The number-one conflict during the first year of marriage is money.
H. Norman Wright -
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10
The number-one conflict during the first year of marriage is money. Some of your biggest disagreements may be about money, but they do not have to be. Why does this happen? We all have different spending and saving styles. This is a reflection of our personalities.
Did you realize that money can be a weapon of independence? It can be the reason for arguments about responsibility and judgment. It can be used as a source of power and control. Money not only buys clothes, cars, computers and stocks, but it can also buy power. Money can be a reflection of ones self-worth. Spending can be a way to help yourself feel good, to get your partners attention or to get back at him or her!
We all need money. Prices climb and the paycheck shrinks. The battle gets especially rough as you take on the payments of a home, car and then kids. How will you save for a college education when tuition at many schools can cost as much as $12,000 to $16,000 a year? How will you pay off your own school loans or credit cards? How do you continue to pay the bills when the expenses are too high? It is a struggle for all of us.
Some people have a different kind of problem with moneythey love it. It becomes the reason for their existence, the source of their ambitions, their goal in life. Money is their god.
What part does money play in your life? Think about the following questions:
What percentage of the day do you spend worrying about money?
Do you spend more time thinking or worrying about money than you spend praying each day?
When you are feeling down, discouraged or hurt, do you jump in the car and go on a shopping spree to help make you feel better?
Do you wish your partner were more frugal, or would spend more?
Do you have a specific plan for how much money you can spend each month when you are married?
Who will be responsible for handling the money after you are married?
Does the value you attach to yourself as a person fluctuate in accordance with the fluctuation of your net worth?
To what extent has money been the source of arguments between you and other family members in your family of origin?
If you listed all your canceled checks, what message would they tell about the place money has in your life?
In the home you are leaving, to what extent have you operated on a well-defined budget that the entire family is aware of and has some voice in creating?
To what extent do you have a plan to handle extra money that comes in unexpectedly? (That does happen, you know.)
To what extent will you and your partner pray about money and the direction God wants you to take in using it for His kingdom and glory?
Think about these questions and develop some answers with your future partner.
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist. He was formerly Director of the Graduate Department of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling at Biola University as well as an Associate Professor of Psychology. He has taught graduate school for over twenty-five years at Talbot School of Theology and the Graduate Department of Marriage and Family Counseling at Biola University Dr. Wright is the founder and director of Christian Marriage Enrichment, a national organization designed to train ministers and lay leaders in counseling and enrichment.
Dr. H. Norman Wright is a graduate of Westmont College (B.A. Christian Education), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.R.E.), and Pepperdine University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology) and has received honorary doctorates D.D. and D.Litt. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and Biola University respectively. He has pioneered premarital counseling programs throughout the country. Dr. Wright is the author of over 65 booksincluding the best-selling Always Daddys Girl and Quiet Times for Couples. He and his wife, Joyce, have a married daughter, Sheryl, and a son, Matthew, who was profoundly retarded and is now deceased. The Wrights make their home in Southern California.