Nearly every survey and poll lists money as one of the top stressors in marriage. It can cause marital discord, dysfunction, and divorce. Due to the widespread damage that it can create, money is a potential WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) of marriage.
As someone who has been professionally associated with managing money nearly his entire career, whether in my current position as an executive pastor or my former position as a foundation director, many people assume that finances must be one area in our marriage that poses no stumbling block. Wrong.
Numerous times a $20 purchase wreaked more havoc in our marriage than managing a $20 million endowment ever did.
So why is money often a marital WMD?
Here are 3 common reasons:
Lack of Trust
One spouse cannot keep a stash of cash or even a separate bank account that the other spouse is unaware of and expect that they are living as one. Keeping secrets from each other is nothing more than a ticking WMD.
Lack of Generosity
You’ve heard the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? The same could be said for greed. When one spouse is greedy, it can corrupt a marriage, but when both spouses are greedy, it will absolutely corrupt, and likely destroy, a marriage.
Conversely, the outflow of a generous marriage that gives to others often translates into a more giving relationship to each other. If we are mindful that our resources are merely on loan and not owned, God’s purpose for our money will be at the forefront, and the WMD of greed will be destroyed.
Lack of Vision
In our modern culture, the use of money seems to be limited to two purposes: spend or save. We are either spending money on something we need/want now (groceries, clothes, electronics, etc.) or we are saving it for a need/want in the future (house, car, vacation, etc.).
While we may view our life or our relationships through a spiritual lens, that lens is rarely applied to our finances. It’s when we turn that spiritual lens on our finances that we begin to view money as a pathway to further the Kingdom of God. How can we use this money to win souls? What can we do with our resources that will point people to Jesus? These are questions that “feel” very out of place when discussing family finances. But shouldn’t we actually lead with these questions?
Money can be a tool or tornado in our marriage. One builds up. The other destroys. To keep it from being a WMD, we must realize our money is “borrowed” from the One who gave it to us.
We should heed the words of Jesus when discussing money in our marriage:
“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Luke 16:13, ESV).