One of the most common conflicts in marriage is money. Often, a saver marries a spender. Then, one feels constrained or the other feels ignored. Maybe you’re the spouse asking, “What can I do if my spouse spends too much money?” Or, maybe you're the one in the marriage saying, “When are we going to enjoy some of what we’ve saved?”
So, how do you handle it when you have big differences in spending preferences? It can be tough to deal with money issues. Many marriages can’t deal with the challenge and separate instead of becoming more unified. But that doesn’t have to be you or your spouse. Here are 4 ways to handle money issues in marriage.
Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others. —Philippians 2:4
4 Ways to Handle Money Issues in Marriage
1. Consider your spouse above yourself.
Philippians 2:4 says, "Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others." If you are the spender, try hard to honor your frugal spouse and exercise self-control. If you are the saver, try hard to give grace and be generous. If you are fighting for your spouse’s interests, it’ll be a lot more pleasant in your marriage.
2. Don’t preach.
If you’re always trying to win your spouse over to your side, you’ll just get on his or her nerves. Early in our marriage, if we got into a disagreement over spending, Marilyn would feel like I was preachy and condescending. So, to fix this, we just quit talking about money. Needless to say, this wasn’t the answer. Until I was a safe place to talk and considered her, it shut down communication.
3. Be thankful for one another.
Differing perspectives are a gift in marriage. We enjoy life more because of Marilyn (our spender). We save more and are in better shape for our future because of me (the saver). Marilyn and Brad make a much better team than two Marilyns or two Brads ever would.
4. Get outside counsel.
When we had a disagreement on big purchases, we let friends we respect in the area of finances be our tiebreaker. Remember the Scripture, “with many advisers, plans succeed.”
Grace Marriage Mission
Discuss these four tips with your spouse. Then, if you need more direction, we recommend Compass Ministries.
Brad Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.