If you knew that a burglar was planning to break into your home tonight, you'd probably make every attempt to protect what you own.

Yet, many Christian couples are taking no precautions against the intrusion of financial conflicts that threaten to destroy their marriages.

Couples tend to view things like addictions and adultery as threats to their marriages but overlook problems associated with money.

However, surveys show that 80 percent of divorced couples in their twenties and thirties claim that financial problems were the major destructive factor in their marriages, according to the winter 1997-98 issue of Stewardship Journal.

One survey, conducted by R.H. Bruskin Associates, asked couples what topics they argued about the most. Money was named by 78 percent of the respondents.

Next on the list was indifference to feelings, which was a distant second at 30 percent.

Tragically, an article in the April 2, 1996 issue of the Washington Times said half of all divorces come within three years of the wedding. Thus, money is an issue that ideally should be addressed when couples are engaged.

To help couples deal with the problem, Christian Financial Concepts has developed a resource titled Money in Marriage , which became available at the beginning of this year.

The resource, which is designed for couples at any stage of marriage, includes two participant workbooks with a six-week study that's also ideal for small groups. Studies for the six weeks are as follows.
  1. Finances: A Window to Intimacy

  2. Personalities. . .Plus Money!

  3. Hoarding or Overspending: Discovering Your Money Management Tendencies

  4. Financially: Where Are We?

  5. Creating Your First Budget

  6. Finding a Church HomeIn addition, there is a leader's guide with goals, questions, and activities for each week's study. Christian counselors or small group leaders would benefit from the guide, but its suggestions also would be useful to a couple going through the weekly studies together.

    Other items included in Money in Marriage include two audiocassette tapes: "Honey, Let's Talk" and "Taking Charge of Your Credit Card."

    In addition, there is a CD containing a Hoarder/Spender Survey, basic budgeting software, and a personality test designed by CFC's Life Pathways division.

    When both spouses have completed the personality test, they can do a comparison report to see how their money management tendencies and behaviors match up. Then, they can begin to work through the issues facing them, set goals and limits, and deal with current problems or future threats to their marriages.

    As noted earlier, the sixth week of the Money in Marriage study focuses on finding a church home. CFC's Mike Taylor, who co-authored the study with Larry Burkett, says too many couples leave church on their wedding day and don't return.

    Perhaps they don't want to face denominational differences, or perhaps they become caught up in trying to establish their homes. What they learn in the sixth week helps them avoid mistakes like these and find a church family. Then, they can experience the strength and encouragement that comes from being part of that family.

    Finally, CFC also offers Money in Marriage to churches in the form of a one-day seminar. When the seminar is completed, couples in those churches can follow up with the six-week group studies.

    Editor's note: To learn more about the "Money in Marriage" seminar, contact CFC's seminar department at 1-800-340-5066.