Accountability, For Men, For Women, Money & Finances

3 Ps That Can Poison Your Marriage (Part 1)

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

1: Pennies

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…):

Matthew 6:25-31
“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.

Coming Up: Ps 2 and 3

In my next post I’ll cover the second and third Ps that can poison your marriage. Read on!

Question: Do you find trusting God with your ‘pennies’ difficult?

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  • Desperation is my lot

    All of those things did poison my marriage. Now they are poisoning my ex husband’s marriage with his new wife. Please keep us all in prayer. He made a terrible mistake and now he knows it. I made the mistake of divorcing him.

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  • Dayang Maki

    I am a fiancee, soon to get married to a divorced man. We are so compatible but deep in my heart, and always in my prayers for him to consider his previous marriage for reconciliation so they will live as living witness for their own already adult children whom into relationships now a days. His first marriage was with a divorced woman with 3 children and they got 2 children. Those souls are so precious in the Kingdom of God. The possibility of successful future marriage for their children is higher only when they can run to parents whom passed the ups and downs of marriage. Not to mention here the influence they can make to other families from their circle.

  • Older and hopefully wiser

    If the Lord is leading you to pray for the reconciliation of your fiancee’s previous marriage, then you need to remove yourself from the equation to allow the Lord to work. If there is a third party involved on either side the chance of reconciliation is slim. After my divorce, when I finally decided it was time to make things right with the Lord, He convicted me to try to reconcile my marriage. By that time my ex was involved in a new relationship and not willing to risk that relationship to try to reconcile our marriage. I don’t know if he ever told the then girlfriend now wife of my attempts to reconcile, I feel he probably did not. Later I dated a man who’s ex-wife was engaged to another man. However, she had told someone at the church they had previously attended that she would be willing to break off her engagement if he would be willing to try to reconcile. He confided this in me and stated he wasn’t willing to reconcile. Regardless, I broke off the relationship. If God wanted to work there I was not going to stand in His way. His ex-wife married her fiancée, and never approached him about reconciling. Several months after her wedding we began dating again, and have now been married 9 years.

  • Michael Amlani

    Good article except we got to get away from calling ourselves and other believers “sinners”. Nowhere in the New Testament are Christians called Sinners but rather we are Holy, Righteous, redeemed, a slave of righteousness, part of a royal priesthood, new creations having been crucified with Christ and having a new heart and a new spirit. Let me be clear, this is not self-righteousness but rather Christ’s righteousness imputed into us. The more we understand that our true identity is in Christ, the more we understand the freedom that brings to love the way He loved us. We are citizens of Heaven on mission to radically love.

    Yes we still sin but birth determines identity not our actions. We have been born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit and it’s time we embrace our new identity secured in Christ on the grounds of what He did, not what we do. Sin is a symptom of a fallen world not an identity marker of a chosen and redeemed people

    I highly recommend Andrew Farley’s “Relaxing with God” to understand how we are tangible changed after trusting in Christ. Only then can we enter God’s rest and embrace our spouse and others the way we weren’t mean to.

  • Help needed

    What do you do if your husband isn’t providing for you financially? Gods word tells me that the man is to be the main breadwinner, yet I am the one in our marriage who is bringing in the finances at the moment. My husband set up his business 3 years ago shortly after we were married. He has made no money from it and does not take a wage. We even invested over $20,000 from a property I owned before we were married into the business. He seems to not want to pay the money back or contribute to any of our bills. What do I do? I would very much love your advice. I love my husband, but the money issue is building up much unhealthy resentment in me.