I often get asked by one spouse in a marriage: how do I talk to my spouse about money, we are on such different pages.
I sometimes struggle with these questions because I see money in black and white terms. I got into a financial career because I am a numbers guy. Because of my background and makeup, I’m most comfortable when I have an excel spreadsheet and my computer. Over the years, however, I have realized more and more that money issues are symptomatic of so many deeper and more painful things; money questions and troubles are often the first layer of deep issues within marriages or within a person’s heart.
I’ve come to believe that our finances represent one of the most practical and difficult places that God asks us to live out our faith. When we look at our checkbooks, we see a reflection of our victories, our fears, our priorities, and our problems.
I’ve also come to know, even on a personal level in my own marriage to Judy, that marriage can be the crucible through which God refines and sanctifies us as the “two become one flesh.”
So, whenever I encounter a “money and marriage” question, I know that I’m encountering a true soul-level question. As I train advisors to care for their clients well, I always tell them that the skill they need to hone the most is the skill of being able to listen and empathize. When a marriage is troubled by money, the money issue itself is only just the beginning of the deeper needs and questions.
All that being said, my heart toward anyone encountering this type of question is one of empathy and grace. Although money is the outworking of the problem you may be having, I am certain that the deeper communication and trust issues are more painful than the surface level dollars and cents issues.
I would encourage anyone in this situation to find their hope in their relationship with Christ and to depend on His guidance. Additionally, I would encourage them to continue to seek the guidance and support of their church and believing friends as they seek to honor their spouse and to honor God simultaneously with their financial decisions.
I pray that you are able to find unity with your spouse on these very important issues.