Money and Marriage
There are three things couples argue about the most: money, physical intimacy, and children. Though there are other matters that sometimes come into play, these three areas seem to come up the most when couples air their dirty laundry to me.
Here are a few thoughts about money that should help Christian couples to better deal with money.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
The scriptures tell us that if we compare ourselves among ourselves we are not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12) Simply put, couples that determine their level of success and status in life by comparing themselves to others are usually setting themselves up for feelings of envy, dissatisfaction, and disunity.
I have seen couples sheepishly admit that though they are 40 years of age they do not own a home. I have seen others that seem to almost blush because they drive an old vehicle. Let me say a few things along these lines:
The new status symbol is an old vehicle with a title in the glove box.
My wife and I have two vehicles. The total mileage between them is about 500,000. We pay cash for our vehicles and we repair them as we go. We do not have to send a car payment out every month, nor do we have to have full coverage insurance as a result of our cars being owned by the bank.
Honestly, the lack of pressure that we have as a married couple when it comes to finances is largely due to the fact that we have few, if any, recurring bills. And, I find that it is the car payment that puts that extra amount of stress on the average budget.
Most people will do well buying some tools, researching youtube, and learning how to work on cars. We call it a learn as you go method of figuring things out.
Stop thinking that you have to have a shiny car. If you can pay cash for a shiny car, great! But, if you are making monthly payments because you have an aversion to looking a little lower on the social scale, then you will find that your pride is costing you in more ways than you realize.
I actually had someone say to me once, “Well, I don’t want my family to be laughed at. That’s why we live in this neighborhood and drive a certain type of car.”
To that I would say, “Let them laugh at me when I pull up at social events with my old truck and I will laugh at them as they walk to the mail box every month with a $500 car payment.”
Your Home, Car, and Your Stuff Should Not Define Your Social Circles
If someone will not befriend me because I live in an old country farm house, then they are not candidates for real friends. In fact, they probably need to emotionally graduate from high school and get connected with adulthood.
Spurgeon said, “To whom enough is never plenty, plenty will never be enough.” In fact, in chapter 9 of my book on marriage, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another, I say that an unthankful heart is simply a bottomless pit that can never truly be filled.
Adam and Eve were never happier than when they had God, each other, and a garden. I feel that many a family would do well to make this their standard of living, and, consequently, happiness.
Stop Listening to those Subtle Messages
I find many a couple that seems to beat themselves up because they have failed to “own a home” by the age of 35 or 40. However, more often than not, they are really upset because they have failed to be able to “rent from the bank” like their counterparts.
Honestly, many will do well to read the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki where he explains the differences between an asset and a liability. Many have succumbed to those subtle messages in advertisements that the American Dream involves paying double what a home is worth after financing a house for 30 years of payments.
Our family has two family businesses with a third on the way. We do not look for jobs. We strive to create jobs. It used to be the American way.
We take the profits from our businesses to avoid making interest payments on certain items. This is done by using old-fashioned cash to purchase what we need and want. Our rule of thumb is not, “Can I make the payments?”. It is, “Can I afford to purchase this item with cash?”
Get Out of the Box
If you run with the herd, you will typically end up running off of the cliff with the rest of the herd. Be bold and do not be afraid to stand alone outside of the herd.
If you think about it, Jesus, Paul, Abraham, Daniel, and David were all out of the box thinkers, and if you are going to avoid many of the pitfalls of the human race, you are going to have to have the confidence to think and do things a little differently from the rest.