Conflict over finances can be hard on a marriage. In fact, research shows that couples who argue about money are nearly twice as likely to divorce as those who don’t.
The answer to that dilemma should be easy then, right? Just manage your finances better.
But a lot of couples are surprised to learn that poor money habits are only one part of their trouble. The other part is usually the marriage itself.
Money puts stress on fractures that already exist in a marriage. At some point, couples have to zero in on the details of their money and make decisions about how and where their dollars will be spent or saved. Wherever the cracks are in the relationship, money will find and exploit them.
That’s why healthy finances are the result of a healthy marriage as much as they are a part of the solution itself. A household budget can be a helpful tool, but it won’t do you much good if you and your spouse can’t communicate effectively about it and make it work in your relationship.
Ross and Julie Crosson experienced severe conflict over money in the early days of their marriage. He was meticulous and accounted for every penny. She, on the other hand, never balanced her checkbook. Why would she? It’ll all work out in the end, right?
That could describe a couple you know. Or maybe it describes your marriage.
Good stewardship should be a priority for all of us. The Bible tells us to “know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds” (Proverbs 27:23). But every couple has to talk through how that concept will work best for them.
Budgeting – or “planned spending” as Ross and Julie choose to refer to it – isn’t the end game. The budget is intended to serve a bigger purpose: to ease the conflict that’s negatively impacting your relationship.
I believe our two-day program, “Communicating to Achieve Financial Harmony,” will offer just the encouragement and practical advice you and your spouse need to strengthen your marriage.
If you’re in a tough spot because disagreements about money are taking their toll on your household, don’t let the enemy win. Fight for your marriage. Find ways to work through your problems, so you can be a strong couple … whether you’re making $9,000 a year or $90,000.
Russ Crosson is the president and CEO of Ronald Blue and Company. Russ and his wife, Julie, conduct seminars and provide mentoring to other couples about money and marriage and communication.