6 Ways to Unify When You and Your Spouse Have Different Ideas about Money
By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NIV).
A mathematical mind is a gift, and perhaps no one acknowledges that better than those who struggle to follow a simple budget. It can create a stressful environment for couples who come together with different financial mindsets and plans. Disagreeing over money is a common argument, maybe the most common disagreement that plagues couples.
It’s hard enough to create financial stability when we’re on the same page, but what happens when our philosophies concerning finances are completely different?
Here are 6 things that can help when you and your spouse don’t have the same money philosophy.
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1. Define Treasure
Matthew 6:21 is a good gut check when it comes to money. Before discussing (or arguing about) finances, know where your own heart lies. This verse is a good one to meditate on and pray over to find out what the answer is. Write down what comes to mind. What defines life’s treasure to you?
The original Greek word for ‘treasure’ describes “the place in which good and precious things are collected.” ‘Heart’ refers to the “center of the circulation of the blood, the seat, center, and sense of all physical and spiritual life.” It’s a direct indicator and reflection of what we live our lives by.
Get to know why you value money the way you do and allow your spouse to do the same.
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2. Put Love First
“Whoever loves money never has enough.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
One of the things I value about my husband the most is his compassion for what I value, even though his mathematical mind doesn’t always understand. And I, in turn, appreciate that he is mindful of our finances as part of the way God has gifted him – something that is a struggle for me. It creates compassion for one another when we choose to see it that way. But it’s just as easy to start throwing stones at our weaknesses, calling each other out for being cheap or disregarding the current balance sheet.
Day after day, it’s not our finances that I put first, it’s love. Seeking God first allows me the proper perspective to receive the blessings of my husband, my family, and the way God has provided for us, and to ask for the wisdom to spend it wisely and appreciate it fully. That daily recalibration of love strengthens my ability to let it flow through me in all areas of life.
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3. Put Stuff in Its Proper Place
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21).
This verse speaks tragically of the man who could not part with his possessions to follow Jesus. Even those who do not believe in God run the risk of becoming attached to things they cannot take with them after life on this earth is over. For Christians, we know the elated feeling of any blessing or love experienced on this earth is only a fraction of what awaits us after the pain of this world passes away.
"Remember where your treasure is."
As a couple, put stuff in its proper place. Remember where your treasure is.
The local thrift store is one of my favorite places to shop, but it reminds me how our stuff passes from one set of hands to another. Amidst the shelves of stuff, there are always collections of someone’s once precious things now on a shelf for a mere fraction to what it was worth to them.
It’s good to have goals as a couple, but important not to let the lack of something steal our happiness.
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4. Prioritize Together
“Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14b NIV).
Seek peace patiently in all situations and regarding all financial decisions. The reality is, you won’t agree on everything. Sometimes that conflict of interest is warranted and needed as one partner holds the other accountable. Specifically, for married couples, God made two, one for a reason. (Matthew 19:4-6).
Decide what you as a couple, or a family, are going to stand for financially. It’s OK to enjoy God’s blessings, but important to keep it all in check so it doesn’t rule all that we do. Trusting that God will provide for us is easy when we’re able to pay our debts, but it gets a lot harder when we’ve overextended ourselves. Unnecessary tensions often arise because of it, so it’s important to prioritize spending and saving as a team.
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5. Seek Wisdom and Revelation
“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12).
Seek wisdom and revelation as a couple. God’s truth, in every situation, is wise. No amount of money can buy it, and no loss can strip us of it. The above verse literally means that a skill (at that time meaning in war) was more valuable than silver or gold coins.
Wise financial choices serve as armor to protect us in a storm. It’s smart to be prepared, but not to a point where we are valuing our possessions and money over the gifts God has provided for us to get to where we are. I believe this bit of Old Testament wisdom is reminding us to give God the glory no matter the circumstance. It’s important to be responsible but learning to love is the true treasure in life.
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6. Determine First-Fruits
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops;” (Proverbs 3:9).
If we aim just to give a certain amount or percentage in a legalistic way, we have missed the point. In our church, we don’t pass a plate or require an offering, yet generosity abounds in our congregation.
Don’t get stuck on a number.
“A poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents… Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything- all she had to live on.’” (Mark 12:41-44)
Let Jesus’ words take the pressure off of the couple struggling to agree on the right amount to tithe. The amount isn’t the point, rather the heart behind it. Giving money to the church or to support a ministry shouldn’t feel forced or uncomfortable.
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"There are many things we can do..."
There are many things we can do when we come together as a congregation to help others in our cities and throughout the world that we could never do on our own. The work of the church begins when we leave the building on Sunday and go out into the world allowing Christ’s love to flow through us, whether that’s monetary or not.
Prayer is always the most powerful weapon in any war we wage here on earth. And, sometimes, a fight over money can feel like a battle. Here is a prayer to hold close as you seek God’s wisdom through it.
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A Prayer for Couples Who Don’t See Eye to Eye Financially
Praise You for the way that You provide for us. Though we sometimes fight over what to do with what we have, we seek Your counsel above our reasoning. Help us to find common ground and compromise. Guide us and teach us how to spend, save, and give with heart-felt and Spirit-guided purpose. Let our legacy, even financially, be dripping with Your love and Your purpose. Over all of our problems, You sit. You are above it all. We lift up our financial worries and woes to You, proclaiming viceroy and peace in Your Name.
In Jesus’ Name,
For more verses about money see a more complete list here.
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, https://sunnyand80.org. She is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and preparing to release her first book, “Friends with Everyone.” She resides in Northern Ohio with her husband of eleven years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
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