Abundant life, Encouragement, marriage enrichment

Why Couples Fight Over Money – Part 1

Why can’t we save any money?  Why didn’t you give me the receipts?  Why did you buy that without asking me first?  Which bill do we pay first?  Does these questions sound familiar to your marriage?  Is the problem really money? Counselors say it is really not a money problem but it is a relationship issue.  Money doesn’t build or destroy marriages.  People do.  If you are arguing over money, I’m suggesting that money is not the problem. The problem is that the two of you are blaming each other rather than joining forces to find a solution. For example, let’s say you are arguing about “not enough money.” He blames her for spending too much and she blames him for not looking for a better job.

Are you expecting abundance in your life?  The content of your character is demonstrated by the way you choose to spend money.

Is money an asset, or a liability to your marriage?  Much of the answer lies in your attitude toward money. If you are looking to money or the things that money can buy, to make you happy, then money will be a source of conflict in your marriage. But if your trust is in God and you’re looking to Him for wisdom in how to handle money, then money will become an asset.  If you think money doesn’t have power over you then answer these questions:

Give yourself two points if these questions are true about your financial situations.

I withdraw cash from ATM once or twice a week.

I have received more than one overdraft notice from the bank in the last year.

I have been more than 30 days late in paying a bill the last 3 months.

I own one or two credit cards.

I own seven or more credit cards.

I am maxed out on one or more cards.

I pay only the minimum fee on credit card each month.

I have less than $1000 in savings.

I have borrowed money from my parents, friends to pay for food, clothes, transportation or rent in the last year.

I haven’t balanced my checkbook in the past three months.

Collector or creditor has tried to call me at work or home about late payment.

If I had to buy new tires, car need fixing or if furnace went out I would have to borrow the money to cover the expenses.

I have no savings for retirement.

I have retirement but have no clue how much is in it.

Answers:

0-4 points.  You have money left over after paying bills but sometimes can’t explain where money goes.  With a little more discipline you could save more and your money will explode into wealth.

6-10 points. You live on the edge.  You make it and spend it.  You may never be late on a payment but you can’t save.  You have debt waiting  to happen when things arise such as college, retirement, and major purchases.

12-20 points.  You may be over your head.  You are getting calls from creditors and worry how to get out of debt.  Slow down, make right choices and you can recover with little or no damage to credit.

22-28 points.  Close to giving up and filing bankruptcy.  Foreclosure on home several months behind and possible repossession  – filled with fear and anxiety.

Money is a great servant, but a poor master. Don’t let money overly influence the decisions you make..  Then they are broke until next paycheck.  The bigger question is “How will this influence our marriage and family?” A move across the country may bring more money, but be detrimental to your family. What about taking a job where you hardly ever get to spend time with the family.  Before you know it, the kids are grown and the spouse has grown cold in love.  In which case, less money is an asset.  If you get a job paying you extremely well, is it worth going to the extreme in spending habits.    I have seen where couples even family members get a paycheck on Friday and spend it all on Saturday.  I have seen impoverished families get their government check and spend it on their regular trip to walmart on a Saturday afternoon.  Broke till the next paycheck, unwise spending habits, justifying their actions and still complain they are left wanting. We can blame the media, the next door neighbor or America for this craziness or we can take a look at our own undisciplined lifestyle.

What happens when something happens like an emergency?  They have no money.  The more money you make, the more money you spend is the saying that is true for those who are undisciplined with money.  Money will not bring happiness but what it does bring is control and empowers people to live sometimes without wisdom in making decisions.

When is the last time you and your spouse had an argument about money?  Was it the “same old issue”? Couples who continue to argue about the same thing over and over again need help. You are wasting your energy.  You don’t have a problem that other couples have not had. Why not reach out and get the wisdom of an older couple?  Most older couples would be thrilled to help you find answers to your money problems. We even have a CPA to help couples get a budget.  Or you can pick a couple you respect and ask if they would be willing to help. If they don’t have the answer, they can likely point you to someone who does. Constant arguing destroys your relationship. Call a truce and look for help. Make money an asset to your marriage, not a battleground.

The solution? Stop blaming and arguing, and spend that same energy looking for creative ways to lower spending and increase income. These are the only two ways to have more money. If you work as a team and apply your best thinking, seeking God’s help, you will find a solution. Remember: God has promised to meet our needs, if we put Him first.  The first step is to write down the “money issues” on which the two of you disagree. Then one by one, look for a game plan that will make both of you winners. If you can’t agree on such a plan, then get a counselor or trusted friend to help you. You don’t have to spend a lifetime arguing about money.  How many times do couples fight over money?  Can you say “MANY”!  In fact one of the factors of divorce is fighting over money. Often, the husband so controls the money that the wife feels like a child on an allowance. Or, the wife will control the money and the husband feels “left out”.
Obviously, someone must balance the checkbook, and keep the bills paid, but this does not mean that they control the money. We are a team, and must work together. The Bible says, “Two are better than one.” That is certainly true in money management. If you keep the books, you might ask your spouse: “Do you feel like a partner, or a child?” Take their answer seriously, and make adjustments as needed.

Prayer:  Lord help us to find creative ways to “spend your money” for your glory and with Your wisdom.  I pray that couples will work as a team and toward your direction, leaning upon you in trust.  Let not the love of money control us but let Your love overwhelm us to give in all areas, spending wisely since you have given us a responsibility of stewardship..    In Jesus Name.  Amen

New Living Translation (©2007) Ephesians 3:6
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

Psalms 24;1  GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
[A psalm by David.] The earth and everything it contains are the LORD’s. The world and all who live in it are his.

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