How To Talk With Your Spouse About Money
We’ve all heard that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” But we should know, too, that the love of money is a root of all kinds of divorces. Not only are finances one of the big three bickering points for couples, but disagreements about money are also one of the most common reasons for the dissolution of marriages. In fact, in a recent landmark study, 43 percent of people who’d been divorced indicated that financial problems contributed to their divorce.
When spouses don’t actively work to make their marriage the priority of money, it’s very easy for finances to take over completely. That’s why, for far too many couples, money rules the roost. Observing those couples’ daily behavior makes it clear why. The two spouses keep things harshly imbalanced (like one spouse making all of the financial decisions while the other makes none) or obsessively even (“You spent fifty dollars; I’m going to spend fifty dollars too!”). They make snide remarks about each other’s spending habits. They hoard money, bitterly keep things separate, hide purchases, or lie about how much money they’re spending. By no means are their financial actions motivated by what benefits the marriage; instead, it’s all about the money.
When a husband and wife aren’t working to keep money secondary, they’ve often unwittingly allowed it to become primary. And there’s a big problem with that. If money is primary in a marriage, there’s no doubt it’s slowly tearing the two spouses apart. Think about it:
- When you disagree about money matters, do you resolve the conflict in a way that reduces stress and arguments?
- Do your financial priorities foster unity and bring you closer together?
- Do your spending habits promote honesty between the two of you?
- Do you each show appreciation for the contributions that your spouse brings to finances through income, savings, etc?
- Are you adequately preparing for your future together (children, medical expenses, emergencies, retirement)?
- Do you challenge each other to be less selfish and more giving with money?
- Do your financial habits support both of your individual needs for security?
If you answered no to any of these questions, take it as a sign that money is creating weak spots in your marriage. Jesus said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” reminding us that our behavior expresses our loyalty loudly and clearly. That’s why it’s so crucial for spouses to actively pursue financial security for their marriage.
– Excerpt from The Necessary Nine by Dan Seaborn & Dr. Peter Newhouse