Money can cause division. You probably don’t need me to prove that statement by quoting the divorce statistics, because you have already had your own share of money fights. But do you believe that money can bring unity to your marriage? I believe that it can.
John Eldredge likes to say “You have an Enemy, but it’s not your spouse.” The Enemy wants to get you and your wife to fight with each other rather than standing side by side against the world, sin, and the devil. And one of the simplest ways to divide us is for us to get started arguing about money. Most of our arguments begin because we aren’t on the same page. So that is the first step.
Same Page = Unity
How do we get on the same page? There is a magic wand that creates a Same Page, and that is known as a Budget. A budget is simply a tool where you tell your money where you are going to use it. At the most basic, it can be as simple as saying “We are going to spend $100/month on restaurants.” If you sit down with your wife this month, you can work with her to figure out what numbers to plug into your budget. This should be something you work on together. Dave Ramsey likes to say that one of you will be the Budget Nerd. Either you or your wife might be naturally better at the numbers game, and so that person will be in charge of preparing the information. But it is crucial that you both are involved with making decisions about the information. That shared conversation is the first step towards making money a unifier in your marriage.
Meeting Your Wife’s Needs = Unity
Money can feel like security. After all, if a kid gets hurt, it takes money. If the car breaks down, that takes money. If you lose your job, having a little pile of money keeps a roof over your head. When they outgrow their snow gloves 15 minutes after you buy them, that takes money. To quote George Bailey, while they might not need money in Heaven, “it sure comes in handy down here, bub!” Your wife has a need for security. Ultimately, her Source of security should be God, so always point her to Him. You provide security to her with your unconditional love and support. So money is certainly not her most important source of security, but it is definitely part of the equation. If you are openly communicating with her about money, that will help build up her sense of security, whether you have a dollar in the bank or a million.
Fighting Battles Together = Unity
Going back to our first point – this life is a battle! The world is a mess. It is broken. Our possessions are ruined by moths and rust. Thieves break in and steal. It’s a war out there! You are going to have unexpected expenses – probably in the first month after you create your budget! Keep reminding yourself and your wife that you are on the same team, fighting side by side! John Eldredge likes to say that each man deeply longs to have a Battle to Fight, and each wife longs to join you on that adventure. These trials that we face can bring us closer together if we plan and pray together and communicate with each other.
Unity Requires Purposeful Effort
This is not a smooth and easy path. Gravity always pulls an object down, and the world does the same thing to your bank account. It takes purposeful effort to go in the other direction! The chance of someone coming up and saying, “Hey, here’s a hundred bucks!” Um, let’s just say the odds are pretty low. On the other hand, there is almost a 100% chance that there will be an unexpected bill that will pop up and cost you $100. With very few exceptions, everything gets more expensive each year, especially if you have kids. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can plan, because it isn’t a surprise! Now that you know it is going to happen, you can work with your wife to create a budget.
God has a habit of taking what was meant for bad and turning it around for good. He can turn your money arguments into a catalyst for unity and growth. It starts with getting on the same page. Next, you can listen to your wife so that you can understand and meet her need for security. Then, you and your wife can fight as one team, united against anything that would try to divide you.