“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” (I Timothy 6:10, ESV). This is very true; however, the lack of money is a root of much marital discord. When a person loves money, the pursuit of money consumes them and it causes them to stop at nothing to acquire more wealth. We hear so much about how miserable rich people are that we almost find it noble to avoid acquiring money. This is a misunderstanding of what was meant when the Bible called the “love” of money a root of all kinds of evil. Money is necessary to survive in our culture, and Scripture is full of verses telling us to plan ahead and save. How we treat our money in our teens and twenties will affect us in our thirties, forties and so on.
What does this have to do with my relationship with my boyfriend or girlfriend? EVERYTHING! Money habits are shaped during childhood and, while they can be changed, it takes a great deal of willpower to change them. We usually follow our parents’ modeling on how to deal with money. If our parents were horrible with money, or too restrictive with money, we might dive in the opposite direction. Unless a paradigm shift occurs, how your boyfriend or girlfriend views money now is likely the way he or she will view it for a lifetime. If you are a saver and your potential fiancée likes to spend money as soon as he or she receives it, this WILL be a source of contention in your relationship. If you love to go on an elaborate vacation every year and your significant other thinks this is a waste of money, this WILL be a source of frustration for your relationship. Money fights and money stress are often cited as the number one reason for divorce.
So, how can I look into this area with my boyfriend/girlfriend without taking the fun out of our relationship? Is it not too soon to burden our relationship with financial issues? While talking about money and money habits may not be your number one idea for a fun date night, it will greatly bless your relationship. Finding out your differences and similarities in the area of finance before committing to each other through engagement will save you both a lot of heartache and frustration. If this is an area on which you both cannot agree, it will be imperative to seek counseling or to separate. There are areas of difference in marriage on which you can learn to resolve (e.g., socks on the floor, leaving the toilet seat up, etc.); however, in areas of finance, both of you need to be walking the same path. Both people need to be committed to building a firm financial future for yourselves and your future children. At this stage in your relationship, it would be wise to attend a financial class together. I strongly recommend a local Financial Peace University course. These are usually offered at churches at various times throughout the year. When applied, the information is priceless and it can help you and your potential fiancée plan for the future before the stress of engagement/wedding planning ensues.