Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of community, family, and culture that helps us to reconnect with our African roots. With 2019 being declared the Year of Return in Ghana, celebrating Kwanzaa this year is all the more special for our community.
Centered around family and community, Kwanzaa is celebrated every year from December 26th – January 1st.. There are 7 days in the celebration of Kwanzaa:
- Umoja (Unity)
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
- Nia (Purpose)
- Kuumba (Creativity)
- Imani (Faith)
Ujamaa is the principle of co-operative economics. It’s about helping others to prosper by doing business within the community.
Why is money such a big deal?
People get married and face a 50/50 chance of getting divorced. Statistics. Either your marriage will work or it won’t. The two people in the covenant make that decision and then make the decision to walk toward what they’ve chosen to do. There are fewer and fewer people who plan for the different aspects of marriage and life after the wedding day.
Of all of the things that spouses argue about, money is almost always at the top of the list. Consequently, if they aren’t actively fighting about money, it’s often the underlying cause of the tension and discord in their relationship.
People make all sorts of monetary missteps that fracture their relationship…gambling, overspending, financial irresponsibility. This is the result when they’re more worried about having money than being responsible stewards of it. It gives a much clearer understanding when the Scriptures warn us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that the love of money is the root of all evil.
We need money to survive but we have to be very careful that we don’t depend on it more than our faith in God. We have to be very careful that we don’t turn our desire to make and have money into our idol. Especially when we yoke ourselves to another person, we have to be very mindful of how we manage our finances.
Even in my marriage, dealing with our finances was incredibly rough on us in the beginning. Hubby asked me to be in charge of the finances of our household. And, even though I loathe math, I agreed because I wanted to do my part in the marriage.
Subsequently, I lost count of how many times we were in the red and the account was overdrawn. I didn’t do it on purpose. I’m just not that good with keeping track of finances. I’m even worse at it when I’m in charge of how someone else is spending their income.
What are co-operative economics?
Well the literal definition has lots to do with finance, economy, stuff, and stuff. I’m not going to explain it that way…because math.
Therefore, we’re going to look at this from a love and marriage perspective.
Economics is the finance part. Co-operative means doing it together for a common goal. There are 2 very simple ways to make sure that you handle your finances before they handle you:
- Talk about it. I know, I know. The communication thing again. Whatever you’re trying to do…clear student loan debt, pay down credit cards, or save up for a home…you have to talk about how you’re going to accomplish your goals. You have to develop a strategy and decide how you’re going to execute those plans. You have to do it together. And make sure to be honest with each other about your financial needs and responsibilities.
- Do what works for you…and your relationship. I’m seeing more and more commentary about whether it’s right to have joint accounts, separate accounts, to pay your share of the bills, etc. You have to do what works for you. When we were dating, my husband gave me cash to deposit so that I could pay his bills. He really didn’t trust online banking systems. When we got married, we got a joint checking account for everything. We’ve kept separate savings accounts, but still share those when we need to do so. I do have my opinions on how finances should be managed, but I know that every relationship is different. In a healthy relationship, both partners still need to be involved in the finances. A spouse has a gambling or shopping addiction…or be terrible at managing finances. As a result, they should not be in charge of that part of your household.
Cooperating in Economics
Handling finances is a big deal. It is part of the foundation of a successful relationship and should be approached intentionally.
What are the financial goals that you have for your marriage and your family? Are you planning for a baby? Needing a larger home? Are you in the stage where you’re going to have to provide care for your aging parents? Create a plan to help you to reach your goals. Budget for what you need to do to create financial stability in your relationship.
Talk to each other and do what’s best for your family. Those are the two fundamental behaviors that you need to make co-operative economics a truly profitable partnership.
Need a way to make this practical? Click here for the Principles of Kwanzaa for a Beautiful Relationship Workbook; you can use it to work through simple, applicable exercises each day of the celebration.