6 warning signs that money will tear your marriage apart

Trish Crossley

“Never misspell the word ‘separate,’ again! Look closely, you’ll find a rat right in the middle of the word!!” she shrieked, her face scrunched up while pointing frantically.

By her expression, you'd have thought that pesky little rodent jumped right out in front of her. Mrs. White, my eighth grade English teacher, was tremendous at pointing out the obvious in startling ways.

When it comes to a married couple’s ability to manage money, ‘separate’ is indeed a destructive word with rat-like tendencies. I’ve seen it in places you wouldn’t imagine. Even in my own home, creeping around dusty corners and nibbling at fine valuables when we are not watching. Yuck!

So how do you know if a rat is separating you and your spouse over money?

6 Ways To Spot A Rat In Your Finances

1. Damage: What caused this mess?

Which do you say more often when managing money in your marriage: “I do” or “I don’t”? Matthew 19:6 doesn’t leave any room for doubt as to what God had in mind, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

2. Denial: There can’t be a rat in my house!  

Don’t assume you’re rat-proof. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the marriages that end in divorce within the first 7 years of marriage cite financial stress as the No. 1 contributor.

3. Disdain: If there is a rat around here, you brought it in with you.

Do you feel financially superior to your spouse? It is not a rich marriage if the husband is wealthy and the wife is broke – or visa versa.

4. Division: I’ll join you when you have fixed the rat problem.

Mark 3:25 says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” When the two became one, it included the checkbook.

5. Discord: You get rid of it your way, and I’ll get rid of it the right way.

The “You take care of your business, and I’ll take care of mine” approach to debt repayment may sound logical if we are simply doing math and history. But we are not. We are doing life. In Mark 10:9, Jesus says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

6. Disaster: Who is going to clean this up?

By separating bills and income by who owes what and who earned what, we are separating goals, too. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Get rid of any rats you find by taking one step toward ratifying any tell-tale signs.

Make the decision for non-division in your marriage’s finances. You and your spouse have the potential to be a more powerful couple. Now, go clean house —together!

You can get your finances in order. Visit www.newspring.cc/finances, and we'll help you get started.

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