Click below to listen to Episode 78 – Husband/Wife Communication With Finances

78 – Husband/Wife Communication With Finances

Learn about resolving financial conflict in marriage.

This episode covers one of the most common topics when it comes to marital conflict – finances. When it comes to marital communication about finances, many of us have differing expectations. Oftentimes, it is the very values that we were brought up with that are at the heart of a conflict. Joining Bob in offering her expertise on this subject is speaker and consultant, Sharon Epps.

Sharon helps churches and individuals energize stewardship and generosity. She is also the founder of Women Doing Well, a “Christ centered organization that helps women of influence and affluence find their purpose and passion in life and develop a plan for how to further their personal generosity journey”.

Husband/wife communication is one of Sharon’s favorite topics. She has seen how money conversations can be stressful between a husband and a wife when all that’s really needed is a clarifying conversation. Money conflicts can have some real roots in deeper issues and, left alone without counseling, can divide a couple.

GUESTS: Sharon Epps of “Women Doing Well”
HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®

Download The Couple’s Listening Guide Below

Download the communication guide, “Couples Values Exercise”, that was mentioned in this podcast episode.

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
[dt_soc_icons soc_icon_gap_between=”4px”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fchristianfinancialadvisors.com|target:_blank” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-website” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff” soc_icon_border=”n” soc_icon_bg_color=”#7ac9ab” soc_icon_border_hover=”n” soc_icon_bg_color_hover=”#014a8f”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHelloCFAdvisors|target:_blank” dt_soc_icon=”fab fa-facebook” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff” soc_icon_border=”n” soc_icon_bg_color=”#7ac9ab” soc_icon_border_hover=”n” soc_icon_bg_color_hover=”#014a8f”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.twitter.com%2FHelloCFAdvisors|target:_blank” dt_soc_icon=”Defaults-twitter” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff” soc_icon_border=”n” soc_icon_bg_color=”#7ac9ab” soc_icon_border_hover=”n” soc_icon_bg_color_hover=”#014a8f”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fcompany%2FHelloCFAdvisors|target:_blank” dt_soc_icon=”fab fa-linkedin” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff” soc_icon_border=”n” soc_icon_bg_color=”#7ac9ab” soc_icon_border_hover=”n” soc_icon_bg_color_hover=”#014a8f”][/dt_soc_icons]
Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
[dt_soc_icons soc_icon_gap_between=”4px”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fchristianfinancialadvisors.com%2Fwho-we-are%2Fabout-us%2Fbob-barber%2F|target:_blank” dt_soc_icon=”icomoon-the7-font-the7-login-02″ soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff” soc_icon_border=”n” soc_icon_bg_color=”#7ac9ab” soc_icon_border_hover=”n” soc_icon_bg_color_hover=”#014a8f”][/dt_soc_icons]
Sharon Epps
[dt_soc_icons soc_icon_gap_between=”8px”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwomendoingwell.org%2Fpeople%2Fsharon-epps%2F|title:Sharon%20Epps%20Bio|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”icomoon-the7-font-the7-login-02″ soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fin%2Fsharonepps1%2F|title:Sharon%20Epps%20LinkedIn|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-linkedin” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][/dt_soc_icons]
Women Doing Well
[dt_soc_icons soc_icon_gap_between=”8px”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwomendoingwell.org%2F|title:Women%20Doing%20Well|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-website” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FWomenDoingWell%2F|title:Women%20Doing%20Well%20Facebook|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-facebook” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fcompany%2Fwomen-doing-well%2F|title:Women%20Doing%20Well%20Linked%20In|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-linkedin” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][dt_single_soc_icon link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWomenDoingWell|title:Women%20Doing%20Well%20Twitter|target:%20_blank|” dt_soc_icon=”dt-icon-tumbler” soc_icon_border_width=”0px” soc_icon_color=”#ffffff”][/dt_soc_icons]

Want to ask a question about your specific situation? Schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone call.

Did you enjoy this episode? Sign up for email updates and never miss an episode.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Welcome to “Christian Financial Perspectives”, where you’re invited to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about how Christians integrate their faith, life and finances with a Biblical Worldview. Here’s your host Christian Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Coach Bob Barber.

[EPISODE]

Bob:
Genesis 2:21-24, “So the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.’ This is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh.” The word that really sticks out to me in there is that the man and wife, they leave their mother and father and they become one. It’s about oneness. So today on our podcast, we’re going to be talking about marriage and oneness and combining finances with that. Now, I know we all have different expectations when it comes to that and brought up with different values when it comes to finance. I know with my wife and I, with Rachael and I, you hear me talk about Rachael a lot, we have very different values. She grew up in a military family. I grew up in a very laid back family. So she was real structured, mine was real laid back. My dad was always just about having fun and it really came from different values, but we’ve been able to take that and compliment each other. So, we’re going to tackle this subject, and I’m excited to have a guest on the program with me today, Sharon Epps. I heard her speak first on husband, wife communication and finances in a monthly Bible study. Y’all have heard me mention before many times Kingdom Advisors, and I’m a Certified Kingdom Advisor®. So, one month she did the study “building a bridge for husband, wife communication” and Sharon, she’s the founder of Women Doing Well, which is a Christ centered organization. It helps women of influence and affluence find their purpose and passion in life and develop a plan for how to further their personal generosity. I’m excited to have her on and Sharon is here. So Sharon, welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives.

Sharon:
Thank you Bob. Husband and wife communication is one of my favorite topics. So I’m really looking forward to this conversation. In fact, even in the scripture you read, I was reminded of the fact that God did make us to be one flesh, and that indicates unity. But unity isn’t the same as sameness. And in fact, one of my mentors, the late Larry Burkett used to always say, “If both of you were alike, one of you would be unnecessary.” So I just love that as we start this conversation to think about the fact that one flesh isn’t all the same, it just means that we come together in unity.

