When you made the decision to marry your spouse, what were your expectations about how the family finances were going to be handled? Did you even have any? Marriage and money go hand in hand. When there is unity in handling money God’s way, it helps lead to unity in your marriage as well. Whether you are a newlywed or married for 50 years, it is critical to learn what the Bible says about handling money God’s way and the importance of this in our marriages.
I am a firm believer that “the burnt hand teaches best.” Experience, especially the mistakes are the best teachers and my wife and I certainly have experienced our fair share in our relationship. So over the next 3 posts we will delve into “Marriage & Money” and how the two relate to one another in our relationships. My purpose is to share what God has placed on my heart and use bits and pieces of what we have learned to help you to avoid making the same mistakes in your Marriage and Finances.
What were your expectations about how the finances would be handled in your home??
- Were you determined to be the one in control?
- Or did you just bury your head in the sand?
- Or did you even have any?
People’s views of money vary considerably from those who are “Spenders” to those who are “Savers”. When you factor that in, along with all the differences between men and women, a mathematical explosion of possibilities for conflicts can result without even realizing it. Most people have an idealized view of marriage which starts early on in childhood that has been so ingrained into our subconscious. The picture has been painted in our minds of the woman as a princess and that one day her knight in shining armor will come. Through the years Disney has contributed many different movie installments with this one central theme that ultimately ends with the tag line “and they lived happily ever after….” When you think of the constant bombardment of unrealistic fantasies, it is no wonder that the wedding day is the quintessential moment that every little girl dreams of. Months and months are spent planning a wedding, working on the invitations, searching for the dress, the rings, the music, the flowers, and working on all the intricate details. But what is usually left out of the equation is what happens when the Honeymoon’s over (literally). When you think about this, it is absolutely insane, planning for months for one day but giving little thought for the future. Now I must confess, when we got married we were no different. The simple truth is that when a man and woman decide to “tie the knot” they typically never talk about how the finances will be handled and when that happens it will not take long for money fights and arguments to begin.
- In a radio interview, Crown Financial Ministries CEO, Chuck Bentley stated that: “40% of people are living beyond their means.”
- “The wall street Journal reported that “70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, one step away from bankruptcy!” and
- According to a Markmen & Stanley Study, “The #1 cause of divorce in America is financial disagreements”
- 4 out of 10 people are living beyond their means and
- 7 out of 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and the
- #1 cause of divorce is financial disagreements or money fights…
How do we get to a place of unity in both our marriage and our finances? Many people do not realize that Marriage and Money go hand in hand. When you have unity together in how you handle your finances, you will have unity in your marriage.
Over these posts, we will be covering these 5 areas in regards to Marriage & Money:
- God’s plan for Marriage
- The differences between Men and Women
- God’s plan for our Finances
- The differences in people’s views of money
- How the enemy uses all these differences to attack marriages
Now it will not necessary be in this order as I will not be so linear but we will weave and blend together these 5 major points.
God’s Plan for Marriage
So without further ado, let’s start from the beginning, in the first book of the bible, in Genesis chapter 2, after the Heavens and the Earth, and everything else was made, God formed Man out of dirt from the ground. He planted a garden in Eden and placed the Man to work the ground and keep it in order. But God saw the man and He said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him,” (Genesis 2:18) and so God created the Woman to share life with the Man. Verse 24 says:
- “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 (NIV1984)
THAT IS IT…that was God’s plan for Marriage. For the Man and Woman to live in paradise united together who would have fellowship with Him. What a simple and wonderful plan but the very next chapter of Genesis recounts how that perfect plan was ruined when the Serpent (AKA Satan) deceived the Woman to eat the forbidden fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. God had told Adam not to eat of the fruit or else he would die, so the serpent spoke to the Woman instead since she had not been created at that time. In chapter 3, verse 6 it says:
I remember so clearly when I was at a bible study and heard a teaching on this verse and those underlined words just popped off the page…”Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her.” I always thought that she was alone and that explained how it happened but the whole time that Satan and the Woman were having this discussion, Adam, “The Man” was standing right there and did nothing to protect his wife or stop what he knew was wrong and to make it worse he ate the fruit too! And here is the key, don’t miss this, if we don’t work as a team, in unity we will fail in our marriages and our finances. Though the timing in Genesis is unclear, the original plan for Marriage was created in Chapter 2 and destroyed by Chapter 3 as the Man and Woman fell into sin of Pride from the Serpent’s deception. We need to understand that Satan is working in the background creating problems in our marriage, problems in our finances, and problems in our life. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV1984) says,
- “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We will delve into this throughout these series of posts but I do want to say one thing before we go any further, that the enemy of our soul is not behind every problem, there are many times that we create our own trouble by not trusting God and not following His principles. Or not loving and respecting our spouse as we ought to or by making foolish financial decisions because of “wants” instead of be wise in making purchases of “needs” only. Someone once said “God promised to meet our needs, not our greeds.”
