15. O, Those Double-Edged Swords!

“Good things happen
 when you get your priorities straight.”
— Scott Caan

 

I seriously doubt that  there is a couple anywhere in the world that has not struggled with financial priorities. Especially when they were first married, and even if they have separate bank accounts.

I generously dole out those words of wisdom from the perspective of one who has had personal experience with a marriage on the rocks over money. Our marriage was rocky for decades for a variety of reasons. However, because I had relied completely on my spouse for my keep from Day One, I’d never taken the initiative to establish any alternative source of income or personal credit.

So, around our thirtieth anniversary — soon after we had the good fortune of selling our home of twenty-five years, not long before the housing bubble burst in 2008 — I made the precarious decision to write myself a hefty check and deposit it into a bank account in my name only. (To be clear, this is not an action that I recommend — especially if you’re not completely prepared for a full-fledged volcanic eruption to spew ash, debris, and quite possibly hot magma all over the relationship you’ve been building for decades with your “better half.”)

And so … shortly thereafter, I found myself seated in the office of a highly esteemed marriage counselor – not on the same couch as my husband. I will skip over the details so that I will not end up in that office once again. Suffice it to say, after only two sessions, it became evident to each of us where our individual priorities needed to be adjusted.

Our daughter later asked me, “Would you really divorce Dad?” To which I responded, “Just look at those blue eyes, and don’t ask me that again.”

In the aftermath of all that, Chuck and I began to see eye to eye – shocking but true – on many disputed areas of life, but particularly on financial priorities. And as a result, we’ve seen some really good things happen.

One of those good things came in the form of a Facebook message from a young man in Kenya named Paul. I was careful to vet the “facts” he presented to me over the next many months because I was aware that African men have been known to prey on American women, hoping for gifts of money or help with immigration to the United States.

After communicating with Paul for nearly a year, I became convinced that his heart for God was sincere. So when he began sharing with me his desire to carry the gospel to people in neighboring Uganda and Rwanda who had never heard about Jesus, I wanted to help financially to make the trip possible.

However, I didn’t want to invite conflict into my newly remodeled marriage. I needed to consult with Chuck about supporting Paul’s evangelical ambitions. So I prayed that the Spirit would go ahead of me and prepare the way. And after an anticipated lecture on the foolishness of trusting someone I’d met on the Internet, my husband calmed down enough for me to explain what I knew about my Kenyan acquaintance. With our assistance, Paul experienced a productive mission adventure to Rwanda in the spring of 2012.

Since then, I notice that my thinking has evolved, and my conscience plays in to an even greater degree when I’m shopping. I’m more aware of what’s actually necessary in life, as opposed to what I simply desire. When I’m buying food or clothing or gifts, I find myself factoring in Paul’s needs and his “impossible dreams” to spread the Good News in service to our Lord.

As Chuck and I get better at partnering to establish balanced financial priorities, we can be sure that if we act according to His will, our God will throw open the floodgates of heaven to enable us to bless others in His Name.

 

“Take … the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.”

(Ephesians 6:17)

 

A RUST REMOVER …

 “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” (Malachi 3:10)