Marital conflicts can easily arise over the
way money is spent or not spent. Husbands
and wives come into marriage with very
different views about money. But these
conflicts can be resolved if couples follow the
“One Flesh” approach. Money is just a means
to an end–a way to obtain what we desire.
Financial conflicts are not really about money.
The real source of conflict is the value (or lack
of value) that we place upon our own and our
spouse’s desires. One spouse may place a
high value on security, and so he or she tries to
save every penny for the proverbial rainy day.
The other spouse may place a higher value on
getting and enjoying the things that money can
buy. He or she will buy that pair of shoes as a
means of enjoyment and reward, no matter
how much it costs. One spouse desires
security, so he or she saves; the other desires
satisfaction by accumulating good things, so he
or she spends. Who’s right, who’s wrong?
Neither. Conflict develops, however, when one
spouse doesn’t regard the other’s desires as
necessary or important. The other spouse feels
judged and devalued. Resentment grows, and
communication and mutual understanding
become nearly impossible. This is why the
“One Flesh” approach is necessary. We must
learn to see each other’s desires as our own.
This doesn’t mean that whatever we do, or
don’t do, with money is always right. Neither
does it mean that each spouse has a right to
do whatever he or she pleases with money. It
does mean, however, that couples should
replace judgment with empathy and criticism
with understanding. This actually strengthens
each spouse’s ability to influence the other with
principle-based financial wisdom.