Three Steps to Less Financial Stress with Your Spouse
by Cindi McMenamin
Do things get a little stressful with you and your husband around the holidays?
Chances are it’s because of money. At Christmas time every couple seems to need more, spend more, and go into debt more.
How much better our relationship with our spouse might be if we read and paid attention to that phrase “In God We Trust” that is written on our money every time we touched it. How much fewer arguments we might have. How less stressed we might be.
It’s been said that married couples argue the most about…
…sex, raising children, and money. But money doesn’t have to be one of the triggers to tension in your relationship. It is, after all, just money.
My husband and I are convinced — and have been our whole married life — that our financial stability depends on how much we trust God rather than on how much we make.
It’s really not about the money. If it was God would just rain it down and solve our problems. Churches are in debt across the nation. Christians are in debt, personally. Ministry workers struggle to make ends meet. Yet God owns it all. He lacks no resources. So if He’s not providing what we think we need at the time, we either don’t need it, or there’s something else going on. For us it’s always a matter of trust. It’s a matter of where our hearts are. It’s a matter of character development. And it’s a matter of faith and teaching us to pray.
Here are three steps you and your spouse can take to start trusting God with your finances and lessening the stress and tension between the two of you:
- Be obedient.God expects us to give back to Him what is rightfully His. Actually, all of what we have is rightfully God’s but we have chosen to follow a command set forth in the Old Testament when God commanded the Israelites to give a tenth of what they made to God. We tithe – which literally means giving a tenth of our money to God – as a matter of discipline and as a guideline of a good starting point and then add to that as we can. Why? Because a tenth, in our case, is a huge financial stretch. Because to tithe, in our case, is to trust. We have found, time and again, that God is faithful in providing all our needs as we honor Him by giving to Him first above everything else. God has a way of multiplying what we give to Him and giving back to us when we fall short at the end of the month because we trusted Him with that tenth we didn’t think we could give but gave anyway. We’ve come to see it’s how God blesses those who honor Him with what He’s given them.
- Be responsible. God expects us to be good stewards of all that we have – our material possessions, as well as our money. And the first way we do that is to acknowledge that everything we have has been given to us and therefore is His. We are simply managers of the money He has entrusted us with. We have found that this helps us have a proper perspective toward money, keeps us humble, and prevents us from living beyond our means or spending money on something God wouldn’t approve of.
Being a good steward means we heed the guidelines set forth in God’s Word about not getting into debt, not living beyond our means, and not going into business with someone we can’t trust. Most likely, there isn’t a couple on earth who hasn’t learned some of these guidelines the hard way. We’ve had our share of difficult situations too. But God is not looking for perfection, or expecting us to become financial investment experts. He’s looking for hearts that are submissive and teachable. When you acknowledge that all you have is His anyway, it helps you to remember that major purchases and investments should be a matter of prayer. After all, you’ll want to consult the Owner about how He would like you to manage His funds!
- Be joyfully expectant. The Bible says if we, being human and having limited resources, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more does God know how to give good gifts to those He loves? (Matthew 7:9-11; James 1:17). We have had a great time throughout our marriage seeing God come through for us, financially, in incredible ways. In fact, each time He does, we write it down on a small piece of paper and put it in a jar and at the end of the year we review those blessings and are reminded of God’s faithfulness.
Money doesn’t have to be a stress factor between you and your spouse. Instead, make it a faith adventure.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of more than a dozen books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and her most recent, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. Cindi and her husband, Hugh, a pastor, have co-authored When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection, upon which this article is based. To pre-order Cindi’s newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More With Your Husband, or for free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage or parenting, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.