“Emerson, we agree with the Love & Respect message, but we have money problems. We’d have a really great marriage if we didn’t have these financial pressures.”

I receive many emails just like this, from couples who believe lack of money is the root of their marital problems. I understand why they say that. Financial problems can cause tremendous pressures and frustrations. In fact, many marriage experts claim that money mismanagement is the main source of marital discord. Yes, money problems are very real, but they are not the root reason that friendship and intimacy fade as she feels unloved and he feels disrespected. Money squabbles don’t undermine love and respect; they simply reveal unloving and disrespectful attitudes, which are the real reason why a marriage can start to wobble on the Crazy Cycle.

Money problems simply reveal what is in our hearts, how mature or immature we really are…

During a heated discussion about money, it is all too easy to appear hostile, sarcastic, or even contemptuous. It may be for only a few seconds, but it is enough to deflate the spirit of your spouse. Mark it down: money problems simply reveal what is in our hearts, how mature or immature we really are. Ouch! That hurts, I know, but it can be true of any of us.

Think of a toddler who throws himself kicking on the floor when he realizes he cannot have what he wants at the store. Being deprived of what he wants does not cause his temper tantrums; it simply reveals his immaturity. But what about us when we are deprived of what we want? Does being an adult guarantee that we will not overreact when we find ourselves in a financial situation contrary to our liking

Some spouses think, if we just had more money, then we’d be happy. How different, really, is this reasoning from that of a little kid, lying there kicking on the floor, thinking, if I can just get Mom to buy me that piece of candy, then I will be happy?

Immaturity on someone’s part may or may not be at least part of any couple’s money problems. But what exactly do you do when once again there is more month than money and you find tempers are about to flare?

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All kinds of money problems can suddenly descend. The question is, will a couple confront these problems together, showing each other love and respect, or will they turn away from each other and even the Lord because of anger and frustration?

When money problems close in, we have our best opportunity to deepen our maturity. The struggle to deal with money will remain real, but how glorious to wade through this quagmire as a team and be confident in God to lead us out of the predicament. The choice is always ours. Ultimately, financial needs should cause two people to turn to Christ for His supply, and what a glorious promise in today’s key verse! God will supply our needs, but He wants us to be able to tell the difference between our needs and our wants.

Suppose, for example, you need transportation to work, and you have just enough cash to pay for a pre-owned vehicle with decent miles that has been well cared for. But at the last second, you spot a practically new convertible in mint condition. Of course, it costs a lot more, but you manage to finance it and drive off the lot feeling you got what you always wanted. Yes, you did. But in six months the big payments are putting you under severe financial stress. What happened to that promise in Philippians 4:19? It is still there. He nicely provided for your need with that older vehicle, but you wanted that convertible and you wound up with money problems.

King Solomon, who knew quite a bit about making poor decisions, said, “The stupidity of a person turns his life upside down, and his heart rages against the lord” (Proverbs 19:3 gw). Raging against the Lord for not providing enough for our wants is childish. Instead, we can put James 1:5 into action. Does it say God will drop the money into our laps? No, but it does promise the wisdom to budget carefully and find the Lord providing a way when there seems to be no way. As He parted the Red Sea for Moses, the Lord can part our “seas of red”—if we let Him!

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Love and Respect