In this article, Chip Ingram outlines 4 steps for fixing money problems in marriage.
The number one source of marital conflict and divorce in America is around the subject of money. It’s no surprise considering the infinite number of differing perspectives on the subject.
In this article, you’ll uncover 4 action steps that will help you better manage your marital finance issues. If you want to quickly jump to the 4 steps, use the links below.
Every one of us, based on our upbringing and personal experience, has differing priorities, values, and styles when it comes to handling money. And as you join together in marriage, things can get even more complicated. Here are just a few common hang-ups —
- Most marriages consist of one spouse who’s a spender and another who’s a saver.
- Couples consist of people who come from differing — and often opposing — backgrounds.
- Many individuals, due to circumstances or conditions, start a marriage with debt or financial troubles.
- Sometimes money problems occur later in life when couples finally have some, and they’re ill-equipped for the challenge.
In his article Money and Marriage: 7 Tips for a Healthy Relationship, Dave Ramsey refers to this as a Money Mindset. It’s true — these factors, and many more, become a mindset and cause a tremendous amount of pressure in a relationship.
Do we all just need more money? The Scriptures detail many stories that teach us that financial freedom will not suddenly appear because we have more of it. Rather, we need to put money in its proper place. It’s from God, and He plans to use it to refine and disciple us.
MONEY REVEALS THE HEART
One of the greatest revealers of our hearts is our money. Jesus said:
Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth. (Matthew 6:19)
Take all your financial statements over the last couple of years: credit and debit cards, where you saved and spent and donated. This compilation would reveal more about your heart than almost anything you could imagine.
Because wherever your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. Jesus talked more about money than heaven and hell combined! He doesn’t need or want our money, but He does want our heart.
There’s a battle for our hearts. One side lies to us and says that money will protect, provide, and make you someone that matters. Money isn’t neutral; it’s powerful and deceptive. Of course, money isn’t bad! But when we believe the lies it tells us, it becomes our god.
Instead, money is a tool given to us by the Creator. It’s a gift, and it’s all His.
MONEY & MARRIAGE IDEAS
In marriage, it takes work and patience to get on the same page regarding money.
Consider the spectrum of ideas on spending, saving, investing, donating, and risking. Whether we realize it or not, our values on those things were imprinted on us in our very young years. As we watched our parents, grandparents, or elders relate to one another regarding money, we took notes.
Do you want to put money in its proper place in your marriage? Now is the time to rewrite your financial perspective and allow God to imprint His truths about money and marriage into your lives.
4 Action Steps To Peacefully Fix Money Problems In Your Marriage
1. It’s OUR problem, not his or hers.
Instead of adopting a finger-pointing attitude, acknowledge your joint responsibility for the finances in your partnership and say:
“This is our problem, we will solve it with God’s help.”
Whether your money problems are a problem with debt or an issue of tension in your marriage, blaming the other person will not solve anything.
2. Get logical and not emotional.
Take an inventory of your spending. Decide on the time frame that will be measured and track spending.
For example, try to spend as you would typically for 30 days: buy groceries, get coffee, buy that birthday gift. At the end of the allotted time, set aside your emotions and take note of your patterns.
Those patterns — those paths — are a destination. Is the path headed to your intended destination? In other words, are you saving the amount you’d planned to save? Is there an obvious category that can be managed differently? For many, they’re headed towards something they’d rather avoid. Does that describe you?
3. Align values.
Ask yourselves: What are our priorities as a couple? What do we agree upon? What do we disagree over?
At the end of the day, ask who you want to be your master: God or money. It seems simple, but again — check out your spending and it will reveal your answer.
Consider that you might need outside help to work through the details of this step. Also, decide if you want to be a dam or a stream.
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IS YOUR MONEY PERSPECTIVE A DAM OR STREAM?
God sees two kinds of people — dams and streams.
Like a stream, money flows and it’s enjoyable, and with it, many people are helped. And when you look upstream, you know Who has sent it, and more is coming down the rapids.
Like a dam, the money slams into your life and you assume it’s yours to spend as you see fit. And then the water depletes because of debt and it creates pressure. As more money comes in, the process is repeated.
Lovingly, the Father will let the dam break. His desire is for couples to honor Him with their money, and He will do anything to capture their hearts.
4. Decide on next steps.
It’s time to prayerfully come together and agree upon the next step in the process, and how finances will be handled going forward.
- What’s the agreed-upon budget?
- What is each spouse’s role in tracking and managing spending?
- What system will be used to track spending?
Marriage and money is a subject that doesn’t get addressed one time and then solved. It will keep shifting and challenging you as a couple. Every time you lose an income, earn a raise or change priorities, you’ll have to revisit your plan. With each opportunity, reassess your values, your heart, and your spending.
In marriage, the subject of money will continually need addressing. Every time you lose an income, earn a raise or change priorities, you’ll have to revisit your plan. Every time, reassess your values, heart, and your spending. Click To Tweet
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STEWARDING MONEY WELL
When you make the choices to steward your money well, it will impact almost every single area of your life.
- It will demonstrate and teach boundaries to your kids or grandkids.
- You’ll spot teachable moments when you can discuss your choices and how they reveal your heart.
- It will instill confidence in your spouse, and you’ll savor the provisions you watch flow down the stream.
When you are a good manager of what He’s provided, using resources to bring honor and glory to Him, you’ll experience joy like never before.
God is a financial partner that will never leave you, never forsake you, and no matter what happens or when you fail you can always go back and say, “Lord, help us.” He’s near to the brokenhearted, and He wants to help and guide you.
Listen to Chip’s sermon series, Keeping Love Alive, on YouTube and gain insight on creating spiritual intimacy in marriage, resolving marital conflict, and communicating effectively with your spouse.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip