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5 Questions to ask about giving before marriage

salt crystal Mairi Davidson
11 min

Marriage and giving

Have you noticed how money is mentioned in traditional marriage vows? ‘For richer, for poorer... to love and to cherish, till death us do part.’ In marriage two people commit to life with each other, no matter the circumstances. They are saying ‘all I am is yours, including my money’. This self-giving reflects God’s love, freely given to each of us. 

Good marriage preparation includes discussing your finances. You might do this on a course, with your minister/priest or a trusted mentor couple. As you make a budget plan, don’t forget to bring up giving too. When we give – as people who are single, dating, engaged or married – we get to partner with God! We acknowledge that all we have is a gift from him. Our giving shows an all-I-have-is-yours attitude toward God. 

giving back to God

A couple I know continued to give even when they suffered through debt, job loss and raising a young family. Hearing this decision, I thought they were incredibly brave. Even better, God provided! It was inspiring to hear how they repaid their debt without ever having to reduce their tithing. Giving is an incredibly powerful testimony of faith. It shows our family and friends what a life trusting God looks like. 

Whether that’s supporting charities or tithing to your local church – our giving shouldn’t go when we say ‘I do’. To help you get on the same page, in this post we’ll go through 5 questions to ask about giving before marriage. 

1. What is our motivation for giving? 

So where do you start? 

The best place, like most things, is to look inward. What motivates our decision to give, at any point in life, matters to God. It’s best to ensure you’re singing from the same hymn sheet as a couple. This starts with our hearts. 

A call to joyful generosity 

If tithing comes from a place of guilt or grandiose ideas, or causes you to bear a grudge, it’s not what God wants. He’s after our generous and joyful offerings.

2 Corinthians tell us:

‘Give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:7).

joyful giving

Giving, at its core, is worship to God. Don’t miss out on the freedom and joy to be found in generous giving. In giving we are extending our praise to God. No matter our bank balance, giving worships God for his provision and how trustworthy he is. Focusing on God’s generous love is a solid foundation for all your decisions in marriage, especially those around money. This isn’t everyone’s default setting. Spend time praying through your feelings around tithing. Sometimes choosing obedience before gladness is the right first step. The following video on generosity from The Bible Project is well worth a watch.

A call to follow God’s word

According to Stewardship’s recent survey, 56% of young Christians said that ‘following biblical guidelines of giving’ was their biggest motivation to give. 

The Bible is clear that God asks us to give. I often go back to the story of Hannah.

In 1 Samuel, Hannah is deeply anguished and begs God to help her have a son. In her pleading she vows, ‘I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life’ (1 Samuel 1:11). God, remembering Hannah, grants her a son. She keeps her word, giving back to God what she promised. 

‘I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord’ (1 Samuel 1:27–28 HCB).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can relate to Hannah’s story here. Desperately pleading for God to provide (a job, healing, a partner) can feel unending. But we can take inspiration from Hannah’s faithfulness too. 

Giving back to God what was his in the first place is what biblical tithing really means.

A call to Kingdom work

In the same survey, Stewardship found that ‘wanting to steward money well’ (54%) and ‘wanting to further the work of the Church’ (46%) were key motivations for giving. When we give our money it’s towards a purpose. Tithing is mainly for the work of the local church and its employees. Giving to charity focuses on the mission field, however close or far away from home that is.

I love taking some time in worship at church to think about what my giving is going toward. This is the great privilege of giving, knowing our money is enabling God’s work. As you pray about giving as a couple, reflect on how God is using you to transform lives and build his kingdom.

2. How much should you give to church? 

Following the survey, Stewardship reported that 71% of young Christian adults stated that they give to their local church. Likely, this is where you’ll direct your money too. So how much should you give? 

Many point to the clear 10% tithe directed in the Bible (Leviticus 27:30, Proverbs 3:9). Apparently, the word tithe literally means ‘tenth’ in Hebrew. Pretty clear instructions there. Before you get married this conversation needs grace and kindness. Comparing how much you have given in the past as individuals may cause discomfort. One may be more worried about what percentage to give than the other.  

This is where going back to your motivations will help. If you come at this with the same mindset, agreeing on a figure will be easier. For many people, especially young couples who want to save and go on and start a life together, 10% feels like a lot!

Here are 3 quick thoughts to calm your fears.

•    Bring it to God in prayer and listen! Ask God to guide your decision and let him lead you on how much to tithe. 

•    Ultimately it’s between you and God. Finding peace in your decision is key. Hold on to knowing that what you give can/will increase and decrease in life too. 