But Ephesians is clear, there is a battle raging on that we need to be aware of. Though it is not confirmed, Julius Caesar is credited with the concept of “Divide & Conquer” which is one of the greatest strategies in battle. And that is exactly what Satan does as he attacks us in our marriages and finances by deceiving one of the spouses to doubt, to fear, to be distracted or to focus on the wrong things. We are at war and if you do not know that then take a look at what it says just 9 verses later in Genesis, as God reprimanded the serpent, He cursed the serpent and said because you have done this,
Enmity is also translated as hostility but I love how The Message translation states it:
- “I’m declaring war between you and the Woman” Genesis 3:15 (MSG)
There it is, proof that we are in a battle against a real enemy, not a cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork. Satan has many descriptions and names in the bible, he is called:
Enough said?? Just like this list, Satan’s reign will come to an end. Now I am spending extra time here, not to create fear but to underscore the importance of not idly going through life oblivious to Satan and his schemes. The reality is that as a believer in Jesus, we already have the victory through Jesus’ death and resurrection, as it says in 1 John 4:4 (NASB):
- “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He [Jesus] who is in you than he [Satan] who is in the world.”
I love how Pastor Jack Graham once said it, that “Satan is a defeated foe.”
That is of course, when you have Jesus in you, you have the power to overcome the enemy. There is power and victory through Jesus. We can overcome the enemy’s attacks by calling on Jesus’ name not only for our marriages but finances too! Jesus has a list of his own which is called The “I Am’s” of Christ:
Now I much prefer to mediate on this list for sure as there is power and victory through Jesus.
In the book of Matthew it recounts the story when some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 in chapter 19 verse 5 and then continues the thought in Verse 6 of Matthew:
- “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.” Matthew 19:6 (NASB)
I love how Jesus answers their question so clearly and succinctly. He has a great way of flipping things. If a husband and wife are no longer two but one flesh then the answer is clear. God’s intention for marriage was to be shared between one man and one woman forever…what God has joined together let no man separate. But as we have been discussing, the enemy has other plans to strain and tear apart the unity of marriage. Malachi 2:16 (MSG) says,
- “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel…”I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage. So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.”
This verse is such a powerful statement from God which many people have misunderstood because they read that God hates divorce and make the jump that God hates them because of the divorce but that is a LIE OF THE ENEMY. Look at it again, God said “I hate divorce,” NOT the “DIVORCEE.” Divorce is real; many of you reading this post may have experienced one in your life whether it was your parents or yourself. I know firsthand what that “dismembering” felt like, having experienced this at the age of 5 when my parents divorced. That description is right on, it was a violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’. I have always related my parents divorce like a chess match where I was a pawn pinned between the King and Queen who were battling one another, using me to hurt the other. Now I don’t mention this to condemn anyone but to show what God intended for marriage and what He thinks of Divorce.
In November of 2010, Time Magazine published a startling issue, entitled “Who Needs Marriage”. Within the pages, findings from the nationwide survey of 2,691 Americans by the Pew Research Center were presented. The survey was conducted with TIME magazine, and an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data. They dug into the question…“Is Marriage Obsolete?” Over the past 50 years there has been a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms of people never getting married (but still having children) and people getting divorced or separated. In 1960, 72% of American adults were married. By 2008, that share had fallen to an all-time low of 52%. The Pew Research survey found that nearly 4 in 10 Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete. It is sad to think that this survey is now 5 years old, so I can only imagine where that number is now. It is clear that the value of marriage has been greatly diminished and who do you think is behind that movement? Satan of course!!
In 2009, Chuck Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George, with input from over 100 Christian leaders, authored the Manhattan Declaration stating a commitment to the principles of Human life, marriage, and religious freedom. Here is an excerpt:
“Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all.” That is a powerful statement and I think we can all agree that the second part has plagued our world that ““Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise,” (or deviation giving rise to social ills.)
Part 2 of the “Marriage & Money” trilogy will delve into the Differences between Men and Women and what is the answer to bring unity in our Marriage. Click here…★ Thought for the Day – Marriage & Money – Part 2 ★ to read the next installment.