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The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave. PROVERBS 22:7
Larry Burkett once told me that of all the couples who divorce in America, between 85 and 90 percent would say the number one problem in their marriage is money. They are unable to agree on how to handle it, save it, spend it, give it, budget it, account for it and keep from arguing about it. In many cases, it’s the heavy debt and the pressure of watching it compound ever higher—with no easy
solution for bringing it down—that causes a marriage to fall apart.
A number of years ago, I was mentoring a young married man who admitted he was carrying more than $35,000 worth of high-interest credit-card debt. He asked me what he should do about it. I responded, “The same way you’d eat an elephant—one bite at a time. But in order to keep the elephant from growing, I’d strongly encourage you to set all your cards on a cookie sheet, put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and melt them down.” Easy credit is not just a mammoth monster. It’s a marriage eater.
If you’re in the beginning years of marriage, you need to have frequent and honest conversations about managing your money and specifically your attitude toward debt as a couple. Learn to deny immediate gratification of your wants, until you can actually afford them. Better yet, learn to resist the desire to accumulate stuff for stuff ‘s sake, even if you can afford it. Discuss your spending tendencies with each other. As a couple, fiercely avoid buying things on credit. Create a budget and hold each other accountable for how you manage what God has entrusted to you (see Psalm 24:1).
The bottom line? Debt kills marriages. How you manage money as a couple will have an impact on your marriage, your family and your legacy.
What financial example was set before you growing up? How has that affected your attitude toward money? How are you and your spouse similar to one another? Different?
Offer it all back to God today, to help you be disciplined in using His money His way.