As Marriage Coaches, we’ve lost count of how many times we’ve either read or heard the misquoted saying, “Money is the root of all evil!”
Is money really the root of evil? Does money, proclaimed so loudly, the driving force that tears apart so many marriages as they say? Is money really a key factor in dividing marriages across America?
Well, before we answer all of this, let’s take a closer look at the famous misquotation to get a better understanding of just how money plays a role in marriage.
The saying comes from the bible verse in 1st Timothy 6:10 which actually says ,
“The love of money is the root of all evil…”
There you have it – it’s the “love of money” which is the root of all evil, not “money” itself, but the “love of money.” Whether you’re religious or not, this understanding, this clarification that money is not the real issue, but how you handle the money and where its priority is in your marriage…. this changes everything.
Money is not the issue
So we see that money that’s the issue, but the pursuit, desire and love for it that causes the problems. We can just as easily address the money-based conflicts within a marriage much the same way. It’s not money that causes conflicts, divorce, separation, arguments, etc…. it’s the love of money – or dare we say; the priority of money – that literally switches the importance and focus off the spouse where it rightfully should be, onto the money and what it can produce.
Obviously, money makes the world go around. And yes, the more money you have, the easier it is to take care of the needs that are a part of our everyday life. Nevertheless, we can learn a lot from couples that have very little money, yet they are happy – and from couples that seem to have it all, yet are living in two different worlds, with no intimacy, trust or friendship on the verge of divorce. Point is, is that money is the neutral object; it’s when the focus of the marriage shifts from the spouse to money that the decline of that marriage becomes prevalent.
Don’t let money rule your relationship
According to CESI Debt Solutions, approximately 80% of all couples interviewed had lied to their partner about money topics. (80 Percent of Married Couples Lie About Their Spending)
Adding insult to injury, according to a NEFE/Forbes study as found on SmartMoney.com, nearly half of all couples hide money from their spouse. Somehow, we still get responses of how couples clearly don’t understand how mistrust, distance and constant suspicions permeate the marriages in our Nation. Amazing. (SmartMoney – 10 Things Your Spouse Won’t Tell You)
There is more than an abundance of facts to substantiate how couples have allowed money to rule their relationship and thus allowing lies, deceit and an overall lack of trust to widen their already dissolving marriage. The end result is almost always a negative one – separation and divorce.
It’s not having money that’s a problem for couples – it’s when money has a couple.
Prioritize and Manage
It’s a balance. While money cannot buy you love, love alone cannot pay your rent, food and basic living expenses. So do we just live in broken down shacks, scavenging top ramen crumbs for dinner? No, but on the other extreme, do we sacrifice our closeness and love for each other simply to dine on Filet-Mignon and Lobster tails in butter sauce? Neither! It’s a matter of prioritization and management.
An unknown source said this: “Money will buy a bed but not sleep, books but not brains, food but not appetite, finery but not beauty, medicine but not health, luxury but not culture, amusement but not happiness.”
If marriage and relationship is priority over money, then money will sustain and prosper that relationship.
If money is priority over money, then it will multiply the problems and cracks in the relationship already present until that very relationship has no more foundation to stand on.
Money’s erosion of the marriage
We must be very careful not to let the hardship that pursing money has on our relationship. When we see couples that have both spouses working, barely making time to spend together, let alone “quality” time, we often wonder just how long it will take that couple to see where they’re headed.
I know a few couples right now that seem to have it all. From new cars, to iPads and iPods, to brand new Eco cars, to top-of-the-line Mac Laptops, etc. You name it and they have it. Yet both the husband and wife must work full time, and even some of these people I know are going to school full time! When do they have time to spend with each other??
They, like untold couples, are slowly being worn down and worn out. It’s only a matter of time before all their energy is completely gone.
We ask, “When do these types of couples spend any time together?” Is it in bed at the end of a long day, when the ONLY thing they are thinking about is plopping on the pillow and trying to get some rest for the next long, marriage-killing day?
We encourage every couple living in this economic-based marriage, to re-evaluate what your priorities are. Is it work, success, things and possessions, acknowledgements, etc? Or is your main focus your spouse and your marriage?
Let’s take to heart that money is not, should not, be they key issue… but learning how to best love your spouse. As Money.Com’s article “Marriage and Money” very clearly points out when addressing money problems in your marriage, “Attack the relationship issue.”
In other words, don’t focus and look at money being the issue – see what is going on deep within both in the relationship. You may find unresolved hurts, issues, past fears, broken promises, shattered expectations and deep disappointments that are your real triggers to all those arguments and fights. And money – well, money seems to be a nice, surface scapegoat only bantering the deeper issues.
Whatever the case, you can do it!