Setting the Record Straight About Marriage and Money

Growing up, you probably heard someone warn you that, “Money is the root of all evil”. Today, one of the most well known, well accepted statistics in this country is that “Money is the leading cause of divorce in America.” Well, neither of these statements is entirely true.

To borrow a line from comedian and red neck philosopher, “Larry the Cable Guy”, to blame money for all the evil and divorce in this country is like blaming a pencil for misspelling words on a piece of paper. Let’s look at the facts.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “For the love of money is the root of many evils.” Notice, it’s the love of money, not money itself, cited as the root of the problem. As for the out of control divorce problem that is plaguing our families, don’t blame money. As we teach and council couples on financial principles, there is a very common obstacle standing between a family and financial freedom. The obstacle is financial compatibility.

Financial compatibility is the level at which couples can effectively communicate about money and money related issues as they arise in a household. Without this compatibility, discussions are nothing more that fights and solutions to problems result in a struggle for power and control over the checkbook.

When couples discover and understand their financial personalities, they can achieve higher level of financial compatibility. With this compatibility, couples can communicate effectively about money. Stress is reduced, fights are fewer, and marriages become stronger. This sounds simple but it’s not. If you and your spouse want to improve in this area, it takes both of you working together. But, if financial compatibility is the leading cause of divorce in this country, it’s worth the effort, right? Let’s examine how much effort we are putting towards this issue in our country.

  • A recent study concluded that American couples spend less than 12 minutes a month discussing their families’ finances.
  • Most Pastors admit to feeling inadequately trained in the area of finances and financial counseling. Consequently, couples who participate in premarital counseling receive little to no useful training in this area.
  • Schools fail to provide children training in basic money management. High schools and colleges have little to offer in the area of personal finance. However, college students are a favorite target of credit card companies. When a student graduates from college today, they leave with a diploma and an average credit card balance of $3,500.

Despite all that we know about the relationship between money issues and divorce, very few marriage seminars or marriage counselors spend any amount of time discussing financial compatibility or effective money management skills.

If your marriage is under financial attack, fight back. Money problems usually have little to do with money. The problems are usually rooted in a lack of communication between spouses and a need to brush up on money management skills.

  • Take a Christian based money management course. There is plenty of practical wisdom about money in God’s word.
  • Spend time talking with your spouse about your families’ financial situation. Don’t force one spouse to take on the entire weight of the household money management.
  • Set aside regular time to discuss spending needs for the upcoming month. If it helps, find a quiet place away from home like a coffee shop or café to have this discussion.
  • Share this information with your children. Don’t let them become a statistic. Most people claim they learned to handle money from watching their parents. Be a role model.

Money touches every area of our life. When couples begin discussing money issues, they will begin discussing other issues affecting their marriage. Improving your financial compatibility will improve the overall compatibility of your marriage.

If you would like to learn more about your financial personality, becoming more financially compatible, money management strategies and getting out of debt, contact us →