Are you having money problems in your marriage? According to financial expert Ron Blue and his wife Judy, “There’s no such thing as a money problem in marriage.” They insist that “what looks like money trouble in a marriage is almost always symptomatic of something else: a distorted view of money, a lack of understanding about the true purpose for marriage, or a basic inability to integrate the two and communicate effectively with your spouse about finances.”
We want to emphasize the term “almost always” as we discuss this subject though, because we realize that when one spouse (or both marriage partners) loses a job and/or another tragic financial setback comes into play like unexpected medical bills, etc., having enough money to pay the bills BECOMES a problem. Even so, the bigger problem can be the approach that is taken within the marriage to work through the challenges they are facing.
Do you turn on each other and accuse and fight against each other, or do you take a deep breath, pray and then find ways to unite to fight the problems —not each other? Statistics show that “half of all marriages end in divorce —with the majority of these citing ‘money problems’ as the number one factor in the breakup.” That’s pretty scary.
We read an article a number of years ago (sent to us by Smartmarriages.com) titled “Money Control” by J. Taylor that brought this subject to our attention. He wrote:
“A dear friend just told me that he and his wife were going to be filing for divorce after 20 years of marriage. What was the reason for their unhappiness? He says it’s because his wife has spent her way through his inheritance into more than $100,000 in debt. She says he never told her they were in financial trouble; she thought they had plenty of money to pay for everything.
“…The way I see it, they’ve got two things to talk about (in the counseling sessions they agreed to have in order to save their marriage). No matter which one of them is at fault over their financial mess (probably both of them are) —they need to come up with a plan to dig out of it. Whether they get divorced or not, their lifestyle will change. It will become simpler… Once the financial stress is lifted a little, maybe they will be able to focus more on their relationship instead of their financial problems.
“That fits in with the 2nd challenge for them —they need to talk and listen to each other. I’m certain that he told her many times that she needed to watch their budget for the month or something to that effect. He said it often enough to his co-workers. And, I know there were mornings he came to work [angry] because they had been arguing about money.
“His wife needs to listen to him and he needs to listen to her. They each need to set aside their hurt egos and feelings. Their marriage is worth saving —20 years is a long time. And, they have a teenage son.
“When I look into their futures as single people, I don’t see much good from a financial viewpoint. She’ll have custody of their teenager. She won’t be able to get a good paying job without more education or training, and he will have to support 2 households for 10 or more years. Their retirement savings will be split and neither will have enough to live comfortably. It’s enough to support one household —not two. They’re both in their 50’s. He will have to defer retirement if his health permits. She will have to work too. So money is an excuse… not the real problem.
“I hope they give counseling a chance to help them salvage their marriage. It takes time, opening up to each other, and hard work. I hope they expend as much effort and time on fixing their relationship as they did on avoiding their problems.”
In this time of financial uncertainty throughout the world, it’s especially important for us to look more seriously at the ways we can wisely spend the money God entrusts to our care.
A few years back, Steve had his salary greatly reduced. We were deeply concerned as to how we would be able to make it financially, as well as still help finance Marriage Missions, and dedicate as much time it takes to run the ministry (in light of taking on another job). We made the decision to attack the problem and not each other to prayerfully figure out what needed to be done.
Eventually, as we prayed about it, got advice from others who could help us figure out what to do, we’ve been able to do what needed to be done without damaging our relationship. God has been faithful to meet our every need, including the needs of Marriage Missions.
We realize that some of you have even more serious financial problems than we faced and are facing. We encourage you to face each other, talking and LISTENING to each of your concerns and perspectives to combat the problems —instead of fighting against each other.
Pray, research, and work together to make things work for your marriage financially. We have a lot of articles, resource recommendations and great web site links provided on our web site that can help you.
If you have a spouse that is willing to partner with you in dealing with your finances… that is great! If you want a specific “Prayer for Finances” to use as a guideline, you can click onto the following link which will take you to the web site for Christian Marriage Today. To do so, please click HERE.
And if your spouse is willing to PRAY, listen to God and other godly counselors on this, and work together… that is even better. Working together on this will be the most helpful.
God’s word tells us “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken“ (Ecclesiastes 4:9 and Ecclesiastes 4:12). Of course, the third strand is God. Don’t underestimate how much stronger you are with God helping you!!!
And even if your spouse is uncooperative, you can still pray and do things as God guides you. He will make sure your needs are taken care of, even if you have a spiritually disobedient spouse fighting against you.
“The point is not how much or how little you have; it’s how you perceive and handle the resources God gives you” (Ron Blue).
It’s our prayer that you will work together as a team to handle whatever comes your way with prayer and care —giving the Lord first place in your lives. Our love is with you as together we work to make our marriages the best they can be with the Lord’s guidance.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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