The Blame Game

Last week we talked about marriage truly being at times for Better or Worse, Richer or Poorer when it comes to money. It is not surprising though that some marriages lead into divorce over money. Although, many more couples are just finding it hard to communicate with their spouse about their money.

When it comes to money, cash is always King.  To be able to save for things like a car, TV, that new boat you want, to be able to purchase them with cash can be an amazing feat in itself.  But there are some of us that purchased items on credit and found ourselves in a mountain-full of debt.

Debt has two ugly monsters - stress and obligation.

Where there is stress, you are sure to find more disagreement in your marriage.  Where there are more bills than paychecks, communication between a husband and a wife can become strained.  It’s as if we fall into this game of comparing each other’s spending habits.  Who spent on more purposeful, needed items and who spent on frivolity?

You know the conversation:

He says, “Did you really need that pedicure?”

She says, “Did you have to go out and eat lunch with the guys?”

One thing Jose and I have learned over the years is that it’s not about He said, She said; it’s about WE. We created it. We did this and we will get out of it.  Three words we don’t include in our vocabulary when we are talking money are:

  1. You – like I said before, it’s about us.
  2. Always – It’s a bad-word in the blame game.
  3. Because – never offers a solution

Proverbs 22:7 says – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender” (NRSV)

I remember one instance where this scripture became relevant in our lives.  We found ourselves barely making ends meet.  Jose received a check from a contractor he had finished doing work for. Two days later we found all the money was levied from our account.  A small enough amount yet large in our eyes because it was something we hadn’t had in awhile.  We knew we owed it and it was “ok” that it happened because he was to receive a much larger check by the end of the week that was suppose to take us through the summer months.  So he received it, deposited it and two days later all of it but $.26 was gone. It was another levy from another supplier.  All I could do was cry and as I would close my eyes and weep, I would see myself in shackles, in handcuffs as I felt a true “slave of the lender” position in my life.

Please understand, I don’t think all debt or credit is bad. Some of us need this to purchase a home or maintain a business.  I tell you this story because we never blamed each other, we never blamed God, we blamed us.  Our position changed as we viewed money.  That in that time, in that season, God was in control of it all.  We never wavered or left the feet of God.  We only did the one thing we knew to do, raise our hands and praise Him through the circumstance.

I leave you with this:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

He is always there.  I encourage you, if you don’t already, grab your spouse’s hand and pray.  Pray over your finances.  Confess your lack of stewardship with what He has given you with your finances.  That you look each other in the eye and ask for forgiveness of partaking in the blame game.  That it’s not his mess or her mess but that it’s our mess and with God’s help He will restore it all, the money, the marriage, the peace.

What tips do you have to help spouses talk openly and freely about money?