Married and fighting about money? You are in good company. According to studies, couples fight more about finances than any other issue.
This past weekend we hosted Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott at First Baptist for Fight Night, an event to help couples work on conflict in their marriages. In their book “The Good Fight,” the Parrotts discuss fighting through money by tracing the conflict over finances to 4 Primary Fears. If we can shift the focus of our disagreement from the amount of money we spend on whatever we buy toward the fears that are fueling the fight then we are more likely to arrive at a resolution.
According to the Parrotts, the four fears that impact our conflict over money are:
(1) Your Fear of Not Having Influence in Important Issues Impacting Your Life
If only one person in the relationship controls the purse strings, that person is in charge of more than just money. You will not escape conflict if one spouse is being treated like a child when it comes to managing money.
(2) Your Fear of Not Having Security in Your Future
Very often a spender marries a saver. The saver typically carries a burden about future well-being. His or her anxiety increases when the other person spends money that could be going toward security, inevitably leading to conflict.
(3) Your Fear of Having No Respect Shown For Your Values
Different values will create conflict over money as one person wants to give toward charitable causes or to their church and the other does not. As one resists the other’s desire to give toward a cause, conflict will happen.
(4) Your Fear of Not Realizing Your Dreams
Very often a fight over an amount of money to be spent or invested by one person is connected to some sort of dream or goal of the other person. The money represents a personal dream so the fight over a dollar amount becomes more personal.
By realizing that financial conflict is rarely about money you can turn your attention toward the deeper, more important matters of power, security, values or dreams that is fueling the fight. Focusing on those issues will most likely bring about a resolution in the fight over finances.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Don’t be content with constant arguments over finances; find a way to live at peace in the area of money!