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After doing some research this past week, it confirmed again that Christians are not exempt from separation and/or divorce. Recent stats put the divorce rate for Christians at 33% of all marriages represented.  Taking a look outside of the church, yet staying in the United States, the USA has the sixth highest divorce rate in the world, with 40% to 50% of married couples filing for a divorce (

Though I am glad that the stat in the church is lower by 10-20%, it still is a staggering number to look at!

There are a myriad of factors that lead up to separation and/or divorce in a marriage. Money is one of the major reasons for divorce.  In most of the recent studies, money lands in the top three reasons for divorce, and the other two reasons include communication and infidelity. As we have said in past episodes, personal financial education from either a secular or Biblical viewpoint, or from an educational institution or the home is minimal at best. But what we find is that many people aren’t educated at all.

This lack of education/training lends heavily in the mismanagement of one’s personal finances when they get older, which spills over into their marriage.  It sadly lays the groundwork for money challenges, issues and conflicts in their marriage.

Here at the Stewardology Podcast we think marriage is important!  Why?  Because God says marriage is important!  And as mentioned moments ago, money issues are one of the biggest killers in all marriages today.  In this episode, we will discuss how to navigate money conflicts in marriage.


Examples of Money Conflicts in Marriage

None of the following examples include any form of moral judgments. Know that it is not wrong or sinful to be a saver or a spender. However, note that there can be both healthy saver/spenders, and also unhealthy saver/spenders! Whether you are married or not, most money problems, at their root, have nothing to do with money!  What it is, is a heart issue. The way we prioritize and spend the money that God puts into our care ultimately reveals what we love and value most. 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1–3, NIV84)

Our fights and quarrels (either internal wrestling or arguing with a spouse) come from our:

  • Wants (longing for something)
  • Desires (intense feeling of want)
  • Wrong motives
  • Self-satisfaction (ME focused)

Real Life Stories

  • My wife is a spender, while I am a saver. I’m the one who has the job of watching all the accounts, paying the bills, and the budget. I don’t enjoy it. But my wife doesn’t want to do it and it would be very hard for her. Sometimes I come off as the “enforcer” and it can cause problems. 
  • I am definitely unaware of how much money I spend sometimes, and my wife calls me out on it. I appreciate her for that.
  • I eat out all the time, and my husband does not. I’m really bad at it. But that is a source of our money disagreements
  • He doesn’t want to budget, and I think we should.

In the above stories and examples, we see a handful of money “personality types” in marriages.  Let’s take a look at how the “money personality” of a spouse can influence and impact a marriage.  


Saver & Spender

  • Just because one is a saver and one is a spender does not mean that there are misaligned priorities. 
    • A couple can have the right priorities, and our spouse can keep us accountable. 
    • This is probably the most common pairing in a marriage. 
    • A Saver & Spender pairing can balance each other out!
    • If they do not work together, there can be great tension between the two. 
  • Dangers: Misaligned financial priorities in marriage almost always will result in much tension and conflict and potentially a shut down in communication. 
  • Advice: Listen…even consider actively listening (repeat what they say)…to the concerns of your spouse!
    • Talk through the differences and consider both making necessary compromises to get yourself back on a stable footing so that you are doing both the saving and the spending on necessities. Consider doing these talks OUTSIDE of your disagreements. Plan a time to talk (in public) about money matters so that you will discuss, and not argue (typically you would not argue in public).

Saver & Saver

  • While both spouses being savers can be a healthy thing, it can be a conflict when both spouses don’t agree on what “true necessities” are.
  • Dangers: Spouses can become so frugal that they cannot enjoy the life that God has given them. 
    • It can also create conflict if you are so saver-focused that you can’t give, or that you don’t invest in the appropriate needs of your home, future, and family. 
  • Advice: Don’t be so focused on saving for the future that you forget to enjoy life now!
    • Take care of the necessities for your family and household.


