Couples, stop fighting about money! Disputes will arise in your marriage that you attribute to money. But, you know it’s never about money, it’s about lifestyle choices that lead to spending. If you follow this dispute resolution process, by God’s grace, you will stop fighting about money.
How to Stop Fighting About Money
How do you solve conflicts in your marriage? Without the Holy Spirit, and a procedure to resort to when disputes arise, he or she who is strongest will win the fight. That’s why a big challenge in a marriage is to get a mutually acceptable, working, dispute resolution procedure. Ideally, you would discuss and decide this process during premarital counselling.
I am not talking about pre-set solutions to pre-set problems. I am referring to a pre-set procedure to discuss disputes; a procedure rooted in individual relationships with Jesus. A process the parties accept with its imperfections. And most of all, a procedure they have enough confidence in, to accept its results!
What does the Bible tell us? It says in 1 Corinthians 6:1, “When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints?” This passage sums it up well. Believers, we need to settle our conflicts using Bible guidelines, under God’s direction, not with lawyers or courts. Still, you might need a trusted biblical counsellor to help walk you through this challenge.
As well, husbands and wives, calm down, heed the wisdom in these verses:
- He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29).
- A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute (Proverbs 15:18).
- This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19).
A Dispute Resolution Process will Cause you to Stop Fighting About Money
Before deciding on a dispute resolution procedure, husband and wife should affirm these important marriage fundamentals:
- First, accept God’s goal for marriage—its permanence.
- Second, accept the role God gave each of you: the man is the servant leader—the wife his helpmate who accepts His leadership except if he asks her to sin.
- Third, agree you can solve problems under God’s directions.
- Fourth, have realistic expectations; know disputes will arise.
- Fifth, when you argue and fight, agree you won’t behave unhealthy, calling names and shutting down communication.
After, ask God to show you a dispute resolution procedure. Meanwhile, husband and wife, mull over these points I think each dispute resolution system should contain:
- Accept Jesus as head of your life and marriage.
- Agree to solve disputes under God’s direction only. Alone or with trusted Christian help—biblical counsellor—talk about what needs fixing, and work to fix it under God’s direction and timing. It might need time; by God’s grace, you have time.
- If you can’t agree, remember, sometimes one of you must decide. And no decision is a decision.
Suppose your automobile needs changing; you (the wife) agree you need a vehicle, but your husband wants to borrow to upgrade the car, and you don’t. You know you can sell the current automobile and buy a similar one without borrowing. How do you decide? Borrowing will strain the marriage because you, the wife, disagrees. Not borrowing will strain the marriage because your husband disagrees. But husband and wife agree you need to decide.
The husband as the biblical head of the household should listen, hear, and feel his wife’s comments. He should look to see if his approach goes against Bible teachings. Husband and wife should pray and fast to seek God’s direction. Each circumstance is different, but each person should look to the Bible for solutions. Sometimes a trusted third party can show the couple the Bible’s counsel on the matter.
Doing Nothing Won’t Stop Fighting About Money
Still, try not to decide by doing nothing and stash away emotional hurts that will explode later. After the decision, give it to the Lord and try not to pout but accept the results. If one party doesn’t like it, agree she has two choices. One, ask God to show her truth when she thinks the husband is wrong. Two, ask God to show him truth, so if biased, he can see God’s truth.
It’s essential to set aside time to deal with disputes and time to have fun; they don’t mix—this can be hard for guys like me who are fixers.
Could a procedure with those points work for you? It could, but if it doesn’t, it might get you talking and not shouting at each other. Each couple needs to ask God to guide him and her to His procedure and solution for him and her.
Sometimes couples agree their dispute resolution procedure is to see a named biblical counselor, a trusted, mature Christian couple, their pastor or another pastor. Still, I repeat, every marriage needs a pre-agreed dispute resolution procedure that’s rooted in Jesus. Conflicts will arise, and without a pre-agreed procedure, you will deal with them the natural ways—fighting, withdrawing, or another unhealthy way; why not choose God’s path?
In every case, the procedure needs love, patience, gentleness, grace, mercy, humility, respect, and each party’s willingness to let go of his or her rights while clinging to Jesus.
Couples mull over the essence of biblical love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
For more on this topic, read chapter 12, The New Managing God’s Money-The Basics.
(c) 2007, 2017 Michel A Bell