One of the greatest sources of conflict in marriage is finances.
Money isn’t the root of evil. The love of money is the root of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Money alters the way people think and act. People think, say, and do unexpected things when it comes to the increasing accumulation of wealth.
If you are not careful, monetary obsession can tarnish something so beautiful as your marriage.
- What happens if one spouse is a spender and the other is a saver?
- How do you reconcile the conflict if one is a spreadsheet-making organized financial planner and the other is a receipt-losing disordered financial budgeteer?
- Can common ground be found between a generous giver and a hard-fisted hoarder?
Dealing with finances as an individual is stressful but as a couple it can be volatile. Agreeing upon a financial system is important, but the motivation must be addressed to find unity. The best systems in the world can’t fix character issues.
Stress with finances is not a cash issue but a heart issue.
Here’s how the love of money has ruined many a soul and many a marriage: Comparison leads to discontentment which leads to treachery. When you see the possessions of another, envy sets in and you begin to think, “It’s not fair.” You must finish that thought – it’s not fair to compare.
Comparison leads to discontentment. After looking at all they had, you start to realize the emerging dismal state of what you have. What’s remarkable is that you didn’t think that way until being exposed to someone else’s stuff.
Once discontentment nestles into your heart, you can justify any treacherous means to acquire more money or possessions. You can rationalize lying and justify stealing when you have convinced yourself that you deserve more. The love of money is the root of evil thoughts, words, and actions.
To address finances in your marriage, you must understand the concepts of stewardship, partnership, and sponsorship.
Stewardship means you are watching over something that isn’t yours. It is the foundational belief that you are a caretaker of everything that you have. All of your finances, property, and possessions are actually possessions of God since he owns everything (Deut. 10:14; Ps. 89:11; 1 Cor. 10:26).
Even your mental and physical ability aligned with your work opportunity are all gifts that you receive from the Lord (1 Cor. 4:7). Once you grasp this truth, you begin to realize that every financial decision is a spiritual decision.
Partnership means you approach finances as a single unit rather than separate entities. Many marriages promote insecurity, suspicion, and selfishness because of maintaining personal finances outside the jurisdiction of a spouse. Many couples have separate checking accounts and maintain their personal discretionary money, but I want to share another principle with you – oneness. We come into this world alone (Gen. 2:18), but marriage seeks to provide a helper (Gen. 2:18) whom we actually achieve oneness with (Gen. 2:24). That means I don’t have my stuff and she has her stuff in marriage. We have our stuff.
When you divide bills, responsibilities, and leisure money between you, there are these significant areas that are removed from the light and put into the dark (Luke 8:17; 1 Cor. 4:5). To have a genuine financial partnership, you must look at your resources together and seek to address the needs of your spouse as more important than your own needs (Phil. 2:4).
Sponsorship means that you view finances as a tool to impact others. Since we brought nothing into this world, we have to remind ourselves regularly that we cannot take anything out of it either (1 Tim. 6:7). With that in mind, how is your marriage investing financially for the glory of God and for the good of others?
If you belong to a local church, start by giving at least ten percent of your income to the work of the ministry. Tithing is a starting line of giving as it is an Old Testament principle now coupled with a New Testament generosity. From that point, figure out how you can support the church more or give to other worthwhile charities. As your compensation goes up, let your sponsorship go up with it. Find financial unity in sacrificial generosity.