I am always amazed at the power of Scripture, and how it is relevant to every area of our lives. The other day, while listening to a podcast on being married to a spender, a familiar verse popped into my head: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) True, this verse is not talking about money habits but relationships between believers and non-believers. Sometimes, though, when it comes to money we may feel “unequally yoked” in our marriage. Let me explain.
In many marriages, one spouse is a saver and the other a spender. Both have positives and negatives, and being one or the other doesn’t make you better than your husband or wife. Spenders usually live in the moment and don’t worry much about the future. They think, “Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow.” In contrast, savers live for the future, focusing on things to come rather than what they could be doing now. One has more fun; the other has more security.
So, what should you do if you find yourself married to “the opposite”?
Love him or her. First, remember you chose to marry this person along with his or her spending or saving mindset. Don’t regard your spouse in a negative light because of his mindset. Both perspectives have positive and negative aspects. Money is a touchy subject, even for married couples. Statements about saving or spending habits carry a lot of weight, and your spouse can easily feel judged—even accused—if you do not approach money conversations in a way beneficial to everyone.
Talk to one another. If you are married to a spender, chances are you may have trouble making ends meet. If you are married to a saver, you may feel as though you never get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The key is true for every successful marriage—talk to each other. If you feel your spouse’s spending is putting you in a financial bind and making you stressed and worried, telling him or her is the first step. The same is true for the spending spouse who is frustrated by never enjoying God’s financial blessings. Remember, this is a touchy subject, and no one wants to end up sleeping on the couch or sharing the doghouse with Fido, so be respectful and stick to the topic for the conversation.
Find common ground. For spenders, the hardest thing in the world is putting money into the bank and letting it sit. For savers, it is spending money on non-necessary items. How do you get spenders to save and savers to spend? Find common ground and work together. After a candid conversation, you should have a good idea about your spouse’s financial needs and desires. So, fashion a budget that gives a little to both. Rein in spending on smaller items to purchase a bigger item such as a vacation. This allows the spender to enjoy the fruits of his labor while giving the saver some time to prepare for the expense.
Being unequally yoked when it comes to your finances can feel like the tension between a believer and a non-believer, or you can enjoy the harmonious balance of a team working towards the same goal. As a team, pull together to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Having a strong financial plan will always help your marriage, especially when it addresses the needs of both saver and spender.
**Adapted from ONE Magazine