You’ve probably heard the top three reasons why a married couple divorces: issues with sexual intimacy, money habits, and lack of communication. Each one of these has their way of driving a wedge between two spouses. When it comes to finances, bad money habits can tear apart your marriage covenant and destroy your marriage. That’s why we’d like to discuss several common habits so you can be aware of what to look for and/or stay clear of doing.
5 Bad Money Habits That Are Destroying Your Marriage
1. Not communicating about money.
The lack of communication made the top three reasons why a marriage ends for a reason and when it comes to finances, it’s no different. In fact, it’s safe to say that it’s magnified because not only are you not communicating well with your spouse, the lack of communication is attached to the livelihood of your family.
No matter your financial situation, you and your spouse should feel 100% comfortable talking about finances and delegating responsibilities of who takes care of them. Below are a few examples of how to do that:
- Have a weekly money meeting. During this meeting you can discuss how much money you have in your accounts, upcoming bills due, and share current financial goals.
- Decide who takes care of paying the bills and in what format (mail-in, online, walk-in, etc.).
- Create a system that can be used by both of you. This can be something like having mutual access to online accounts, bank accounts, and the like to keep track of financial spending.
- Be transparent about your spending by telling one another when you’ve purchased something (or plan to).
2. Not having a budget.
Frivolous spending or spending because you’re expecting your next paycheck are two bad habits that are hard to break. Even if you have an irregular income, that is still no excuse to not have a budget. The best way to get on track with keeping one is to calculate your monthly income. Then, write down all of your monthly debts (rent/house payments, insurances, cell phone, car payments, tithe, etc.). Include another line of debits for gas and groceries.
It is important to make sure all of your bills are taken care of first. Afterward, you can decide what to do with what’s leftover. It’s always smart to save some and then set some aside for extra expenses such as eating out, buying something for yourself, etc.
3. Buying things you don’t need.
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a buy me society. Everywhere you look there are ads suggesting that you purchase something. Our phones and computers are so smart that they pick up on what we’re talking about and cater ads to that! Nevertheless, now more than ever, it’s important to stay clear of buying things you don’t need.
If you find yourself wanting something big then plan and budget for it. Do not fall into the temptation of buying things you don’t need and ultimately trying to find comfort in it. That is a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Find contentment in what you have and create a game plan for the times you want to purchase something you don’t necessarily need.
Another tip is to get rid of something by means of selling or donating it before buying something you want.
More Bad Money Habits
4. Living above your means.
Also known as “keeping up with the Jones’,” living above your means is the quickest way to go into a debt that can become too heavy to pay. We’ve seen marriage head straight for divorce because of this problem. Typically the root cause is one spouse trying to make the other happy at the expense of going into debt to look a certain way.
Do yourself and your spouse a favor and look to Christ for your validation and status. Be content and thankful with what He has given you and He will increase you in due time. Living above your means is not worth the burden that comes with it.
5. Sowing sparingly or not in obedience to the Word.
Scripture talks a lot more about being a good steward than most people realize, and there is a reason for that. All that we had, have, and will receive comes from God. He makes it plain and clear that all belongs to Him and it is by Him that we are able to obtain what we do receive. Therefore, we must return a portion of it to Him. This is not only an act of obedience but also an act of gratitude for having our provisions met.
Beyond tithing to your congregation, you can also find other ways to tithe and/or pay alms. Scripture speaks of helping the widow, orphan, and the poor. There are many organizations and nonprofits that are created to help those who fall into those categories. Since it’s always not feasible to be the hands and feet of those ministries, the next best thing would be to help fund the efforts of those who can.
Giving according to the Word comes with great blessings but do not get caught up in the mindset that if you give, you must get back or else! That is a dangerous place to be.
Bad money habits are destroying marriages every single day. But this doesn’t have to be the case for you and your spouse. If either (or both) of you have issues with handling finances properly, have an important discussion about it. In some cases, you may want to include wise counsel from a like-minded believer who can help get you on track. And, there are programs like Dave Ramsey that are geared toward helping Christians be smart and obedient with their finances. Start small and take it one day at a time.