When Spouses Clash on Financial Giving: Connect Financially
Q: "What do I do when my spouse and I are not on the same page about our giving?"
A: Connect Financially
Just as spouses bring different spiritual alignments to a marriage, they bring varying financial styles and experiences as well.
A free-spirited, free-spending spouse will clash at times with a tightly wound, bookkeeping spouse. Often the spouse who appears inclined to be more generous is also the one thinking about a new swimming pool or the next vacation destination.
Meanwhile, the one who reacts more cautiously about giving ideas is thinking about this year's IRA contribution or an extra month's savings for that unforeseeable economic crisis. When the giving conversation surfaces, resentment concerning how the other spouse views money gets in the way.
Couples need to find their common ground. Neither spouse is fully right or wrong in their position. Both need to be affirmed…and both need to be challenged.
The bookkeeper needs to be affirmed for his or her helpful management skills; but this person may also need to be challenged to take steps of faith and give past their comfort zone.
And the free-spirited spouse needs to know his or her desire to give freely is admirable; but this spouse may also need restraints on personal spending to "earn the freedoms" to be generous that comes from practicing sound stewardship.
Even couples with similar money styles become disconnected.
My wife and I graduated with accounting degrees and view money similarly. In the past when I gave my wife the "time to cut back" speech, that was my signal to tighten our spending.
Then weeks or days later I might come home with a grand giving idea. She'd call "foul" on my mixed signals (rightfully so) and I'd have explain my cryptic thinking. Since then I've worked harder to keep her in the loop with the financial picture and how possible giving sacrifices might affect our overall situation.
To connect financially, consider taking a financial stewardship course together. If scheduling seems problematic for you, consider going through a self-study as a couple. Early in our marriage, my wife and I went through a financial bible study together as a couple. Often financial stress and difficult circumstances stand in the way and require third-party help to resolve. For a couple to advance together in their giving journey there must be togetherness in the financial journey.
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