My husband and I have a lot in common, but we also have a WHOLE lot of differences. When it comes to money, we are complete opposites. Help!
Dear Financial Opposites,
You have asked the right person about this challenge! My wife and I are as different as a pit bull and a poodle. Yet, we have worked hard at turning this into an advantage!
Created 180° opposite
I am an extrovert while Ann is an introvert. I like to talk. Ann likes to think. I tell her I can talk and think at the same time. That never goes over very well.
I am a big-picture person. Ann wants to know the details. If I tell her I want to do something big or spontaneous, she listens politely then drills me with questions. Do you have a plan? What is it? How much will it cost? This can get on my nerves.
I like to spend. Ann likes to save. Get the picture? Sound familiar?
Financial decisions were hard for us—almost impossible—for years. We were in constant conflict over whether or not to have a budget, much less how to abide by it! We went backward, not forward, whenever we tried to reach financial goals.
Though not unusual, differences can be discouraging and stressful in a marriage. Couples often don’t realize just how different they are until after they say “I do.” I realized that although opposites do in fact attract, they later attack!
Once daily financial decisions have to be made, small issues, like what brand of toothpaste to buy, can become divisive. Differences can cause misunderstandings, friction, and fatigue, which seem to magnify when children arrive.
Change your perspective
Decades into our marriage, it occurred to me that our stark differences were not a liability, problem, or mistake that needed to be fixed. Rather, it was God’s sovereign plan to bring together two very opposite people and make them one because we were incomplete without the other. He designed us to complement one another.
It was then that we began to see our differences as our strengths.
God knew I needed an introvert to place some boundaries around my extroversion; I needed a thinker to temper my desire to talk; and I needed a detailed person to bring reality to some of my hopes and dreams that would never be achieved without a plan. I needed help to perceive the risks and dangers ahead; I needed a compassionate, sensitive person to help me learn to filter my words and think about their impact; and I needed a mate who would balance my desire to give spontaneously without regard for the future, to help me save and make progress in providing for the needs of our family. I would be a mess without Ann!
God knew Ann needed a fearless extrovert to go out and make things happen, to meet new people, and to create new opportunities for our family. She needed a husband eager and willing to talk to resolve our differences instead of retreating into his thoughts. She needed a husband willing to share his dreams and ambitions that she could help shape and improve upon. She needed a husband who would lead, take risks, and dare to do what God called us to attempt together. She needed a man who would complement the areas where she was not gifted.
A 360° marriage
Imagine standing back to back with your spouse. You don’t see the world the same way. Now imagine interlocking arms to become one. As you rotate, one of you looks to the east and the other to the west. You have a complete view of the world, becoming a 360-degree couple. You literally have each other’s backs and can protect and strengthen one another.
“You are each God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). He knows your strengths and weaknesses. Submit to Him, and invite Him into your marriage. Assuming you are united in Christ, then you each bear fruit of the Spirit.
Together, you can become good stewards who depend on one another and God. Pray for character traits like flexibility, forgiveness, adaptability, compromise, kindness, and support to flow from each other.
Let go of the past, and move forward with great hope. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV).
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Seven Gray Swans: Trends that Threaten Our Financial Future. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.