probMoney is one of the leading causes of stress in a marriage. But the idea that a majority of divorces are due to money issues is a myth.
Money is not the cause of your marriage problems or your financial woes. If you suddenly had a windfall of $50,000 or got a $10/hour raise you would still be having marriage (and money) problems. Why? Because money is neutral. The actions of the people with the money are the real problem.
Some couples come to me totally committed to the process of building or rebuilding their finances. Others are less balanced where one spouse is more engaged than the other. In either case, success is possible. When my husband and I had a budget coach, he joined as many sessions as he could but he rarely talked. He was the observer, learning silently.
But when couples will not face and deal with the real reasons for their money woes success becomes harder to achieve.
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You Are the Problem, Not the Money
Finding financial freedom often means taking an honest evaluation of your money situation, your marraige, and yourself. Money is not the root of evil but money can be used for evil and it can feed evil. Don't get stuck on the word “evil.”
You might not be funding a drug cartel or feeding the porn industry with your paycheck but there are plenty of ungodly things you are feeding with your money. These things are the cause of your money problems and the sooner you address them, the better off you'll be. The challenge is recognizing these issue and admitting you have an issue. There's a delicate balance between real financial struggles, like understanding how to create a budget and self-sabotage.
The top six non-money issues killing your budget are:
- Poor communication
- Fear of not having enough
- Extravagant tastes
- Victim Mentality
I see these underlying issues all the time swirling around just below the surface, going undetected by well-meaning couples who are desperate for financial help.
Ungodly Things You're Feeding With Your Money
Poor Communication – How can you truly be one flesh if you're not communicating with each other? Even good things end up bad when there's a lack of communication. You can buy great homeschool resources on sale and he could be grabbing parts to fix the car but if you haven't talked about it first, suddenly two really good things are huge problem because there's no money for the electric bill or worse, you overdraw your checking account.
Fear of Not Having Enough– I know a woman who has enough toilet paper and paper towels to last the next five years. She hordes groceries meaning most of it goes to waste because it ends up outdated, spoiled or rotten. Fear or not having enough is a huge threat to your budget. If you're buying things to soothe a fear you must deal with the root cause so you can gain victory. I too love having a well-stocked pantry but it is not rooted in a fear of lack or due to a childhood trauma.
Selfishness – Humans are selfish. Look at most any group of children. But part of adulting is to put on your big kids pants and realize the world doesn't revolve around you. Wants and needs are often muddled up in the selfish mind. What you think you need is really just a want but selfishness will tell you-you can't live without it.
Insecurity – Are you trying to keep up with the Jone's? Are you worried what other people will think if you if you drop the Country Club membership, stop going to the casino or turn down dining out because it's not in the budget? Insecurity will lead to unnecessary spending so you feel worthy, important or “normal” but it will kill your financial success.
Extravagant Tastes – Extravagant: exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate; absurd. The word extravagant is relative to your financial situation. If your budget is balanced to include luxury items and your meeting other budget requirements there's no harm or shame in enjoying nice things. But if you're struggling to pay the bills and keep the creditors from calling, you should not be renewing that Country Club membership or going on the shopping spree weekend getaway with friends.
Victim Mentality – Not everything is someone else's fault. You must take responsibility for bad choices, poor planning and lack of understanding so you can grow from it. Failures are an opportunity for growth if you own the mistake and move forward. Even if you were the victim of a fraud, scam, lay off or messy divorce, that situation doesn't need to define you. One of my clients went through a divorce that left her with $30,000 in credit card debt. Within six months she had over half of it paid off because she refused to let the debt get the best of her.
You don't have to struggle with your finances, or with these issues. Facing the truth about where you are and where you've been will allow you to see clearly for the future. None of the issues above are insurmountable but they require reflection and a willingness to change in order to be resolved. Ask God to show you if you struggle with any of these underlying issues. Then, see whatever help you need to overcome them.
Find out more about coaching and how it can help you turn your finances around.