Prominent research firms tell us that the top 2 leading causes for marital strain (and divorce) is money and sex. I think most people would agree with this statement even if it wasn’t backed by statistics. Interestingly enough, both of these have a common denominator that works like a virus, slowly infecting every aspect of our relationships. Secrecy. So let’s talk about “money” and its impact on marriage… but stay plugged into our blog for a future posting on sex and the topics that kill connection.
There are many things that Kate and I aspire to, but one of the top ones is managing our money wisely. We want to get this right. We want to look back decades from now and see the harvest that resulted from prudent and consistent seed sowing. 2 Timothy 1:14 tells us to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us from the Lord. We are stewards and money managers. Money was here long before I took my first breath and it will be here long after me. Many aspects of this life revolves around or is influenced by money. But you cannot chase after money AND serve Christ (Matthew 6:24). Jesus called out the problem 2000 years ago and the problem still persists today.
It has everything to do with your allegiance, your time, and your heart. Our heart – the inner self that thinks, feels, and acts – is guilty of deceiving and misleading us (Jeremiah 17:9). How many times have you followed your heart only to wind up in turmoil or pain? I know I have. And at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing.
Every now and then I listen to talk radio in the morning on the way to work. On one particular morning, they were debating the question on whether married couples should share the same bank account or keep it separate. The common answer to support the separation argument was around gifts and surprises. The calls that continued to come in shocked me. Many individuals had separate bank accounts that their spouse didn’t know about. They kept their “fun money” in there and savings in case “things went sideways”. When questioned, many of them saw no problem with it and really felt that it was the safe, respectable, and smart thing to do. They had thought it through, it didn’t feel wrong, and so they acted on that rationale.
100% commitment is what is required for marriage – you can’t hold anything back, and this includes your finances. Anything that is held back equals secrecy. The old fashion saying is true, ‘what’s mine is yours, and your’s mine’. Secrecy breeds distrust. And a solid relationship can be built on nothing other than trust. Secrecy slowly dissolves your foundation, working in the shadows until finally you’re facing collapse and ruin. Don’t let this derail your marriage.
Money should be front and center in your marriage. It should be something that you dialogue on often and challenge each other on… spending habits, investment habits, leisure habits, and giving habits. Let the transparency in this area free you of the burden that so many couples deal with. And hey, if you want to surprise your bride with something, just go pull out the cash anonymously… you can get really creative here. Don’t let your heart take you down a path that will erode the core of the greatest establishment and relationship design that God has ever created.
Given that we have stepped into the giving season, let’s not forget a key application of our money. On top of unity, let’s embrace goodness and generosity. Lets stop for a minute and move past our busy lives to see what we could do for just 10% of our efforts. I’ll close with these inspirational scriptures:
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped”. -Proverbs 11:25 MSG
“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree”. -Proverbs 11:28 MSG
“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe (a “literal” translation means “tenth”) of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do”. –Deuteronomy 14: 28-29