One of the biggest challenges that married couples face is how to manage their finances. While many people assume that infidelity is the leading cause of divorce, that’s simply not the case. In fact, professional studies have indicated that arguments surrounding financial management cause more marriages to end than an unfaithful spouse. Obviously, God’s design for your marriage doesn’t include divorce. That means that it’s important to understand how to manage your money while managing your marriage.
Did you know that more marriages end in divorce because of financial issues than infidelity? According to studies published by divorce lawyers, marriage counselors, and other professionals, the stress associated with trying to deal with money results in more divorces than adultery. As a child of God, you’re already aware that He wants your marriage to last forever. When you stood in front of your family and friends on your wedding day, you made a pledge to your spouse that you would stay together for richer, for poorer, in good times, and in bad. That means that money should not result in the end of your marriage.
It’s important that you and your partner understand how to work together to manage money while managing your marriage. Neither of those tasks are easy. Depending on your personal upbringing, you and your partner may have very different views on money. However, that’s not an excuse for you to allow money to end your marriage.
If you feel like money management is a point of contention in your marriage, allow God’s Word to help you and your spouse to get on the same page. After all, He put the two of you together and has blessed you with the money that you have.
Ephesians 4:2-4 (TPT)
With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny.
In his book “Instinct,” Bishop TD Jakes, the pastor of The Potter’s House, teaches that while a turtle and giraffe may share the same space, they cannot share the same worldview. The giraffe, which is exponentially taller than the turtle sees things on a higher plane. However, that doesn’t mean that the giraffe is superior to the turtle. It’s simply taller. The turtle is more aware of the little things that are creeping along on the ground, but they don’t have anyway to see what’s going on at the altitudes that the giraffe operates at. Neither of the two animals are better than the others, they simply cannot operate on the same level.
As long as neither you nor your spouse are gambling your money away or wasting it on ungodly things, it’s important to understand that neither of you are inherently wrong. However, there’s a chance that one of you is living like a giraffe while the other is living like a turtle. That’s not to say that either of you are right or wrong. It simply means that you have two different worldviews when it comes to money management.
Communication is a key aspect of finding success in marriage. When considering your finances, communication is even more important. Sit down with your spouse and discuss how you both view money. If your spouse grew up in a home where money was handled frivolously, he or she may believe that reckless spending is the right way to handle money. If you grew up in a frugal household, you may still take that approach to money management. There’s no way to determine which one is right or wrong without evaluating your financial standing. This means that communication is paramount.
Sit down with your spouse and have an honest conversation about how the two of you view your money. Look for a way where you can each compromise. Whether you’re the turtle or the giraffe, work with your spouse to come to a view that is closer to the middle for both of you. Being on the same page and cultivating unity can help reduce the amount of stress and animosity associated with money.
Guarding Your Heart
Proverbs 4:23 (TPT)
So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.
This verse is often used in the context of marriage when talking about how important it is to make sure that your spouse is the focus of your heart’s affection. Make no mistake about it, that is crucial. It is vital that you make sure that your heart is constantly pointed toward your spouse. Failure to do so opens you up to give into the temptations that all married people are constantly faced with. However, for the sake of today’s study, we’re going to talk about the affection of your heart as it pertains to money.
According to financial experts, the three most common financial issues facing Americans today are the inability to pay medical bills, being unable to fund their own retirement, and not having enough money at the end of each month. When those issues arise, it’s easy to allow the affections of your heart to shift to things that you don’t have.
If you’ve ever said something along the lines of, “Our marriage would be perfect if we just had more money,” you’re starting to walk on shaky ground. Sure, more money may alleviate the stress associated with the issues that we just discussed, but more money doesn’t always result in less stress. Instead, it just results in different stress.
Evaluate the affections of your heart. If the only answers to your marital issues pertain to having more money, your affections are in the wrong place. When you try to fix every issue in your marriage by adding more money or material wealth, it won’t take long for other fractures to appear. Instead, keep your heart’s affections set on the things of God.
Practicing Financial Fidelity
Proverbs 10:9 (TPT)
The one who walks in integrity will experience a fearless confidence in life, but hte one who is devious will eventually be exposed.
How honest are you with your spouse about your spending habits? A recent poll that was published by the National Endowment for Financial Education indicated that two in five American admit to lying about or hiding money from their spouse. Another report published in USA Today says that 15 million people have acknowledged that they have hidden financial information from their spouse, with nine million people saying that they used to do that but don’t anymore. Those numbers are staggering! This means that roughly 40% of marriages are being plagued by financial infidelity.
The term “infidelity” is often used when talking about sexual unfaithfulness. While that’s certainly one type of infidelity, it’s not the only kind. If you or your spouse are lying about money, hiding money, or being dishonest about finances, your marriage is being plagued with financial infidelity.
Some married individuals report lying to their spouse about money in order to prevent arguments. Others do so because they believe that their money is their business, and they don’t owe anyone an explanation about their spending habits. This is one of the few cases where motivation doesn’t matter. If you are lying to your spouse about money, you need to stop today. Financial infidelity can end your marriage as quickly as any other type.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know that Your Word teaches us that You give Your people the power to earn wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). I also know that Your Word says that You want my marriage to last forever. Help me and my spouse to better manage our money while we manage our marriage. Help us to be open in communication, to cultivate unity, and to look to You for our true satisfaction. In Christ’s name I ask these things, Amen.