My wife is really different than me. She is outgoing, a get-things-done-now driver, and loves to save money. I’m more reserved, prefer to take my time with decisions, and love to spend money.
Despite our different personality types, we really don’t argue about a whole lot because we have so much in common.
Both of us have a relationship with God that rests at the core of how we relate to one another. We both enjoy the outdoors and the same type of foods. We hold to similar views on politics, education, child rearing, and who our friends will be.
And, because we learned that statistics say a leading cause of divorce in America is financial related issues, we made sure to establish guidelines and parameters for our finances that met my needs, her needs and the needs of our children.
When Two Walk Together
I mentioned in part one, that relationships are financial dream killers but fortunately, they don’t have to be. There is a formula for finding relational peace and it’s found in the Bible.
Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” If we are to foster relational success we must be agreed with others on life issues. We have to be able to get on the same page with the other people in our life circle. Only when there is agreement and harmony between two people can they successfully move forward together.
So the tough question is, “How do we get on the same page with people?” While not an exhaustive list, here’s a few ideas:
1. Get right with God first. Our relationship with others will not mature and evolve properly if we are out of sink with God. We need to understand who He is, why He created us and how we can best serve Him. For the purposes of this blog, we need to know His thoughts about money and how we are to properly use the resources He has given us.
2. Establish appropriate boundaries with others (and for yourself). My dogs have a boundary around the house – it’s called the invisible fence. The device sends out a circular signal that defines the perimeter of their wandering area. When they approach within five feet of the boundary, a beep goes off on their collar basically saying, “WARNING, WARNING, you are about to experience something unpleasant if you go any further!” The boundary defines for them where they can and cannot go, what area of the yard they own and what area they do not.
Humans have boundaries too. The problem for us is that we don’t know how to appropriately set these boundaries and feel good about it. We want people to like us, so we go along with their ideas. We want to make ourselves feel good, so we buy whatever we want, whenever we want. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or get them upset so we look the other way. We want to show our boss we are a team player so we don’t raise questions about anything in meetings.
Boundaries help define us and how well or poorly we relate to other people. They establish what is our responsibility and what is not. They are very complex and, as Dr. Henry Cloud says in his must-read book Boundaries, “they define what is me and what is not me…[it] shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom…[and] taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options.”
3. Work at them. Most people want their relationships to develop without putting in the effort to make them successful. The reality is that quality relationships demand a time commitment. They require sacrifice, understanding and a loving spirit. You have to actually talk through issues with your spouse, relatives, friends or coworkers. You may experience some short term emotional pain in this process, but the long term benefits will be worth it.
Bottom line is that when we win in relationships we win with our personal finances.
Have you ever had difficulty creating relationship boundaries? How has your relational success helped propel your financial success?