For married couples, arguments about money are common. Research results consistently reveal couples regularly fight over financial matters. Reports often point toward financial arguments as a significant factor in many couples’ divorce.
Fortunately, you are not destined to fight with your spouse about money for the rest of your life. There are ways to reduce these blowups in the future. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Remember God’s design for marriage.
God designed married couple to operate as one. We first see this in Genesis 2:24. In 2 Corinthians 7:1-9, we see the depth of this oneness, where our own bodies no longer belong to ourselves. Individualism is set aside. In all areas of their lives, married couples are to operate as one—including their finances. For married couples, the words “mine” and “yours” must be replaced with “ours.”
2. Acknowledge God didn’t entrust you with money to destroy your marriage.
God did not provide married couples with financial resources to blow up the union. God provides money to mold hearts and advance His Kingdom. Money is a tool. Stop viewing money as a problem. Instead, view money as a God-given opportunity to make you more like Him and to be a part of His Great Commission.
God did not provide married couples with financial resources to blow up the union. God provides money to mold hearts and advance His Kingdom. Money is a tool.
3. Place marital goals over financial goals.
Many financial arguments stem from personal preferences. You desire to use the money for one purpose while your spouse desires to use the money for another purpose. Often, the decision is not a matter of right versus wrong, but personal preference. In these situations, husband and wife should strive to place marital goals over financial goals. The marriage needs to be viewed as the priority, not the preferred amount in a savings account.
4. Recognize money arguments may reveal some deeper issue in your marriage.
Some married couples view money as the problem. But money is not the problem. Money reveals problems. Money management reflects heart management. This is true for couples. Most couples run from money arguments and never deal with the underlying issue. Don’t run. Ask, “Why are we struggling here?” View disagreements about finances as an opportunity to evaluate and improve your marriage.
5. Understand each other’s money personality.
Are you a spender, saver, investor, or ignorer? Money personalities are a combination of a person’s God-given personality and their past, influential money experiences, often from childhood. Your money personality is likely different than your spouse’s. Understanding your money personalities will help you better empathize with your spouse’s financial preferences.
6. Give your spouse the grace you give yourself.
We give ourselves a lot of grace. When we make a mistake, we are quick to explain why the mistake occurred, usually pointing toward factors outside of ourselves. However, when our spouse makes a mistake, we often blame their character, what happens inside of them. This is called the fundamental attribution error. Give your spouse the grace you give yourself.
7. Go somewhere else to talk finances.
Financial arguments often occur in the house. If this is an ongoing pattern, you may benefit from having financial conversations at another location, like a donut or coffee shop. The change in environment and having others around may help increase your verbal and emotional filter.
8. Discover your spouse’s financial goals.
Sometimes, couples argue because they are not unified in their goals. Seek to understand your spouse’s financial goals. Where goals do not align, try to compromise. And remember, marriage goals come before financial goals.
9. Get a plan.
An agreed-upon plan provides clarity for a married couple. First, determine what financial goal to go after next. The 8 Money Milestone can help with this part of the plan. Next, develop a budget. The budget helps ensure money is directed toward that which you both prioritize.
You and your spouse are not destined to have money arguments for the rest of your lives. Pursue God’s design for marriage and money. View money as a tool to help improve your marriage, not has a means for destruction.