By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
Money is one of the most important things in a marriage. It's also the thing couples fight about the most. In marriage, when two people come together, they each have different ways of approaching life, and that includes money. Some people are savers, meaning they pinch every penny and save as much as they can. Spenders, however, believe the money is there to be spent, so they spend it, leaving nothing at the end of each paycheck.
Although both approaches may work in a marriage, it can often also cause conflicts. For those who have difficulty with their spouse when it comes to money, there are ways you can approach it from a godly perspective. As with any marriage, I learned my husband and I are opposites regarding money. I'm a saver, and he is a spender. Because I often want to save money at the end of each paycheck and keep our costs low, he spends without keeping to a strict budget. This once caused many rifts in our marriage. One day, as I was talking to the Lord, I felt a nudging for me to re-evaluate how I view money. I realized I had some common misconceptions about money.
First, I viewed money as an area of safety. Not only did I want to save money so we would save some for a rainy day, but I also used it as an avenue for safety. Having money made me feel safe. However, since God is the ultimate Refuge in my life, money isn’t to provide safety as much as it is about relying on God for his provision.
Second, I viewed money as a means to build wealth. While there's nothing wrong with saving money (as having money typically reduces credit card debt), it should not be a driving force in my life. I often thought about all the ways I would spend the money when I had enough; I thought about all the possessions I would own to “get ahead in life.” But that is not the purpose of why God gives us money. God gives us money to be good stewards not only to meet our basic needs but also to bless those who do not have any.
Third, I viewed money as an avenue to hoard rather than to bless. Money is intended to bless those who are less fortunate. But I was choosing to hoard my extra money to amass wealth. That is not what God intended. God intends for us to bless others. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Because of these three misconceptions, I had to shift my perspective and approach money in a godly way. Once I repented of this behavior, I saw money in a new light. I changed my behavior regarding how I used it. First, I asked God to bless me so I could give above and beyond. Not only was I obligated to give ten percent of my income to my local church, but I then asked God where additional funds could be used most effectively. I began to give to organizations that were dedicated to spreading the gospel message. I adopted a child from Compassion International and gave regularly to help meet her needs. I wanted my money to not only bless those around me in my immediate area but also around the world. I also gave to my church’s denomination to help spread the gospel through its missionaries. I wanted the missionaries in my district to have their basic needs met so they could do the work of spreading the gospel. Because of my commitment to give abundantly, I rest assured knowing that my money is being put to good use.
Second, I stopped using it to promote my own happiness. While it's okay to spend a little on myself, I found I received more joy by just figuring out how I would spend it. When I stopped thinking about money selfishly, God freed me from the slavery that money (and ultimately my debt) gave me. I was able to save the money I spent and used any extra money to pay down extra debt. I was able to pay down a large loan in one year even though the loan’s term was for five years. This sense of accomplishment replaced the temporary happiness I found when I spent money on new clothes or other items.
Third, I used money to build my relationship with others instead of thinking it was only mine to spend. Because I heard of some needs from people in my church, I helped a young single mom when she was having trouble making ends meet. I was also able to help a local community group meet at school for their fundraiser. I got much more joy out of knowing my money was being used to help others rather than myself.
Fourth, I saved for future expenses. Instead of worrying about how I would pay down excess credit card debt, I paid off my debt and was able to save any excess and put it away in case we needed money for home repairs, car repairs, or children’s items. Knowing I had a little bit of a reserve to help in times when I had a need eased my anxiety and gave me a peace that my soul longed for.
Healthy Money Management
If you have difficulty seeing money from God's perspective, here are some ways you can allocate your funds more appropriately:
First, ask God to give you an abundant amount of money so you can bless those around you. Think about the community groups, organizations, and charities you can give to to stretch your dollars and make a difference in the lives of those around you. When I realized money was something to give away (not something to keep), it greatly helped my perspective.
Second, see money as something to put away for a rainy day. My goal in saving money is not to amass wealth but to save for home repairs, car repairs, or anything else that using a credit card would just open the door for debt. To completely close the door on credit cards, freeze your credit cards and put them away in a place where you must look for them to get them. Furthermore, if you are about to make a purchase, allow yourself 24 to 48 hours to think about it. If you still want the item after 24 to 48 hours, buy it. However, you may find the impulsivity with which you buy things disintegrates once you've had time to rationalize the necessity of the item.
Third, see money as God's provision rather than something to use to live independently from him. When you can realize that God gives us everything we need, we can live in freedom knowing that God cares for us just as much as he cares for every living thing he has created. When we trust God for his provision, it will replace our anxiety with peace and replace superficial knowledge of God with a deeper understanding of who he is.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/EBonilla14
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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