Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
“A man’s wealth is measured by what he doesn’t need.” Henry David Thoreau
Two years ago, Craig and I bought a house, an older home in a good school district. We deliberately chose a home that we could support on one salary if necessary, anticipating Craig’s retirement. But in a short time we were grateful that we’d made this choice in our sunny days, not realizing that stormy days were ahead of us. (It’s just part of life, isn’t it?)
Within a year we had faced a number of financial challenges we hadn’t counted on, including the long-term care needs of my parents and my own sudden job loss. We were glad we’d chosen conservatively, and thankful that (with us making a few adjustments) God provided everything we needed — largely through overtime pay for Craig at a job I had once deeply resented, but now had to see as part of God’s plan for us.
In seventeen years of marriage, Craig and I had seen how money — both the possession of it, and the lack thereof — can change relationships, even within families. Some of the most generous and genuinely kindhearted people I’ve ever met were desperately poor. On the other hand, money can also create unnecessary barriers between people, leading to a poverty of spirit that Mother Teresa said is the worst kind of poverty.
Jesus once observed that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Mt 19:24). How we spend our money can strengthen ties within our family and community — or it can build walls of suspicion and distrust.
Talk about it: How do your attitudes about money draw you closer — or divide you? What are some ways the two of you can take steps toward more prudent, loving spending?