Throughout our ministry, Karen and I have met people from many walks of life. People with white-collar jobs and blue-collar jobs. People who live in the city and in small towns. People from the United States and people from around the world. Rich people and poor people.
And among all these different types of people, we’ve seen one vivid truth time and again: The amount of money people have is not what makes them happy.
If you ask most married couples if money is key to their happiness, they will probably answer no. That’s what they say. But the way most married couples live contradicts this. Many couples are in financial bondage today for one of two reasons.
The first is that they are ungrateful for what they have, so they’re always wanting more. The second is that they are trying to keep up with society, family, or friends…and they are always wanting more. Advertisers today are experts in luring us to want more than what we have, even if we have to go into debt to attain it.
None of us wants to be totally out of step with the people around us. That’s because we’re human. We’re created for community, which means God designed us to connect with people rather than isolate ourselves from them.
But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to destroy our financial lives in the pursuit of material things, just to fit in with our family and friends.
As Christians—and as husbands and wives committed to building and sustaining a healthy marriage—we must be committed to a lifestyle of contentment, no matter how wealthy or how poor we are.
When couples come to me for counseling and it becomes clear that many of their problems can be traced to poor financial decision-making, we almost always end up talking about contentment. Because couples who are financially content rarely get into financial trouble.
First Timothy 6:8–10 is an instructive passage:
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (NIV).
How easy it is to become a couple “eager for money”! But God’s Word calls us to the opposite position. Contentment doesn’t mean we can’t have dreams or desires for greater things. It does mean that we regularly thank God for His, while waiting for God’s provision and timing. It means being able to rest and be at peace with what we have now.
When this is the case, we know we are safe from the dangers of greed and discontentment. When we cannot or will not submit our desires to God, that’s when we know our financial welfare is in danger.
Loving money is a root of all kinds of evil. It brings pain and suffering into our lives. It can hold us in bondage. It can destroy marriages.
Ask God to help you cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in your marriage, even if you never have more than basic food and provision. Money won’t make you happy and it won’t make your marriage better. Only knowing Jesus and being in His will can do those things.