Money Matters in Marriage
- Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D. <i>Two Becoming One</i>
- 2005 1 Jan
According to Crown Financial Ministries the number one factor in the breakup of most marriages is financial discord. 85% of marriages that fail do so because of financial problems. And this kind of financial turmoil is no less of a problem in many Christian marriages. Yet in the Bible we have a divinely-inspired and inexhaustible resource on money matters. The Bible mentions money matters some 2,350 times! That's more passages than on heaven and hell combined. So since we have such an amazing divine resource, what lessons can we learn so that money matters will not wipe out our marriages? Let's look at seven divinely ordered truths about money matters:
• Truth #1: God alone is the Owner of everything: He alone is the Possessor of heaven and earth.
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it (Deut. 10:14).
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Ps. 24:1).
Therefore, the so-called bottom line is this: In the ultimate sense, God owns everything! We own nothing! To assume ownership of anything is to commit the sin of idolatry. We are not owners of anything. We are stewards of everything.
• Truth #2: Since God is the ultimate Owner of everything, He is more than willing and able to meet all of our financial needs.
And my God will fully supply your needs according to His abundant wealth so glorious in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains (Ps. 50:10-11).
God is the ultimate land Owner of the whole earth and His butcher shop is always open for those of us who are hungry and needy. We just need to ask and He will supply. And it's free for the asking!
• Truth #3: Therefore, it makes good sense to commit our financial matters to Him and to trust Him to guide our financial decisions as well as to meet all of our basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, and shelter).
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf (Prov. 11:28).
The greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper (Prov. 28:25).
[Jesus said,] "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [our basic needs] will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:33-34).
To those who know the trustworthiness of the Lord and His willingness to meet all of our basic needs, an eleventh commandment kicks into play: "Thou shall not sweat it!" Financial worry and anxiety are evidences of unbelief and are sure indicators of potential problems in marital money matters.
• Truth #4: Learning to trust God for all of our basic needs does not come naturally to any of us. It is something into which we must grow.
[Paul said,] "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need" (Phil. 4:10-13).
From time to time God drops us into no water and no food situations (like the Israelites of old). This is His way of reintroducing us into His school of faith so that we might learn to trust Him with a new and deeper faith. This is the venture of faith into which He calls each and every married couple.
• Truth #5: Further, God's school of faith is designed to teach us two specific lessons about money matters: Wealth and prosperity, at best, are fleeting and temporal. And there are potential dangers inherent in money itself.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle (Prov. 23:4-5).
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim. 6:6-10).
• Truth #6: So it is imperative that we guard our hearts from all forms of greed and envy.
A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live (Prov. 15:27).
The greedy man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper (Prov. 28:25).
Jesus replied, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. . . . [It consists in being] rich toward God" (Luke 16:14-15).
• Truth #7: And finally, all of this means that in marital money matters God is calling us to develop generous and giving hearts.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Prov. 11:25).
[Paul reminded them,] I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus Himself said, "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving" (Acts 20:35).
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God Himself has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we may say with confidence, "The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Heb. 13:5-6).
Your Marriage and Financial Bondage:
In light of the fact that God is totally committed to setting your marriage free in the area of money matters, prayerfully answer the following questions:
1. In what or whom are you and your mate trusting to give you contentment?
2. In what areas of your marital money matters do you need to begin trusting God in the next six months? How do you plan on doing this?
3. How can you and your mate express a generous and giving attitude in your marital money matters in the next six months? Why not pray about this right now.
© 2004 Christian Family Life
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