Is lack or abundance harder on a marriage?
In a culture often preoccupied with material pursuits and the accumulation of wealth, the timeless teachings of the Bible remind us of the true treasures that shape a thriving marriage. Guided by our social media audience and our knowledge of the Word of God, we will navigate the complexities of lack and abundance as it pertains to marriage (and even those not married!). During this episode, we will examine the impact of financial challenges and even financial blessings on the marital union, where we will be seeking a deeper understanding of how a Biblical worldview can shed light on the path to a resilient and harmonious marriage.
How Does Lack Create Problems in a Marriage?
Lack creates problems because you’re always “working”, and seemingly never able to get ahead.
- You’re not able to spend time working on the marriage, because you’re always working your job, or another part-time job.
- You may not spend time working on your relationship with God, which will impact your walk with the Lord and ALSO…your marriage.
- Lack creates a fear that you may not have enough, and may even propel you toward discontentment with what you have (always wanting more or better).
When you don’t have enough resources to meet all of the competing priorities, there is a high potential that conflict will arise when there is a discussion between spouses about which financial priorities to fund. Because of these competing priorities, and lack of unity (see last episode), there can be a very real sense of hopelessness. For example, listen to one of our social media responses…
- “My wife and I currently rent. We have saved for years to buy a house, but costs keep going up and so do interest rates. It doesn’t seem like we will ever get there. I am impatient and want to just jump into something. But my wife wants us to be patient and wait. It feels like life has left us behind, in a sense, and we will never get there. How are we supposed to save another $20k for a house downpayment when we can barely save $200 per month? We talk a lot about this. We don’t fight. But there is a significant tension between us.”
A sense of hopelessness can do one of two things. It can take your eyes off of Christ, and lead your marriage into a downward spiral. Or, it can create a greater dependency on the Lord for supplying your daily needs (give us this day our daily bread…) and it can also forge a unified bond together with your spouse which will cause you to link arms and rally like no one ever has before.
Another one of our responses was this one…
- “The problem that seems to be growing in us younger people is what “lack” consists of. A lot of them want to live beyond their means despite having everything they need. If they can’t go out and do everything they want, then they consider that “lack” despite it being abundance.”
How insightful! Their “lack” (and I say that in air-quotes) may be due to what they see around them through marketing, social media, peers and family. Their issue is a perception problem, along with what we call in our Life Institute Stewardship Lifestyle Seminar, misplaced priorities! Their processing is about the things, the experiences, how they are being viewed. They have it all and they spend it all (plus some on credit/debt), but they want more because of what they see around them!
How Do You Live with Lack as a couple?
Band together as a couple, and let this fire forge the two of you even closer together.
- “In times of lack, we rally together and work together. It might be hand to plow, but we find comfort in each other. Lack is more stressful. But in that fire your bond can be forged.” (Jon Lorbacher)
When these challenging financial times come upon you, it is critical that you don’t view your spouse as competition, or as someone that eats up your resources
- By doing this, you make them your enemy.
- Instead, lean on them.
- Find comfort in your spouse.
- Be intentional about working together to take your next steps.
- Pray together!!!
- Remember, the two shall become one!
Figure out what is real and what is perceived.
- Not all “lack” is really lacking! Don’t compare your financial situation to that of social media influencers, neighbors, family members and people at church. Many of us perceive our lack of abundance as “lack” even though God has RICHLY provided for all of our needs…ABUNDANTLY!
Remember to pray: “Lord, give us this day our daily bread” and trust Him to be faithful to this promise:
- Matt. 6:26 – “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
How Does Abundance Create Problems in a Marriage?
Distractions that take you away from your spouse! Listen to what Jon Lorbacher, who we quoted earlier from his online response to one of our questions said about abundance:
- “Honestly abundance can be more sinisterly dangerous. During times of abundance it is far easier to become complacent and begin finding pleasure in distractions apart from each other. Meanwhile abundance lacks stress, but it can open the door for boredom. And just like how our immune systems can become dangerous to us when there’s nothing to fight off, we can become dangerous to ourselves with nothing to work together on.” (Jon Lorbacher)
Abundance brings about a whole new level of challenges that very, very easily polarize a couple toward independence instead of marital unity!
How Do You Live with Abundance as a couple?
We hear this often, that budgets are for those who don’t have enough money. The thinking is once you have abundance, you no longer need a budget. WHAT A misconception! Abundance can clearly lead you to money problems and conflict in your marriage. Choosing to have a unified budget, a spending plan that actually works and lays out your combined priorities and plans for the resources that God has given you. THIS is GOOD stewardship! Usually when people have abundance, they get SLOPPY with their finances. What does this mean?
- They are frivolous with what they have…
- They don’t think through purchases
- They tend to fulfill pleasures, wants and desires long before processing Kingdom priorities and needs
Choosing to live on a budget, specifically when God blesses with abundance, is a WONDERFUL and INTENTIONAL way of setting up artificial constraints on your spending. A budget allows you to plan and send your money where you want it to go, instead of looking back to see where it went!
Why do you need artificial constraints?
- Human tendency is, if I have it, I will spend it!
- Increasing our giving amount requires intentionality and forethought.
- Sacrificial giving is something that should not just be the whim of a moment.
- Luxuries, toys and trinkets!If we spend too much of our income on luxuries, toys, and trinkets, we tend to become more self-focused.
- Saving for retirement and future expenses.
- You can’t count on earthly abundance lasting forever.
- Remember that phrase…The grass isn’t always greener on the other side? Well, it is true! If you think it is, you may be trading one set of problems for another, instead of choosing to live by some solid Biblical stewardship principles with either lack or abundance.
- Remember that there is great truth to these two statements:
- The danger of lack is killing the body.
- The real danger with abundance is killing the soul (Mark 8:36)
- Remember this great quote by Pastor, author and conference speaker Randy Alcorn:
- “God doesn’t prosper you to increase your standard of living, but to increase your standard of giving.”
- Remember Matt. 6:20 which says:
- “Lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven…” We have only this short life to use what God has entrusted to us to make an impact for eternity in the lives of others, and also our personal heavenly rewards!
- One final thought:
- Remember that all the people in heaven, those now, and those that will be there in the future, including us…we were all impoverished sinners! Their only entrance requirement into heaven is this…they had to be made rich by the inheritance of Jesus Christ, through the forgiveness of their sins paid for by His precious blood that was shed at Calvary.
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