Pennies, perversion, and pride. Selena and I have experienced each ‘poison’ for sure; there’s no getting around it. In fact, each poison tries to rear its ugly head and we’re often engaged in full blown warfare to keep them at bay. They are truly poisonous, they will kill your marriage unless addressed with God’s help. In this post, I’ll discuss our ‘propensity for poison’ and cover the first P. You can read about the other two Ps in Part 2 here.
Our ‘Propensity for Poison’
Why is godly marriage so challenging? Why can’t it just be easier?
We are constantly at odds with God’s epic righteousness because it’s in our fallen nature to sin hard, and sin often (see Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10, and 1 John 1:10 for starters). As someone once said, we are “idol factories” – constantly erecting and worshipping false images in place of the one true God. Sin is our rejection of God and what he commands – our proverbial dethroning of Him in our lives.
It’s tragic how easily we replace God in our lives. When we’re struggling financially, what’s our first reaction? Stress, worry, fear? Or worse, an increased reliance on ourselves that says “I’ll just work harder, then our needs will be met.” Each response completely disregards who our Father is and what he promises, replacing his truth with counterfeit truth – trading in solid gold for cheap plastic.
Ok, so we’re all sinners. Got it. Us being sinners translates into our marriages. Of all the sins that will pollute our marriage, I’ve discovered three that pose the greatest threat.
The Three Ps That Can Poison Your Marriage
Finances is one of the hot-button issues for every married couple – it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, or middle class – if you’re married you will deal with it. We too easily get caught up in the comparison game, or allow fear to amplify hard times. No matter what shape this poison takes in your marriage, it always stems from a misguided view of money and its role in our lives as God’s children and stewards. (Note: money itself isn’t evil, but loving it is. Read 1 Tim 6:10)
We must remember who we are: kids of God. He loves us greatly, and is very busy about the business of drawing us closer to Him. That process may look scary, but if we remember who we belong to, the fears look ridiculous. He tells us not to worry. Please read this passage carefully (don’t just gloss over it like I’m guilty of doing…):
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Selena and I are self-employed – with its inherent uncertainties and volatility. We’ve hit rock bottom financially more than once, I’m sure more challenges will come. It’s like God decided to break us of this idolatry early on! It was tough, but I can attest that trusting God instead of trusting money is much better.
Are “pennies” a poison in your marriage? Do you and your spouse argue about money because of stress or fear? Is money an idol you’ve built? Husbands, do you consider yourself your provider, or is God your ultimate provider? Bold observation (buckle in): if you’re even slightly afraid or stressed out because of finances, you have an idolatry problem. I know from experience… then and now.
The primary reminder we give ourselves of ‘who we work for’ is to have open hands. God owns everything (including us), and what we have, we have because He granted it. By having open hands, He is free to give to or ask us for anything, anytime. As a guy, I often ask myself “if God asked me to clear out all bank accounts, would I do it?” I usually have to repent when my response is hesitant, and I hope that I’ll have the fortitude to obey if/when he requires much from us.