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Did I Really Say That? (Part 3 in a Series of 4)

I take you to be my wife/husband for richer or poorer.   “All you need is love,” the band sang as the guests danced the last dance at the wedding.  That was all the young couple needed that night as they ran away to their honeymoon.  However, five years later they needed a lot more.  House payments, car payments, insurance payments, cell phone payments, children’s clothes and medical bills, groceries…..the list goes on and on; hopefully, love is still there, but love is not paying the bills.

Finances are a major cause of conflict in marriages.  Couples enter marriage with different backgrounds and different expectations.  One may expect to live on one income; the other may expect to live on two.  One may expect that they will save and wait to purchase a home until they have a down payment; the other may expect to have a large home in only a few years.  One may expect to save and purchase items only if they can afford to pay for them at the end of the month; the other may expect to live on credit and only pay the minimum payment thus living life always in debt.  One may expect to tithe; the other may not even know what that means.  I think you get the picture.

In addition to the conflicting expectations, another factor that can cause financial conflict occurs when a spouse’s career is more important to him than his family.  It is good to work hard to provide for your family.  However, it is not good to work more than you need to work at the expense of your family.  Often people become so obsessed with getting to the top of the cooperate ladder that they lose their family along the way.  When they get to the top they have no one with whom they can enjoy the benefits of their hard work.

On the other extreme, some people are lazy and do not put forth the effort it takes to provide for the needs of their family.  As a result the family lives in poverty never knowing if there will be enough money to meet their basic needs.

It is not sinful to be wealthy, nor is it a sin to be poor.  Some people work hard with integrity or choose an occupation that just naturally produces wealth.  Other people work hard with integrity, but may have chosen a career that does not pay a high salary, but is fulfilling and helpful to others.  Couples can have a great marriage whether they are living in poverty or living in wealth.  The secret is found in Philippians 4:12-13.  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

So there’s the secret “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Since everything we have belongs to God, we need to turn it all over to Him.  Greed, laziness, envy, and discontentment are all displeasing to God. 

It is important to get you finances in line with God’s will.  Pray together as a couple about how to manage your money and your budget.  Write down a monthly budget.  The first thing on it should be your tithe, the 10% of your income that is God’s.  Then discuss what you make and live within your means.  It may take a lot of compromising and self-discipline, but God will take care of you as you seek His will. 

Here’s a book that will be of great benefit as you keep the vow you made to love each other whether rich or poor.  A financial planner suggested opening the book to the table of contents and asking God to direct you to the chapter you need to read.  Read the first chapter that interests you and then read the rest of the book Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at


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