Spender & Spender

  • This happens when spouses are so focused on living for the ‘now’ that they spend everything…for today…specifically today’s wants, today’s needs and whatever experiences they would like to indulge in.
  • The Dangers: More often than not, from what we have seen in our nation-wide seminars with the Life Institute, this “spender-spender” couple usually leads to consumer debt..
    • Consumer debt, on the day of recording this episode, in America, just hit 1 Trillion dollars collectively!  An all-time high!
    • Consumer debt WILL lower a family’s standing of living in the future. 
    • The focus on the “here and now” will result in a failure to prioritize and plan for future expenses.
  • Advice: Slow down! 
    • Get your budget working so you can prepare for the future. 
    • Listen to our “stewardship framework” on our website and also our mini-series on budgeting. (ADD LINKS)
    • Possibly get some help from a friend, financial counselor or Pastor


Believer & Unbeliever

  • If spiritually, you and your spouse are not on the same page, it may create conflict when they don’t understand your desire/need to tithe, or participate in other charitable giving. They may not value and prioritize long term planning over living for today. 
  • Danger: The “believing” spouse does not have a higher authority to make financial decisions than the other (unbelieving) spouse. The danger arises because one may think that they have a superior position due to their biblical beliefs.  When it comes to money conflicts, they may be very difficult to resolve, if at all. 
  • Advice: The beauty of Biblical wisdom is that it is obviously true regardless of one’s spiritual state. 
    • One can discuss and debate their spouse through the usage of logic, and from the word of God, so that they can move toward the correct course of action with regard to unified spending and financial habits.


Misaligned priorities (Someone who lives for the now, and someone who lives for the future)

  • This “couple’s personality” is similar yet a little different from the ones we already mentioned.This is not, first and foremost, a financial problem. It is a heart problem. 
    • When one spouse is living for themselves, as opposed to living for their spouse & family, misaligned priorities are exposed and can lead to conflict.  
    • Sadly, the financial result is a symptom of a bigger problem. As we mentioned earlier in the beginning of this episode, how you and I prioritize our money reveals our ultimate allegiances and our true “god.”
  • Dangers: The family could go unprovided for, and there is constant unresolved conflict. There could be bitterness or resentment in the marriage and a sense of hopelessness. 
  • Advice: Get marriage counseling, and get on the same page in your marriage first!
    • Work toward having an understanding of what you’re doing, and where you’re going. 
    • If you’re dealing with a spouse who is refusing to be helped, the other spouse has to be as respectful, responsible and resourceful with the money they have any area of control of. 
    • Seek the help of others and get the church involved if possible.


How to Navigate Money Conflicts


  • Paul Miller – We do our best parenting through prayer…
  • Ultimately, you can’t change the heart of your spouse. That is a God level issue. Only he can change someone’s heart. So we pray for God to change our hearts and the hearts of our spouses. 
  • Make prayer a daily routine, and enlist others to pray for you on this issue. 
  • Pray that God would open the eyes of you and your spouse. God needs to work on you too!


  • There NEEDS to be communication.
  • This is not “arguing” but real, genuine talking through things!
  • Do it over time…not an “all at once…and solved” situation.
  • Respect your spouse…speak well, and listen well…and ask questions for clarification!


  • For many today, this is an offensive word (but it is not so in the word of God). If you look through various translations, there are over 60 times (translation dependent) where we see the English word “submit”.  
  • First, one ought to submit YOURSELF to the Lord
  • Second, one ought to submit their marriage to the Lord.
  • If you have done the above, do it again, and even again after that!
  • Remember, you are married. If you are a Believer, do not seek to be separated from your spouse. Submit to God in this reality of your life. God has promised to take care of you, whether you have an ample savings account or not, trust him, submit to him.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26, NIV84)


  • Rest in the Lord. God sees your conflict. He knows it, He is there with you in your situation, and he is not far away! Lean on Him. 

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV84)


How to Make Money Decisions in Marriage

The consequences of financial decisions impact the whole family, not just you…

  1. As we mentioned earlier, filter your financial decisions through the 5 Biblical Financial Priorities.
  2. Make sure your financial decisions fit within your budget and your current cash flow. 
  3. If you and your spouse are not in complete agreement, apply the “Red, Yellow, Green Light” framework. 
  4. When decisions involve debt, make sure there is a reasonable, actionable, short-term plan to repay your debt in full. If you are in a money-triage situation, do everything you can to NOT go further into debt. 
  5. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, honor the weaker conscience.


Stewardship Application

  • When trying to navigate money conflicts in your marriage, remember to love and respect your spouse. Don’t make them out to be the villain in your marriage!  When you got married, you likely made a vow “for better or worse.” 
  • Make your decisions for the better…for both of you and your family
  • Strive for unity…be on the same page. Strive for unity. 
    • Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, NIV84)
    • A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV84)
  • If you are in a financial triage situation, let this financial “fire” forge a bond between you and your spouse. You two will have to band together, rally together, and take your next steps TOGETHER to move forward.  Don’t let this conflict divide you. Instead, let it make you stronger.


Consider the following helpful resources:


Next Steps


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