“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs …” — Ephesians 4:29 … That’s a great verse to keep in mind when talking with anyone, but especially your spouse, and especially when you’re having a disagreement! We’ll talk about that with Howard Dayton today.
Howard Dayton is the founder of Compass— Finances God’s Way
and author of Money and Marriage God’s Way.
- Money and Marriage has a chapter devoted to how to resolve conflicts over money. It’s something all married couples should learn!
- Money is one of the most common areas of conflict for couples. God knew that we'd have conflict and even anger in our marriages. But when we seek to resolve anger, we can keep it from becoming a sin that damages our relationship.
- Romans 12:18 tell us, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
- But you might be surprised to learn that conflict isn't always bad. In fact, it can be a tool for strengthening the relationship. Like a thunderstorm that can be terrifying but helps clean the air. When conflict is handled correctly, two people share their hearts with each other in a caring and positive way, trying to listen and be heard while connecting on a deep level. Unfortunately, many couples don't know how to handle conflict well.
- There are three factors that are essential to converting harmful conflicts into healthy ones:
- 1. Goodwill on the part of both spouses
- 2. A written agreement on how to conduct themselves during a conflict
- 3. Understanding the importance of forgiveness
- When conflict comes, loving and wanting the best for each other form the foundation for handling it in a healthy manner. The more your spouse's trust account is filled, the more your mate is certain of your love, the greater the goodwill between the two of you and the easier it is to work through difficult issues. Ask yourself if these verses accurately describe your attitude toward your spouse:
- 1 Corinthians 13:4 and 5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
- And verse 7 goes on to say, “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
- If you’re not treating your spouse in these ways, we encourage you to spend time with the Lord asking Him to change your heart and your actions. Be candid with your wife or husband and ask for forgiveness for your actions. As you are faithful to live out these powerful verses, you and your marriage will be transformed.
- WRITTEN AGREEMENT
- It’s crucial for couples to write down agreed-upon ground rules for healthy conflict—before that conflict erupts. Your agreement should be designed to foster open communication, love and respect for each other, and the resolution of a problem.
- THE NEVERS: You should never threaten divorce during conflict, never confront your spouse in public, never nag, never verbally attack, and never resurrect the past.
- THE ALWAYS: Instead of those things, always ask permission to address the conflict. That sets the stage for resolution. Always invite God to be part of your discussion. Always admit when you're wrong. Always listen. Always keep your arguments out of the bedroom, as that's a place for unity and intimacy, not hashing out differences. Always stick to the subject. Always deal with disagreements as soon as possible. And always decide on a plan.
- God realizes it’s tremendously important for couples to forgive each other. Genuine forgiveness is a key to healthy conflict and a great marriage. When you have wronged your mate, be quick to sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness. And if you were the one wronged, be quick to forgive.
- You can read more in Howard Dayton’s book Money and Marriage God’s Way.
On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- Does having too many credit card accounts open (with zero balances) hurt your credit score?
- How long will an interest rate apply on an I-bond?
- How can you determine whether an investment advisor is a fiduciary?
- What is the best way to get a prepaid or secured credit card?
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to Questions@MoneyWise.org. Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, join the MoneyWise Community, and even download the free MoneyWise app.