Start Giving Early in Your Marriage

By Heather Murphy, CCL Development Director

I have always identified with the widow and her two coins in Luke 21; “she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Fortunately, Brendan and I have never been truly poor, but from the very beginning of our marriage, finances have been tight. We laugh (often ironically) that as soon as we have a little built up in our savings, a major expense comes up – typically a car repair.

Sacrifice and Self Denial

It’s tempting to not put our envelope in the basket at Mass during those seasons. God will understand. Maybe next week we’ll have extra. However, we committed to always putting God first, even when it’s hard or it hurts. Saint John Paul II said, “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” That’s the foundation of a sacramental Catholic marriage, and we have tried to live that out from the beginning.


We continued to give our offerings, trusting that God would provide and fill in the gaps. He repeatedly proved that He would not be outdone in generosity. One time Brendan bought groceries on credit, not quite sure how we were going to pay it off, only to return home and have an envelope with an anonymous money order arrive in that day’s mail. Or the time a card was left at the church rectory with our name on it, containing just the right amount we needed for a recent expense.

God Shows Up

I could go on with stories like this. It seems to happen every time. Yet in my human weakness, I always worry about how we will make ends meet. Repeatedly, God has shown up in various forms, to help us in our times of need. Giving reminds us to trust Him.

When we order ourselves according to God’s will, He takes care of the rest. He has a plan for our marriage, our finances, our family. It doesn’t always make sense in the moment. In fact, it rarely does. But that payoff is priceless when you realize His plan is always for the best.

Charity and Gratitude

Giving also makes us more aware of the needs of others. Supporting the Church and other charitable causes makes us an active part of helping others. Giving encourages gratitude and generosity and leads us away from greed and discontent.

John Paul II also said, “Nobody is so poor he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich he has nothing to receive.” As we begin a new year, I encourage you to reflect on that. Talk together about your family “mission statement” – what causes are you passionate about and how can you best support those missions? Include your children in the conversation, even from a young age. Instill in them how to be a responsible steward and how giving can be a tool for building the Kingdom of God.

No matter what your station in life, you are called to be like the widow in the Bible. If finances are tight, give anyway. God will provide. If you have extra, give even more. Be charitable in all things, with both your time and your treasure. The reward will be greater than anything you could have imagined.

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