Divorced couples have revealed that money is one of the main reasons for their breakups. It's not just a lack of money, because many affluent couples have struggles and tension about money. I'm reminded of an interview:
Reporter: "So you are 100 years old. How did you manage to live so long?"
Old man: "Well, son, I got married when I was 21. The wife and I decided that if we had arguments, the loser would take a long walk to get over being mad. I suppose I have been benefited most by 79 years of fresh air and exercise."Pruneville.com, "Jokes and Quotes," http://www.pruneville.com/jokesandquotes/cleanjokes/ (accessed May 22, 2007).
Arguments about money — not sex or household chores — are what couples between the ages of 18 and 40 fight over the most, according to a recent survey. In fact, money is such a troublesome issue that 82 percent of survey respondents say they have hidden shopping bags and various purchases from their spouse.Charles Paikert, "Money Battles Top List of Fights," Investment News, February 12, 2007, 6. So much for marital oneness and unity, huh?
When my wife, Judy, became a Christian in 1972, I was busy building a business, growing our income and providing for our family. She asked me about giving money to the church by tithing. Not being a believer at that time, I wouldn't hear of it. I didn't think it made financial sense. Judy showed patience and a winsome, submissive spirit. We didn't begin giving significantly until I became a Christian.
Should Judy have begun tithing, or nagging me to do so, even when I wasn't in agreement? I don't think so. God is more interested in a couple's relationship than the "correct" answer. God doesn't need our money. He owns it all. In a marriage, it's not a matter of who's right, but submitting to one another in love.
So, allow me to comment on a few of the vexing areas of managing money for couples. I think it will be particularly helpful to consider the different perspective and approach of husbands and wives when it comes to debt, spending and budgets, and investing.