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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When it comes to intimacy, money isn't really all that different from sex.
If you read here much you know that I'm all about couples finding intimacy in every form.

I have heard it said that sex and money are the areas that cause the most marital troubles. I can certainly believe it. Maybe you can testify to this in your own marriage.

While you see a lot attention paid to physical intimacy, you don't see nearly the same kind of focus given to money issues. There are many marriage books, blogs and other resources dedicated to sexual issues in marriage. But if both sex and money are really the top areas where couples struggle, then maybe we need to give financial intimacy a little more attention? Agree?

What is Financial Intimacy?

Intimacy, in whatever form, is about being one. I like to say that intimacy reaches its zenith when we are fully known and still find that we are fully loved.

It's not different when it comes to money.

That means being free to be your true self, without shame or secrets concerning money. And it means being fully loved by your spouse regardless of your financial circumstances. That's not a pass for being financially irresponsible, but it means putting your relationship above money.

Staying intimately connected to your spouse has to matter more than your bank balance.

Next time I'll share some tips on how to improve your financial intimacy, but for today I'd like to give you four reasons why it matters to your marriage.

1) It's Not Really About the Money

As with sexual issues, money troubles in marriage are rarely really about the money. Rather, contention over money tends to be a barometer of other troubles in your relationship.

Discord over money might point to poor communication, lack of trust, control issues or other troubles in your marriage. Money might just be what causes these issues to bubble up to the surface.

Similarly, if you don't have good agreement on how to walk out the biblical notion of headship and submission, that is going to show up in the financial arena as well.

2) Where Control, Fear and Shame Thrive, Love Does Not

As with your sexual relationship, negative feelings about finances tend to be driven by fear or a need for control.

We know that the Bible says that fear and love are antithetical to one another (perfect love casts out fear - 1 John 4:18). If fear is driving your finances, it's likely true that love is not.

Because money is so important to our daily lives, it is easy to slip into control mode. Fear and doubt over money can easily drive us to try to control our spouse in the financial arena. We also might try to control our financial circumstances by working excessively for fear of lack.

Shame over money will drive us to hide things. Hide spending. Hide accounts. Hide desires. Hide fears. Secrets in marriage do damage to your relationship. Money is no exception.

Shame, fear and control all do damage to the intimacy in your marriage. If these things are happening over money, they will more than likely happen over other issues too.

3) Be One In Everything

I believe that when we marry we become one in every way. That includes being one in finances.

If you are living separate financial lives, then there is a cap on the amount of intimacy you can enjoy in the rest of your relationship. When you try to selectively limit your oneness to certain areas of your marriage, you inevitably damage unity and intimacy in other areas. It's all connected.

4) Money is a Biblical Priority

Certainly the Bible talks a lot more about money than about sex. A whole lot more. Jesus himself talked a lot about money.

Money matters to God. More accurately, how you handle money matters to God. And so financial intimacy in your marriage matters too.

So have I convinced you that financial intimacy needs to be a priority in your marriage? 

Be sure to come back next time when I'll explore specific ways to build financial intimacy into your marriage. Click here for 4 Practical Steps to Financial Intimacy.

Until then, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on money and marriage. Do you think financial intimacy is a real thing?

3 comments: said...

What are effective aye to communicate proactively to a husband who gets defensive and turns everything back on me for the financial problems in our marriage? I have done my share of not be honest about how money is spent and I uave asked forgiveness. In the past several months I have asked that we discuss our bills and budget. My husband ignores my request. We are in counseling. My husband sees our marriage as only on paper. said...

Sorry for the typos.. I'm Am on my treadmill.

Scott said...

Bjenn - It's not at all uncommon for a husband to be defensive about finances. In general men are wired to feel the burden of being a provider. When finances are tough, he feels responsible, even if he doesn't verbalize that.

I am glad you are in counseling. It sounds like there are other issues in your relationship that happen to be coming out in the topic of money. My suggestions are to continue to work on your relationship, to be thankful and appreciative toward your husband for his desire to be a good provider, and gently continue to indicate your willingness to work on finances together. And of course, to pray. Pray for provision. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your hearts to be knit together in oneness over your financial issues.

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