Friday, February 25, 2011

Marriage Glue

One of the main causes of marital friction is financial matters.

Theoretically speaking, managing family finances according to a written spending plan is pretty straightforward and not really that hard to establish. But typically in married couples, there is likely to be a spender and a saver. That complicates matters and makes it critical for husbands and wives to learn to work together as a team. Being different is not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean one spouse is inferior to the other. God puts us together to complete one another, to use our different gifts and abilities to enhance the marriage, and it takes two people working together as one to succeed.

God wants to use conflict to bond couples together as they work through conflict. This includes financial issues. Even money challenges can bring the two closer together.

*Instead of letting money become a wedge that divides a marriage, God intends for it to be one of the glues that brings about true oneness.*

We all enter into marriage with strengths and weaknesses. The differences between spouses concerning financial matters can stem from our gender, backgrounds, personalities, and even our relationship with God. If we fail to understand those differences, deep hurt can result. But working together as a team, recognizing that those differences actually fill “gaps” in each other lives, can result in marriages where finances are a strength not a weakness.

Whenever financial matters start getting out of hand in a marriage, the first thing to do is to pray. There is absolutely no substitute for God’s answer. Iit’s best if husbands and wives pray together some are not at that point, at least pray individually). We ask the Lord for His direction and for wisdom regarding our finances. We simply ask God what He wants us to do with the money entrusted to us by Him. Remember He owns it all, but has made us managers (stewards) over some of it for a purpose and we should always remember to ask what His plans are!

Good communication and planning are essential for success. It’s a matter of determining where we are financially, having a mutually agreed upon, fair plan, and talking about it (calmly and regularly). “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Agreeing as a couple about financial decisions and goals requires loving consideration, usually some compromise, and maybe even involve sacrifice from both partners.

If the financial problems and/or communication issues are intense, most couples need to seek outside help to get on track. Seeking counsel for marriage or financial problems should be as normal as seeking medical counsel when we’re sick. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

We cannot prevent every difficulty and we can’t dodge every conflict in marriage, but we can prepare to survive them by building a solid relationship with God, a healthy marriage, and stable finances. Don’t forget – difficulties are opportunities to grow into the couple God wants us to be!