When You Are Confronted With Disagreements Over Money
And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
2 Corinthians 8:5
There are only three things you can do with it: spend it, save it, or give it away. Only three choices. Yet when it comes to the bottom line of disagreements, you’ll probably find it, almost every time. It’s money! No matter how much they have, or how little they have, people don’t agree on how it’s spent. Playing a prominent part in at least 85% of all broken homes, the handling of money is one of the most explosive issues that confront people today, especially in times of recession and inflation.
One of the fundamental reasons that people disagree over the handling of money is that ego gets into the picture, and it becomes what one wants, and what the other person wants. And the clash of egos produces the fire of discontentment.
A generation ago, women were pretty passive when it came to the handling of money, but that has changed as the vast majority of women contribute to the household finances; and thinking that the golden rule is “he who has the gold has the rule,” they feel that they deserve an equal say in where the money goes since they are providers alongside a husband.
John Wesley used to advise people, “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can!” Today, we take to heart the counsel to earn all you can, but the saving and giving parts seem to translate poorly into life today.
Most couples could resolve conflict over money if they could only resolve the issue of to whom the money belongs. For example: A wife says, “I contribute 50% of our budget through my work, so I should have equal right to say how it’s spent!” True, she is an equal partner in the family income. Okay, does half of the money belong to her, and half to her husband? Simple mathematics will never resolve the issue of to whom does the money belong.
For believers who are part of the household of faith, individuals who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ, the issue goes much deeper than “what’s mine is mine,” and “what’s yours is yours!” The Bible contends, in fact, that what they have is not the actual possession of either of them, but it is a gift, given by a loving Heavenly Father. It is in failing to understand and acknowledge this that couples get into the mine-and-yours tug-of-war.
Going beyond the fact that what you have is a stewardship, a trust given to you by God for the provision of your needs as well as the needs of others, God says that you and your mate came together and became one, which rules out the independence of thinking of yourself as a private contractor with “rights” which you intend to enforce. Paul says that husbands and wives are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21), which eliminates the “mine” and “thine” mentality completely.
Confronted with disagreements over money? Then–
Guideline #1: Acknowledge that your money is not yours, either individually or collectively, but the Lord’s.
Guideline #2: Ask His forgiveness for your selfish attitude in regard to wanting more than your mate.
Guideline #3: Sit down together and ask your Heavenly Father to give you direction in knowing how to use the money God has given to you.
Guideline #4: Formulate a budget whereby you decide together how your money is going to be spent, living within your budget. And don’t be like the person who said, “I’m going to live within my budget even if I have to borrow money to do it.”
Money should never be used as a reward or a weapon. It’s part of the fabric of life, and the threads of that fabric are given by God Himself. Use it wisely!