charitable giving

Blending Your (Money) Personalities

by mike on March 27, 2010

Don’t you love the saying “opposites attract”.  This usually is the case in marriages.  If both spouses were exactly the same, marriage would be extremely boring.  Unfortunately, many couples allow these differences to become a problem in their marriage.  You get irritated with your spouse when they don’t get things done the way you want them done.  Sometimes it is just a matter of perspective.  When you look at it as if you both are complimentary of each other, then you can appreciate the differences.  Two become one when you marry.  So, the combination of the good and the bad characteristics of each spouse should make for a perfect blend of a “person”.

Characteristics, habits, and personalities are usually well established for each spouse heading into a marriage.  The same is true for how each spouse handles money.  Blending all of these things into one is the beauty of marriage.  The cool thing is you can tell a lot about your spouse’s personality just by looking at how they handle their money.  As you learn to blend your money together as a couple, you will begin to learn how to blend your personalities together as well.  Let’s take a look at some examples.

1.     You give a decent percentage of your income to your church and/or charity. This is an obvious sign of someone who is a giving person.  You will tend to be giving in all areas of your life.  You give of your time to your church or to people who are in need.  You generally tend to think of others first.  This is obviously a great quality to have as a spouse, a parent, or a friend.

2.     You think it is a giant waste to give your hard-earned money to someone else. “Look at all of this money we are giving to church, we could go on one or two nice vacations with that money”.  If this is your attitude, chances are you are generally egotistical.  Everything centers around you.  I will be honest, it is very hard to be a good spouse when you view things through the lens of “what’s in it for me”.  I encourage you to do some soul searching about who you put first in your life.

3.     You are very detailed and organized with your money. If this is you, my guess is that your house is always immaculate as well.  Everything is folded very neat in your drawers.  There is a proper place for everything and that is exactly where you will always find it.  The house is always tidy and clean because that is just how it is supposed to be.

4.     You’ve never heard of the word budget and you wouldn’t even know where to begin to balance your checkbook. This is the opposite of the previous one.  Chances are, your house is not so tidy.  You have better things to do than worry about everything being so perfect.  You believe people who are so detail-oriented and organized need to loosen up a bit.

5.     You spend (or save) money and don’t tell your spouse. This is a very serious indication of a problem.  The bottom line is that you don’t trust your spouse.  You very well might have a good reason not to, but this is a marriage issue that must be addressed.  If you feel like you have to sneak around stores buying things so your spouse doesn’t find out you got a new pair of jeans, there’s a good chance you feel like you have to sneak around about other things.  It’s impossible to have true intimacy when you keep things from each other.  It doesn’t matter who’s “fault” it is for creating this type of atmosphere in the marriage, the important part is to see a good marriage counselor to get it straightened out.

I could go on and on giving examples of the parallel between how you handle money and how you handle other areas of your life.  The point is to pay attention to this.  Larry Burkett, a well known Christian finance author, says “God uses money in a Christian marriage to show us our strengths and weaknesses and to teach us to more fully depend on Him”.  That is the key.  Once you start turning over every aspect of your life to God, including money, you can begin to find peace.  The best way to start doing that is by learning what God has to say about money.

There are numerous references to money in the Bible, so I encourage you to explore.  The final thing I have to say about this topic is that it is your choice to view your differences with your spouse as combative or complimentary.  In other words, instead of thinking “she is constantly nagging me to keep things picked up” you may think “without her, our house would be a mess.”    Another example would be instead of thinking “he never lets us buy anything fun” you may think “without him, we would have no money in savings”.  YOU have the power to create unity and harmony in your marriage.  It may just be as simple as accepting you and your spouse’s differences as complimentary to each other.