A Love Language Minute with Dr. Gary Chapman
For over thirty-five years as a marriage counselor, I have been listening to couples argue about money. “He could get a better job if he would try.” “All I ask is that she record the checks that she writes.” “Why can’t we save something?”
Is the problem really money? I don’t think so. I think it is a relationship problem. 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.
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.
Money is a great servant, but a poor master. Don’t let money overly influence the decisions you make. 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. In which case, less money is an asset.
When is the last time you and your spouse had an argument about money?
Was it the “same old issue”? My contention is that 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. 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.
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.
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.
Making the Needed Adjustments to Make Marriage Work
When I wrote my book, Profit Sharing: A Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage, I discovered that one of the most common problems is that couples do not feel like partners. 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.