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She never imagined it would end like that.
He never saw it coming.
Their marriage began as most do with high hopes and bright dreams, but in a year or so, it was all over.
No, she didn’t begin to flirt with anyone at work.
No, he didn’t ignore her for some flattering woman on the job.
Their divorce started on television.
You see, it was the ‘80's and Cable TV was the craze.
As any good capitalist would do, someone came up with the idea that a 24-hour shopping channel would be a good idea and the Home Shopping Network and QVC was born.
Now I can’t imagine the appeal, but then I can’t stand to shop.
For this wife, however, the appeal was irresistable.
Without her husband knowing it, she ordered a host of “must have” deals.
By the time he found out about her addiction, she had run up over $20,000.00 in credit card debt!
That was a debt their love could not pay, and their marriage quickly ended in divorce.
Now, in this “Dave Ramsey” church, the tendency would be to say something like, “Too bad Financial Peace wasn’t around back then.
If they’d have just listened to Dave, they could have erased that debt and saved their marriage.
Now, I’d be the first one to say that, if they had followed Dave Ramsey’s principles, they could have definitely turned their financial picture around.
But, their problem was not debt, it was something much bigger.
In their book, First Comes Love, Then Comes Money, Scott and Bethany Palmer write:
even couples with perfect budgets and paid-off houses and zero debt still end up arguing about money, angry about money, resentful about money.
Even couples with spotless credit reports can be mired in the kind of financial infidelity that sullies relationships.
Because the budget isn’t the problem; the lack of financial communication is the problem.
They go on to say that the financial problems in our marriages that have the greatest potential to ditch our matrimonial bliss in the sea of divorce is not debt, it is what they call “financial infidelity.”
That was the problem with this couple: It was not the debt that got them, it was the lies and the cover up.
And I would dare say that there is some financial infidelity going on in this room today.
Many of us who would think of lying to our wives about a chick we’re keeping on the side, will lie about check we’re trying to hide.
Many of you ladies wouldn’t think about having a boyfriend your husband doesn’t know about will gladly have a credit card your husband doesn’t know about.
But here’s what you need to know: Financial infidelity can be almost as devastating as sexual infidelity.
Which leads me to this question: Just why is this financial infidelity so common in many marriages?
Well, it’s because we all approach money so differently.
In fact, the Palmer’s point out that there are several different types of money “personalities.”
For some of us, for instance, money means control.
That’s at least one thing that motivates the saver.
That’s what this person is.
He gets a rush from saving and, while they may be disorganized in other parts of their life, they are very organized about money.
They hate credit cards and they will let their car be held together with bailing wire rather than go into debt for another one.
They are savers.
Money for them means control.
And they’re usually married to their exact opposite: The spenders.
For the spender, money means a party!
This person lives for the moment.
Their ultimate thrill is the act of purchasing.
Whether they are spending at a thrift store, or at Saks Fifth Avenue, they just get a rush from the “cha-ching thing.”
They love to buy and they are usually pretty generous, even buying things for other people.
They are spenders.
Money is a party!
And then there are the Security seekers.
For them, money is a blanket . . .
a security blanket, that is.
These people are very, very careful.
When it comes to financial decisions, they dot every “I” and cross every “t” . . .
usually two or three times!
They’re the kind of people you want as the executor of your trust.
They are willing to sacrifice and they pride themselves on planning for every single possible situation that could happen.
They are the “boy scouts” of the financial world: Always prepared!
Well, there are others, but this gives you the idea.
Maybe you see yourself in one of these descriptions.
Here’s the point.
The difference in our different viewpoints about money is the thing that leads us to conflict, and to financial infidelity.
It also may explain why some marriages survive terrible financial circumstances and never fray while others come apart so easily.
It could be that the financial personalities involved have led the couple into financial infidelity and that is almost as hard to overcome as sexual infidelity, especially if it becomes a pattern of behavior.
This is where the Bible can help.
The Scripture has a lot to say about faithfulness and honesty.
One such verse we find in Ephesians 4:25.
The Apostle Paul has gotten to this point in the letter of Ephesians.
He has told them that they could bring glory to God by putting off their flesh and putting on Christ.
To show them what that means in the specifics of their lives, he mentions particular behaviors that evidence the fact that one has truly put on Christ.
The first thing he mentions is in our text.
He says: Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
As husband and wife, that verse should encourage you!
Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is telling us that, even though financial infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce the believer really can avoid the trap.
We can have financial integrity in our marriages, and this little verse gives us the essentials of that integrity.
The first of those essentials is this:
D1: FINANCIAL INTEGRITY REJECTS DISHONESTY
Now to anyone who’s thinking, it’s obvious.
Before you can have integrity, you have to stop the lies.
That’s how 4:25 begins.
It says, Therefore, putting away lying . . .
In more general terms, Paul is saying here that your neighbor deserves the truth from you . . .
as does your spouse.
One commentator says that “to rob (your) neighbor of that right, and thereby of the freedom to respond to the real situation as it is, is to dehumanize him or her.”
Another says it more graphically: “A lie is a stab into the very vitals of the body of Christ.”
You might say, “Well you make it sound so bad, but is that little white lie I told about my spending, or what I simply hid from my partner, is that really such a big deal?”
Well, it really is because it is financial infidelity.
So let’s take a look at our relationships for a moment, shall we?
How do you know whether your marriage is financially honest or under the cloud of financial infidelity.
Well, let me give you four symptoms to look for to tell if you may have an infidelity problem.
Just like sexual infidelity, financial infidelity usually flourishes in a particular kind of environment.
For one thing, when there is a lot of overspending and debt infidelity is much more likely to flourish, especially if both husband and wife are not spenders.
If one is a saver and one is a spender, and the spender is incurring a lot of debt, the resulting conflict may lead to hiding or lying about finances.
But it’s not the only symptom.
Another is financial separation.
There may actually be some bona fide reasons to have separate checking accounts, for instance, but it is often a symptom of financial infidelity.
It often occurs as a compromise.
For instance, when a saver is married to a spender, her need to control and his need to spend will often collide.
When the fireworks are over, they may agree to have separate checking accounts so that the saver can control with out the frustration of her husband who constantly ruins her financial plans.
The spender breathes a sigh of relief because he can spend without his killjoy of a wife ruining his fun.
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