What does money mean to you? This is perhaps the most important financial question you’ll ever have to answer. Not how much to spend, how much to save, how much you need to make, or how much to give. It’s what does money mean to you?
1 Timothy 6:10 says “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." This Scripture is telling us our beliefs about the role money plays in our life is an indicator for whether it will be a blessing or a curse. When I got married nine years ago, my husband was working and going to school full-time. If I had a dollar for every time we thought we’d be “all set” when he graduated and started making more money, I’d be rich. We often fantasized about how peaceful and whole life would be down the road. This made the strain of hardly seeing each other feel like it had a purpose. Have you ever felt that way? Desperately clinging to the idea that tomorrow will better?
Yet, as our income increased, I found myself moving further from peace and closer to anxiety. It wasn’t simply because we were making more money though. I had to face an ugly truth. Instead of it being a practical, necessary resource in our modern world, money had become the solution and security of my ideal life. This is a very painful mentality that I learned will drive insecurity, discontentment, and misguided motives.
If money is the solution and security for a whole life, so many of our decisions will originate from that belief. This can lead us to buying bigger houses, nicer cars, and things we don’t need to fill a void. Most likely using debt. It can lead to pursuing jobs that leave us sacrificing the most important things and people in our life for more money. Possibly because we borrowed too much and now we’re trapped. My husband helped me learn this when, before buying a mortgage-doubling house, he asked “Is this really what we want? To have to live on two incomes?” I had to throw a genuine toddler tantrum about losing my “perfect” house before I realized walking that direction would add unnecessary stress to our marriage. I often look back with enormous gratitude and respect that he had the courage to keep us true our values.
It’s becoming common knowledge that money is the number one cause of divorce. Yet, I would point out the obvious that money itself cannot cause divorce. A round nickel and rectangular piece of government issued mint cannot cause two people to divorce. What’s much more likely is the meaning of money in their life could cause divorce. When the value we place on this resource is in balance, our marriages won’t be perfect but they will certainly be stronger and more peaceful.
My encouragement for you and your marriage is to reflect on, vulnerably discuss, and pray about what money means to you and your spouse. You’ll likely find you’re not on the same page at first and that’s perfectly normal. Consider seeking guidance from a mentor or pastor. You could also plan a date night to talk about it. Who knows? You might discover it’s a lot of fun learning to look through the same lens with your spouse!