About ten or so years ago God taught me a huge lesson about the role of money in our marriage. At the time we were giving, saving, doing our best to stretch what we had. Still saying no to a lot of things to plan for the future. We both agreed on big picture priorities, but in the little stuff, we valued different things. We still do! Joe likes buying movies. I like buying books. There have been plenty of things over the years that he wanted to buy that I really just rolled my eyes at. You want to get what? I’m sure he thought the same of some of my interests. Except he’s not much of an eye roller.
Remember when the first flat screen TVs started to show up everywhere? Joe’s eye lit up when he saw them in the stores along with lower prices . We already had a pretty big TV in my opinion, but it was a tube and apparently they had improved TVs to be bigger and better and flatter. Was it LCD or LSD or DSP or DLP and why would I want a TV with plasma in it ewwww! Joe tried to explain all the improvements in technology but it made no difference to me. Did our old TV work? Sure. Then there’s no need to replace it. Couldn’t we be using that money for the things I thought were more important?
I knew we had to be careful with what we had so I might have given Joe the stink eye when he started talking about a new TV. Part of that was my pragmatism, knowing that we shouldn’t spend our money foolishly. But more of it was my definition of foolish, which only included things Joe wanted. Funny how that works.
The Lord began teaching me that I couldn’t run all our financial decisions through the lens of just what I thought was right. Or the lens of whether it’s frugal enough, or if I deemed it necessary. What about running it through Philipians 2:4? That verse says, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others – and that includes our spouse! To honor God with our finances meant considering my husband’s interests alongside my own.
Managing money in marriage is not about how do I get my piece of the pie. It’s not we’re fine as long as I get what I want. It is an opportunity to love. To consider your spouse’s needs, wishes, priorities above your own. Laying down your life for your spouse? We all say we would do that. I would die for him!! But hand over the checkbook to them? Ooooh now that’s asking a bit too much!
Back to the TV. At that point I could have stood my ground in saying no way. Then I realized I love my husband. He had consistently said no to so many things in his life to make my life easier. He worked so hard. We had the money saved. I really had no reason not to trust him.
God showed me that this was one way I could bless and serve Joe. Sure, I suppose he could have just gone out and bought one without my permission, but since he didn’t have my approval, he was waiting, not wanting to create any strife between us.
I also realized I will always be slower in adapting the new techno-gadgets, and that if it weren’t for Joe I’d still be listening to all my music on cassette tapes. Sometimes Joe knows exactly what he’s doing! I’m stil amazed at how he knows just how to time out our new tech purchases and not go broke. That’s very difficult to do these days!
The end of the story? So it was right around his birthday that year and God had changed my heart. One morning I just looked at him and said, You need to go get that TV. Partly because I meant it and partly so I could see his reaction! He was shocked that I was so joyfully suggesting this. You’re really okay with this? Yes, go for it! Then after the shock wore off he went out got the TV that he had been looking at for so long. Oh, happy day!
It was awesome to feel that joy from that simple act of saying ‘Do it!” He was so excited setting that baby up. Instead of me sulking in the corner rolling my eyes at his “foolish” purchase, now I could rejoice with him and share his excitement. And what do you know, I really enjoyed watching it too!
We can use our finances to damage or build up our marriage. We can fight for what we deserve or we can approach our finances with an opportunity to love!