor decisions we made are comical – some life lessons – but each of them have been the result of collective failure.

If we are going to glory in our financial successes, we need to be able to sit together in our financial failures.

Will the Veto Rule work in your Marriage?

I have no idea if this simple rule will work for you. But I do know the benefits of it in our own marriage.

We are more patient with one another and with money matters. God has used the simple rules we established long ago to bless us. Our adherence to the rule has worked as iron sharpening iron to mold and shape our marriage.

The Veto Rule has also worked to establish respect for one another. I admire my husband for the way he leads our family. And I trust he admires me for the wise financial counsel I bring to the table.

As I said, I don’t know if it will work for others, but I truly hope so!

Marriage & Money advice - the second simple rule - The Veto Rule; avoid money fights and build teamwork and respect

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