•    Ask yourselves: ‘If it all belongs to God, how much should we keep?’ Looking at your monthly budget plan through this lens may make an altering impact.

3. Should we give to charity? 

Going to church, the financial focus tends to be tithing, understandably. But what about supporting charity? 

Making a charity donation can often be an in-the-moment decision. Responding to a current world event often spurs charitable giving too. For most, it’s a reactive response that’s often then forgotten. Yet Jesus emphasised how intentional we should be about loving others. He commanded it:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37–39 HCB).

This includes loving those who have less than us. It can be life-giving to give in this tangible way by helping others. As part of your conversations, talk about what ‘charity work’ means to you. 

Here’s some inspiration to begin:

●    Paying for someone's lunch

●    Giving to a friend/family member who needs it

●    Giving to a homeless person

●    Supporting a local, national or global charity

●    Funding a Kickstarter

●    Supporting someone on Patreon

4. Do we have to agree on the cause?

It’s an interesting question to raise! Do couples need to agree on what causes they support?

In short, it will help! That’s probably obvious. But it goes back to what we spoke about at the start. In marriage a couple become ‘one’. This doesn't mean you’ll always agree and have the same thoughts. But it does imply that you should live and act from a place of unity. 

In Stewardship’s survey, 35% of participants said that working out who to give to was a major barrier to giving. There are so many options out there – how do you know what is best? 

Firstly, I’d suggest considering your own story. What has God brought you through as individuals, a couple or family that you could support others in with your giving? Who is doing charity work that inspires you? If you could work with God to prevent people suffering one thing, what would it be? 

Secondly, use CauseFinder – Stewardship’s tool for finding a cause close to your heart through their trusted partner charities. Be it Justice, Church Planting or Tech and Innovation, there’s a cause for everyone to direct their giving to in a conscious, intentional way! 

5. How should we go about giving? 

All too quickly life and its financial pull can get the better of us. It’s easy to justify our perceived needs over the call to give. 

Stewardship echoes this in their survey: 27% of all respondents stated that they find it ‘hard to make giving a priority over other financial commitments’.

So how do you go about giving as a couple in a way that honours God and stewards your money well? 

Make it simple

Budget – Making a budget plan is a brilliant beginning. Put it all on the table and look at the reality of your finances. Before you go about giving, having healthy habits with your money is crucial. Making this a collaborative effort in your relationship will also build trust. When you include tithing in your budget plan, it reduces stress as you’ve already factored this giving in. Check out this video from CAP Money on making a budget.

Cash – We live in a cashless age now but, at times, physical money helps. As a couple you may prefer seeing the actual money you tithe being given. This way you see the money and in turn the blessings it brings to others. 

Gift Aid – If you’re a UK taxpayer it’s always a great idea sign up for Gift Aid. Through this, your church or charity can then claim back 25p on every £1 you give. So more of your money goes to the cause you’ve given it to!

Make it fun

A great way to add joy to your joyful giving is by donating anonymously. You might want to save throughout the year to make a one-off donation to a chosen charity. Or take some extra income (like a yearly bonus) to send as a gift. You don’t always have to remove your name, but it can be an exciting way to give. Or you may wish to go down the old-fashioned route and send a cheque with a letter. Personal donations from the heart will bless the charity workers as much as the work! 

Make it easy 

Using a Stewardship Giving Account puts all your giving in one place. You can add new charities or change existing donations at the click of a button. You can even use the Instant Gift Aid feature to boost your donations. As a couple this could easily reduce admin and contributes to being united in giving. If you want to give to different causes, you can have separate accounts and pick your own charities too. 


Getting married is such an exciting time – planning a wedding, choosing where to live, dreaming of the future. Talking about your finances doesn’t have to kill this mood. In fact, making decisions together is one of the great blessings of marriage! God wants us to discover the freedom and joy that come from living generously (whether we’re ready for wedding bells or that is a little further off). Ask these questions to discover where God is leading you and your money to build his Kingdom today!

Find out more about SALT 

This blog was contributed by SALT which was founded to provide a better way for Christians to meet, date and marry. they're on a mission to serve and enable the relationship journeys of the 500m+ single adult Christians globally. Launched in the UK in 2018, SALT is now available in over 25 countries worldwide. 

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Written by

Mairi Davidson

Mairi  is a freelance writer for SALT which was founded to provide a better way for Christians to meet, date and marry. You can also find out more about SALT - the Christian dating app by clicking  here