Recently, my pastor gave a message about the leading causes of money issues in marriage. He referred to them as “money minefields” that if not dealt with (or defused) lead to problems in marriage and much of the time divorce.
After listening to the message the second time this past weekend, I think it is one of the most profound messages about money and marriage I’ve heard. It gets to the root of money problems and identifies the one true solution. I hope you’ll enjoy what I learned. You can listen to the actual message here.
The 5 Minefields: We Need To Defuse Them
1. Meaning of money
Couples should ask themselves what the meaning of money is to them. Often times we enter into our marriage with different definitions. Perhaps its security or perhaps money is the freedom to buy something to make you happy. “If you don’t know what it means to your spouse, you will be talking in foreign languages”, as my pastor said. It’s important to have this discussion and get on the same page.
2. Gender differences
For most males, their need, when it comes to money, is to provide for their family. They like to carry this burden. For most females, their need is to make sure the family is provided for. The challenge, as mentioned, is when the husband might work longer to provide, but the wife thinks his work is his top priority over family. The husband sees it just the opposite. For some husbands, just because they are working hard, it doesn’t mean they love their jobs more than their families. Obviously, too much work can cause the relationship to suffer. My pastor said couples must seek the right balance to confront this issue.
When we enter into marriage, we enter with different priorities for money too. There is always the question between couples on how they are going to spend their money. Should we buy, save, invest, give, etc. and in what order? Where will we give? On what will we spend our money? If priorities are different; you’re heading for trouble.
According to my pastor, 43% of American families spend more than they earn in any given year. The average family carries $8000 in credit card debt (without car and home loans). In his words, “American families are going down the tube!” Buying now and paying later is not a good plan.
43% of American families spend more than they earn in any given year.
It may seem to be a good plan at the moment, but you often wish you hadn’t signed the 5 year car note with monthly payments that squeeze money out of other important areas of the family budget. Unfortunately, this is our culture and for those who are avoiding debt, getting out of debt and staying out of debt, they are “swimming upstream.”
5. Using money as a smoke screen
Sometimes money can just be the symptom to other issues. For example, an argument may occur about some issue which results in one of the spouses going out and spending out of frustration. The argument then becomes about carless spending and not the source of the problem which can be a number of things. Sometimes, money is used to take out frustration or anger on the other spouse and it mask the real problem. The key is to recognize the root cause and deal with it
Why Does Money Cause Such A Problem? Why Are Minefields Present?
As we learn in Luke 12:15, “a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If we focus on things and put money and material possessions in front of our family and marriage we are heading for disaster. Greed will sneak into your life and be there before you know it.
a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15
“If you look deep behind greed you will always find fear.” This was the most profound part of the message for me. Greed is the symptom. Fear is the root cause. The fear drives our focus on money which will separate our relationship. For example, fear is what causes us to want to have what our neighbors have. Fear causes us to be concerned about what others will say or think when we say no to spending money on certain things. Fear causes us to say things to our spouse about money we wish we had never said.
Solution: How Money Can Be A Bond In Your Marriage
1. Recognize that it’s God’s money, not ours. God owns everything (Psalms 24:1). We must get on the same page with this Biblical principle and believe by faith that only God gives us the ability to work and earn!
2. God has entrusted his money to both in the marriage. We are to use money as God wants us to use money (1 Corinthians 4: 1-2). We are to give, save and spend it wisely. Using money as God wants us to will lead to unity in our marriage. Managing money wisely, with the same values, shared decisions on a shared budget will lead to building a strong marriage.
What are some other money related challenges, or “minefields”couples encounter? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!