Money is always listed as one of the top reasons marriages fail. Knowing what not to do is just as important as doing the right things.
Wise money management contributes a great deal to the health of a marriage, but there are four things concerning money you should never do.
MoneyWise contributor Art Rainer identifies these “money don’ts” in marriage. Before getting into these four potential problem areas, he has an important observation about all of them. It’s that money is almost never neutral. It’s a powerful factor in the marriage relationship that either strengthens or weakens it.
Another factor that strongly affects the health of a marriage is communication. Failure to communicate makes money problems even worse. So here are four money-related things you should never do in marriage -
1. Don't do anything in secrecy.
It destroys trust which is an absolutely essential element in marriage. For example, if you open a credit card account without your spouse’s knowledge, you’re destroying trust and potentially putting your marriage at risk.
That secret account also becomes a temptation to run up debt which just compounds the problem when your spouse inevitably finds out. You might call that financial infidelity.
The solution is simple--never do anything in secrecy. Strive for open and honest communication about money as you would in any area of your marriage. Unless both spouses know everything that’s going on with your finances, you can’t work together to solve problems and achieve your goals.
2. Don't disregard your financial plan.
If you haven’t sat down with your spouse and put together a plan for managing money to achieve your goals, you should do that as soon as possible.
But just having a plan isn’t enough. You have to stick to it. If you deviate from it without your spouse’s knowledge and approval, it will cause problems with your marriage.
This relates back to secrecy and again, becuase it breaks trust and shows disrespect for your spouse. That special person you vowed to share everything with now feels isolated, and they're the only one worried about preserving the financial health of your marriage.
You avoid the problem by making sure any departure from your financial plan has the full knowledge and agreement of your spouse. It’s okay to make changes--everybody has to occasionally--just keep it above board.
3. Don't put your parents above your spouse.
Parents are, of course, a great source of wisdom and advice, but there’s a limit. Seeking the counsel of your parents about money or anything else as more important than your spouse will begin to crack the foundation of your marriage.
It should come as no surprise that the Bible addresses this problem head on. Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” And of course, wives should hold fast to their husbands, as well.
4. Don't place your children above your spouse.
You both love your kids and you’d do anything for them, but don’t. It’s a tough one to swallow, but your first commitment is always to your spouse. Don’t put your kids’ wants over those of your spouse, because it's more important to keep your marriage strong.
This applies to small children and older children. Here’s a common example. In many cases, continuing to help your adult children will prevent them from becoming financially independent.
If you continue to bail them out of their financial mistakes, they’re more likely to keep making them. They won’t learn to save and spend money wisely, and they won’t learn that to get something you have to earn it.
The earlier you train your children to manage money wisely, the faster they’ll learn. It eliminates a potentially huge conflict down the road with your spouse.
God’s Word addresses this "don't", too. Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I know that’s a tough one … but remember that you’re helping your kids by saying no at times … when they tend to repeat the same mistake again and again.
So those are four things related to money that you should never do in marriage. If you can avoid them, you’ll go a long way toward having a happy and healthy relationship with your spouse.
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