Freedom in Christ is a huge deal for followers of Jesus. Because of his grace, mercy, and the work of Christ on the cross, we are no longer bound to the Law. We are free in Christ!
Freedom also plays a significant role in our finances. We’ve been discussing the danger that financial issues present to marriages. In the U.S. today, more marriages end because of financial strife than any other problem. How can we avoid these monetary pitfalls?
One major way to do so is to pursue financial freedom by avoiding debt. “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts” (Proverbs 22:26, NIV).
While almost all of us end up taking on some kind of debt or another—usually in the form of mortgage payments—debt can be the enemy of financial freedom.
We don’t necessarily believe it is a sin to borrow money, but more and more I’m realizing that too much debt results in bondage. Especially when it comes to non-appreciating items, I feel a Christian’s goal in life should be to pay cash for everything.
When I was younger, I thought borrowing money to get what I wanted right away was worth it as long as I could make the payments. Now I know better. The pressure and bondage of debt just aren’t worth it. Other than my house, I pay cash for everything. If I need something and can’t afford it, I save…and wait.
Doing things this way means being patient, but it result in peace of mind. I don’t owe anyone. I don’t lose money to high interest rates. I’m living within my means.
Avoiding this kind of personal debt will bring so much more peace to your marriage than otherwise, because your marriage is impacted by any decision to go into debt. If couples are currently in debt, I always recommend that they make a plan to get out. Stick with the plan. Pay off your existing debt and start to save for the future.
It may be hard now, but the future will be even more difficult if you don’t take those steps today.
What about others’ debt? Often more established couples will find themselves in a position to co-sign on someone else’s debt. I recommend against this. Not only is the Bible clear that we shouldn’t co-sign debts for others, it’s just a wise financial practice.
Not only can co-signing on a debt put your own money at risk, it can put your relationship at risk, too, should something unforeseen occur. Is the money needed worth that risk? Not often.
Finally, there’s the tricky issue of business partnerships. Having been involved in these myself—and having been exposed to many other partnership situations—I can say without hesitation that they can be dangerous. Unless a partnership allows one person to be in control and sets protective parameters from the very beginning, I’m never surprised when they are unsuccessful.
Many innocent people have lost a lot of money through partnerships—and many marriages have become extremely stressed as a result. An unsuccessful partnership can be painful and financially devastating. I won’t tell you outright to avoid them. But enter into them very carefully, and only with your spouse’s support.
From Congress to the corporate world, our country seems to run on debt, but that doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re in debt, resolve to reduce it in 2012. If you don’t have any debt, keep at it. Thank God for your financial freedom, and work hard to maintain it!
Either way, your marriage will thank you for it.