Next to infidelity, battling money problems in marriage is one of the chief causes of marital breakups. Financial woes can separate husbands and wives just as readily as adultery; and it takes a real determination to get past bankruptcy, bill collectors and bad debts to stay married. But husbands and wives don't have to abandon ship just because of a lack of cash. There are ways to avoid the pitfalls of financial mayhem, but both spouses have to work at getting out of debt, establishing a budget and sticking to it, exercising restraint in buying, and last but certainly not least, honoring God in giving. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).
Before couples can resolve money problems in marriage, an assessment must be made of the family's fiscal status, including assets and liabilities. Indebtedness doesn't happen overnight, but delaying to pay bills when due, failing to pay off credit cards, or getting cash advances from charge cards can push families to the brink of financial disaster. Before couples declare bankruptcy, taking a good hard look at total indebtedness will give families a good idea of where they stand financially. Couples should pull out every outstanding bill and make a list from the largest amount owed to the smallest. Automobile loans, hospital bills, student loans, and credit card debt will make up the bulk of a family's indebtedness. Pore over the bills closely, making a note of those with the largest finance charges. In order to reduce indebtedness, past due accounts with greater interest rates may be refinanced, especially home mortgages. In a waning economy, lenders are open to creative financing options. Some outstanding debts are negotiable, but others are not. Federally-backed student loans usually cannot be reduced; but many creditors will settle for a certain percentage, from 25- to 50 percent of the original loan to wipe an outstanding account clean.
The next step in getting rid of money problems in marriage is to make a list of assets. Many couples have hidden assets that can be liquidated and turned into cash. Broken gold jewelry, unused gift cards, long forgotten employee savings accounts, may all be turned into cold hard cash that can be applied to outstanding debts. Reputable online companies may offer top dollar to buy broken gold jewelry. Other Internet vendors specialize in paying cash for unredeemed gift cards. Other moneymaking ideas include selling unused clothing, shoes, and accessories on consignment or at a local flea market or yard sale. A second job or a lucrative hobby can add to the plus column. Taking stock of assets and liabilities helps partners tackle money problems in marriage in an orderly manner.
Together, partners should work out a viable plan to contact creditors and collection agencies to negotiate settlements on accounts in arrears. When lenders extend credit, consumers make a solemn oath to repay debts. Unfortunately, many consumers fail to keep their promises; but dodging creditors does not make the debt go away. Interest on unpaid balances will continue to accrue, plus late payment penalties. To resolve money problems in marriage, couples should face creditors directly. Many will appreciate an honest effort to repay loans and charge accounts. "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay" (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5).
As partners address money problems in marriage, one aspect of financial management cannot be overlooked: tithing. According to the Word of God, anyone who wants to get out of debt and experience prosperity should be willing to tithe. Giving a tenth of one's income to the work of God opens the door to blessings and financial freedom. Will couples become millionaires overnight? Probably not; but by putting God in the center of the family finances, couples can begin to overcome money problems in marriage. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 3:10-12).
When money problems in marriage begin to disappear, other areas of family life will begin to line up with His perfect will and improve. Partners seeking to overcome financial battles should first take a serious look at assets and liabilities, establish and follow a strict budget, try to liquidate assets, make arrangements to settle accounts, and above all, tithe 10 percent of their income to the work of the Lord. Couples who put God to the test and follow biblically-sound money management practices will soon realize financial freedom and marital renewal.
Overcoming Marriage ProblemsCouples may have success overcoming marriage problems through counseling, mediation, and spiritual guidance. The institution of marriage consists not only of relationship issues, but also mental and spiritual health. When husbands and wives reach an impasse in their relationship, the first inclination may be to end it all. But there are agencies in and out of the church that can help troubled couples put their marriage back together again. Christian and non-Christian organizations, churches, licensed family and relationship therapists, psychologists, and clergy offer varying degrees of low- and no-cost counseling. Marriage retreats, seminars, and short-term courses are also available for families who need help dealing with conflict. Couples should exhaust every means of reconciliation before deciding to separate or divorce, including seeking God. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:5-7).
Husbands and wives interested in overcoming marriage problems must have the right perspective on wedlock. When two join together as one, they form a single social unit having male and female components. Over time, that single unit should become so cohesive and so formidable that nothing from the outside world can destroy it. Male and female should learn to work together as a team, eating the same food, sleeping in the same bed, doing the same things. When an enemy comes into the household, whether the enemy is called discord, confusion, jealousy, or financial woe, the single-flesh union of husband and wife should tackle it together. A wise couple will soon discover that if they keep the right perspective of being on the same team, no outside influence can tear them apart. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10).
Many people fail to realize that marriage, just like any other intimate relationship, is bound to have conflict. No two people can get along 100 percent of the time; but husbands and wives can learn how to diffuse volatile situations and come to an agreement on most issues that might plague an otherwise happy home. Because holy matrimony is held in such high regard by God, the institution is a primary target for conflict and controversy. But spiritually astute couples can recognize when the relationship is under attack and avert some marital casualties, overcoming marriage problems with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Issues that can contribute to marital discord include acts of infidelity, money woes, chronic illness, or unemployment. Separation due to long distance employment or deployment, children from a previous relationship, or caring for kids with special can also add stress.
There is no magic formula, but there are three key elements to overcoming marriage problems: commitment, communication, and compassion. When both spouses are committed to the relationship, the ability to ward off discord is increased. Husbands and wives who are equally committed to seeing the marriage through sickness and health, poverty and wealth, as long as they both shall live are more apt to endure hardships. Commitment is the vehicle which enables couples to stay together when there are more bills than money at the end of the month. Commitment is the impetus that compels husbands to work two jobs to keep food on the table. Commitment compels wives to love their husbands in spite of an act of infidelity and failure to keep a solemn vow. Without commitment, overcoming marriage problems is virtually impossible.
Communication is vital for any relationship to thrive, especially marriage. Couples who give one another the silent treatment instead of sharing concerns are playing a dangerous game. Overcoming marriage problems can be difficult when one partner shuts down and refuses to discuss what is troubling them. How can you give an answer when you do not know the question? The silent treatment is a selfish and immature way to resolve conflicts; it just will not work. By keeping the lines of communication open, sharing heartfelt concerns while listening intently to one another, husbands and wives can discover one of the keys to overcoming marriage problems without soliciting the aid of counselors. Developing listening good skills; refraining from debate, disputes and arguments; and allowing a mate an opportunity for self-expression without berating or belittling are crucial to the success of matrimony.
The third key to a successful union, compassion, is the ability to show mercy to those who are hurting. During marital conflict, husbands and wives suffer from an alienation of affection, a lack of physical intimacy, or a cessation the close companionship they may have once enjoyed. Acts of infidelity can have a devastating affect on both the victim and the perpetrator. Victims of spousal unfaithfulness may feel rejection, anger, frustration, or rage. The guilty spouse must deal with the guilt, shame, or disappointment of falling prey to an adulterous affair. Compassionate couples who are able to walk in one anothers shoes have a greater chance of overcoming marriage problems than those who refuse to look beyond faults. The husband who has committed an offense must first forgive himself, then ask God and his wife for forgiveness. Likewise, a wife who is a victim of adultery must try to find compassion in spite of feelings of betrayal and righteous indignation. If the guilty party exhibits remorse or makes a genuine effort to reform, the offended spouse must be willing to work through the pain of an adulterous affair. Relationships full of commitment, communication, and compassion can overcome all things; and time heals all wounds.