There is no shortage these days of money “experts” telling us how we can achieve peace of mind and financial security. But can we really buy what they’re selling?
Whenever the world promises us something, especially if it seems easy, we need to proceed with caution. God’s way of dealing with family finances differs in many respects to the world’s, and we should recognize the differences.
Here are 3 financial truths for your marriage the world opposes:
1. Share Everything With Your Spouse
TV personality and financial advisor Suze Orman advises that spouses ought to take a “Yours, Mine and Ours” approach to marital finances. Why? In her words, “if the relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll have your own nest egg to fall back on.”
What we have to keep in mind when we hear advice from our culture is that the approach is secular, not sacred. God views marriage as a spiritual commitment. It is a sacred act.
In Mark 10:8, Jesus teaches that couples “…shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one…” This union is so powerful in God’s eyes that there is no longer a “yours” and “mine” — there is only “ours.”
One of the outcomes of combining financial resources is that it creates opportunities for couples to discuss, pray, and agree upon how best to use the resources God has given us. This stands in stark contrast to the world’s advice of “yours” and “mine” which Suze Orman says helps “avoid discussions and disagreements.”
Anyone who has had a long and happy marriage will tell you that avoiding discussions and disagreements (no matter the topic) is not a recipe for a successful marriage.
2. Prioritize The Present
The concept of retirement is fairly new. According to historians, the late 19th century ushered in the modern concept of retirement. Fast forward a little more than 100 years, and retirement advice now dominates the radio, television, web and other media.
Certainly, there is wisdom in setting aside a portion of what has been given to us today for our future needs. However, in our effort to achieve a “comfortable” retirement, the potential to sacrifice the present for our future is very real.
For example, what good is our dream retirement if we alienate our children in the process because we spent all of their childhood years at work?
Hebrews 13:5 warns us to “Keep (our) lives free from the love of money and be content with what (we) have.” If we prioritize the present over the future, we are less likely to trade our contentment for the pursuit of comfort.
3. Break The Bondage Of Borrowing
Many financial experts tell us that there is “good” debt and “bad” debt. Without overly complicating things, the idea is that we borrow more money when it is cheap (low interest rates) and invest it into something with a higher return. This is called “leveraging.”
For example, many experts advise that when mortgage rates are low, borrow as much as possible to buy the biggest house possible because our homes will appreciate at a higher rate than the rate on our mortgage. If you were a homeowner in 2008, you remember how that worked out.
While the Bible doesn’t say it is a sin to borrow, it does offer us many warnings about debt. One of the most significant and accurate warnings is in Proverbs 22:7 which says, “the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
Although “slavery” may seem like overly strong language, the reality is we are “bound” to those we owe money. This financial bondage goes unnoticed in the Western world because it has been not only accepted but also encouraged. When we are financial slaves to others, our marriages and our families can suffer due to the emotional toll of debt.
As we review these three financial truths in our marriage, we must be aware that they will look different than what the world accepts as “normal” because the world opposes God and his wisdom (John 15:18). However, if we stand firm to the principles God has set forth in his Word, we can find true freedom in how we live.