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Plain talk about money in marriage

Since an individual’s money represents his or her  life it is hardly surprising that statistics show that the handling of money gives rise to more conflict in marriage than any other single issue.

The stakes are high and we should do all we can as couples to be aware of the pitfalls and to head them off through frank discussion and a will to reach agreement.

In order for your joint financial life to work, you will both have to take on responsibility for doing everything you can to make it work. That may sound obvious, but much conflict arises when one person fails to acknowledge this responsibility and the other feels alone in carrying it. They may even feel that their spouse’s irresponsibility is sabotaging their attempts to build a sound financial future for their family.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 tells us that a person should eat only if he is willing to work. Every able bodied person has a responsibility in God’s eyes to be productive in life, making a contribution to the needs of the household, taking into consideration the demands of caring for the children. No room is made for willful dependency on others when a person has an option to find a job.

This extends to the person who is trying to start a business, but there is no income from it yet. This is not a viable position to maintain. You should only consider giving up your salaried employment once your new business is bringing in at least as much per month.

The first priority of any earner is to bring the tithe, which is the tenth of the gross amount, into the local church where the believer is fed according to Malachi 3:10.

The next job is to pay taxes to the government according to the law of the land. You can investigate ways of doing this that allow you possible tax benefits whilst observing the requirements of the law.

Pay yourself first by taking off 10% of the amount now left to put into savings. This is a vital discipline that you will never regret in the long term.

Your living expenses should not exceed 70% of the amount left after tithing and taxes. The remaining 20% is left for paying off debts and loans and as a contingency plan for unexpected demands

The primary responsibility of each person before God is to take care of his or her children and grandchildren. However, the word also tells us not to leave our parents vulnerable and without provision in their older years. 1 Timothy chapter 5 elaborates on this and concludes:

If any believing woman (or man) has relatives who are widows, let them relieve them, let not the church be burdened. 1 Timothy 5:16 (Amp)

Taking care of vulnerable dependents pleases God. However, it will cause tremendous marital friction and inevitable financial problems if a couple takes on financial responsibility for a large number of relatives and friends as a priority before the needs of their own immediate family. God does not require this of us and it is detrimental to the marriage covenant. Careful negotiation needs to be made between husband and wife on this issue in families where couples are under pressure from other relatives to provide for them.

The following reasons are the major causes for fighting over money:

Unresolved differences in your priorities and values in life

For where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (NASB)

We can tell everything about your heart by where you spend your time and your money.  Take a few weeks for both spouses to make a note of every penny you spend in order to get a clear picture of where all the money is going in your home and to identify what the differences of interest are. Settle your first priority as the Kingdom of God and let everything else follow on afterwards.

Disrespect of the financial input and perspective of one spouse by the other

Although people have different financial priorities, resolution of differences will never occur whilst one person feels dismissed and disrespected by the other. Each spouse needs to show appreciation for the views and indeed for the financial contribution of the other for harmony to be reached.

One person dominates the financial decisions at the expense of the other

This means that one person’s priorities will prevail and the other person will feel frustrated and anxious about every decision made into which they had no real input. Reasons for this can be:

  • One person has a “my money” mindset that flies in the face of the marriage covenant which shares everything in common. Prenuptial agreements and all arrangements within marriage that separate the individual spouses’ money create an atmosphere of distrust and conflict.
  • One person is totally irresponsible and the other becomes very controlling to balance things out. Rather than going to this extreme, tough love should be employed where irresponsible behavior threatens the wellbeing of the other spouse and the children within a family. Measures should be taken to enforce change, including moving out of the family home if necessary until the paycheck of the other comes home to provide for the family as a first priority.
  • One person is selfish and insists on dominating the decisions in order to be able to buy what he or she wants first.
  • The man is a chauvinist and feels it is his right to manage the money. But the woman should never feel that she has to beg for money from her husband. In fact he should go out of his way to look after her before she asks him to. Every woman should have some money that she can spend without discussing it with her husband first.

 Unresolved differences in your priorities and values in life

For where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (NASB)

We can tell everything about your heart by where you spend your time and your money.  Take a few weeks for both spouses to make a note of every penny you spend in order to get a clear picture of where all the money is going in your home and to identify what the differences of interest are. Settle your first priority as the Kingdom of God and let everything else follow on afterwards.

Debt

You incur debt when you buy something today at the expense of tomorrow. Borrowing money is not a sin and it is a necessary step as you build up your faith muscle to where you can buy bigger things at one go. As long as you can make the payments this does not count as debt. However, debt is not necessarily a sign of poverty as much as of a certain mindset. We have to attack this mindset with the word of God as we work to renew our minds and as we do that we can conquer debt in our lives.

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5 Comments on Plain talk about money in marriage

  1. Amen we thank God for everything financial problems are a key to many problems in marriage

  2. A big thanks daddy, for this message. I call this a high financial n marital wisdom profile. hardworking pays…no lazy man in this kingdom.

  3. Anonymous // July 7, 2015 at 9:35 am // Reply

    Amen and amen for wise ideas in life hallelujah

  4. Thank you dad for this message.it’s a blessing .God bless you and mum abundantly .

  5. since i have came in contact with you man of God my life is fully transformed. i wish if i could be near you to tell you my story. But God bless you so much.

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