Money Matters in Marriage

By Pastor John Crotts

            Money is so important in a marriage. We are stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. We must make enough money to support our families. Money can be a tool to enhance our marriage through thoughtful gifts of flowers or a needed vacation. Money provides opportunities to serve the Lord by giving together to the church, the needy, and in the support of missions.

Money is so unimportant in a marriage. You don’t need nearly so much money to have a happy home. While some couples work their heads off to have nice things, other couples have discovered the truth of Proverbs 15:17, which says, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

God has given each one of us our money. He uses it in our lives to test us. Money reveals what is in our hearts. Our priorities are displayed by our checkbook or credit card statements. When couples are tested by money, money is not the problem—even when it is lacking—the character of the couple is what is being examined. Hidden structural flaws within the marriage are discovered by financial hardships.

The Bible is the resource the Lord has given couples to direct all areas of their lives. The financial arena is no exception to the rule. Space is quite limited in this article to exhaust the subject—the Bible says more about money than it does about heaven and hell combined—but let’s consider a few reminders.

All of your money belongs ultimately to the Lord, and he has entrusted what you have to you as a steward. You are to use your resources for his glory. In Psalm 50:10, God reminds us that, “every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”  Everything in your wallet and garage is God’s.

While the application is broader, certainly 1 Corinthians 4:7 speaks of God giving us all of what we have: “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Though couples often assume that they are completely free to use their money in any way that they please, they are not. What God has given to you is to be used as he intends.

Out of that general truth come several subsequent truths. Trust God for your provisions. How many couples fight with each other in reaction to anxiety they feel over how the bills are going to be paid? Instead of glaring at each other, look to the Lord for your daily bread. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Strive to be generous. While planning for the future is wise (Proverbs 6:6-8), hoarding is sinful. It is okay to enjoy the good things the Lord has provided (1 Timothy 4:4), but how many professing Christians do you know who are drunk on materialism? “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Have a budget. If I came over this evening, would you be able to show me your working budget? Would it represent all of the money you are responsible for in the month? Are you and your spouse on the same page as to the budget category amounts? Are you both striving to stay within every category? If you don’t have a budget and follow it, do you know how much of the Lord’s money are you letting slide between the cracks? Couples who learn how to use a budget not only are better stewards of the Lord’s money, but also they enjoy spending it, because they know they are using it responsibly.

Beware of credit cards. While they can be useful tools, many, many couples get sucked down the drain as they live beyond their means using credit, and then don’t keep up with the payments. The interest on some credit cards is over 20%. Minimum payments at those rates are a recipe for financial ruin. If that is where your family is…STOP! Repent for living beyond your means.

I know that some families have experienced unexpected budget busters and used the cards to survive. Every situation is different, but as a rule it is good to set aside some kind of emergency fund to “prepare for the unexpected!”

Do you need to cut up the cards? Start living on a budget and within your means. Blast away at the debt and refuse to add to it. Get help and accountability from godly leaders at your church.

Set financial goals. As you discuss your financial situation, take time to set some savings goals. They can be spiritually oriented like saving to support a mission trip. They can also be for a special trip for the two of you. It is also important to have that emergency fund available. 

Even though husbands are responsible for the overall welfare of the home, including the finances, wives are custom designed by God to help the men out. Her input into the planning and implementing of the family budget is important. Both the husband and the wife will be better and happier stewards of the Lord’s resources if both of their inputs have been carefully considered.

Money doesn’t have to be a problem in a marriage, but it does have to be thought about and handled biblically. While money is a test, it can be passed with flying colors as couples seek to honor God with their resources.