Bob:
You mentioned Larry Burkett, and he was one of my mentors. I loved him. I still remember listening to him and my wife tell you, I remember the day when I heard of him passing to go be with the Lord and we were going on vacation to Colorado. You remember those things like that because he meant so much to my life. And she looked and she saw me bawling. I said, this man served God so well, and he was the one that just brought money to the forefront in the Christian realm and that it all belongs to God. So, he was quite a man. So true what you said. I’ve been around so many money conversations and they can be stressful between a husband and wife, but really what’s needed is clarification. I think it’s stressful because nothing’s clear many times and it can have some real roots in some deeper issues and left alone, without counseling, I’ve seen it divide a couple and we know the stats are really high that divorce is many times caused by finances. I also like, and I know that you were talking about this when I heard you speak, we have been given some great examples in scripture to follow for money harmony. One is that Priscilla and Aquila that were co-tent makers with the apostle Paul. There’s some great examples here, and I would like you to share some of those examples.

Sharon:
I would really be glad to. And by the way, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. We were talking a little bit earlier. I’m a native Texan. I live in Georgia now, but still have my Texas roots and so I think I grew up with Priscilla and Aquilla and then I’ve heard several different Bible scholars present it a different way, but I think we’ll just keep the Texan for the moment and hopefully that will work for everybody.

Bob:
Hey, that sounds good. I understand that Texan.

Sharon:
There we go. Yeah, there we go. I actually, if you would, I think there’s one element to this before we jump into that story, which is so rich that I would like to bring in from the life of Jesus. I really would like to have us think back to probably a fairly familiar story and that is Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. I won’t take the time to tell it all, but basically Jesus encountered a woman that both society and traditional religious rules would say he should not have even given the time of day. He spent the time with her really revealing himself to her. And quite frankly, I think she got it better than some of the people of the Jewish culture at that time. But what I wanted to hone in on in that story is that after he had the encounter with her, if you remember, and this story is found in the book of John chapter four, but she went back to the people of the town and said you’ve got to come listen to this guy, and this is the piece that think’s really relevant to our conversation on husband, wife communication because what she said was, he told me everything I’ve done, or in the message version, this is John 4:39 she said, “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out. He knows me inside and out.” And the reason I wanted to bring that up is I think as we start diving into some of these principles with Priscilla and Aquilla, if there’s just one bottom line as husbands and wives, is are you a student of your spouse? And I know that was a lot of fun in the days before we got married and we were dating and we were exploring everything about them, but quite frankly have been married 26 years and it’s easy sometimes to think you already know everything about your spouse. So, just that story to me is the bedrock or the foundation. When we start exploring a storyline like Priscilla and Aquilla, I’m really convinced that their marriage was a marriage that they knew each other inside and out, and they were able to share with each other all the aspects of their life just because of the way that the Bible presents them. So, I wanted to lay that as a little bit of foundation and maybe perhaps even a little challenge question here in the beginning is, “Are you a student of your spouse and could they confidently say that you know them inside and out?”

Bob:
I have to say something there. Yes, I’m a student of my spouse. We’ve been married 35 years, and I still can’t figure her out.

Sharon:
Well maybe some of the principles we’ll talk about today will help you a little bit.

Bob:
I always learn when I’m doing the podcasts. I’m the best student right here. I learn more than anybody.

Sharon:
Okay, well I took a little detour there, but I think it’s a bit of a foundational principle as we go into this story about Priscilla and Aquila. So, the first thing I want to point out is if you look at the biblical references with Priscilla and Aquila, they are mentioned in the Bible six times in Acts and 1 Corinthians and Romans as well. So they occur many times throughout the scriptural account. And I think one of the first observations I’ll make is that one is never referred to without the other. And so when you see a mention of Priscilla, you will always see Aquila, too. And I think that’s a great sign that they traveled their journey together. They worked and served and ministered together. Just some basics of the story, if you’re not too familiar with them, is they were tent makers and they actually partnered with Paul, the apostle Paul, and made tents. They were exiles from Roman persecution. And I think the key is that as they lived their life, they made tents and they served in ministry together, is the key word was together. They were able to bridge this husband and wife communication in a way that allowed them to work and serve and be a part of the early church together. So I think it’s from that foundation, if you do want to look up even more about their story, you’ll see a lot of in Acts 18. They’re also referenced in Romans 16 where Paul just really talks about how special they are to him and how they’re encouragers of his ministry. And then we also learned in 1 Corinthians 16 that they actually had a church that met in their home. We’ve got a great look at this life of this couple, I think, that helps us learn some examples of how to communicate better as spouses.

Bob:
What a positive example. Like Forrest Gump would say, they were like peas and carrots. They were always together. And that speaks volumes too. Opposites attract. So they learned to work together. And I bet there’s a lot of bridge building principles that we can learn from them being together if we really look at them. Do you have some of those bridge building principles?

Sharon:
Yes. I’ll test you and see if you can say that 10 times fast.

Bob:
That’s a tough one. I know, I was getting tongue twisted saying it. It’s a hard one.

Sharon:
Well, I think there are several that we can look at and I think the first one I already really mentioned and that is they obviously spent time together. And so, I think the first principle is that distance tends to produce misunderstanding and conflict. So they had a life that they were able to work, really lockstep, together throughout each day. And I realized that for most of us listening to this, including myself, I don’t have the luxury of getting to work with my husband all day every day, but I can be intentional about bridging the distance and making sure that we don’t let days go by where distance impacts our ability to communicate. And I think as we’re recording this in a season of quarantine from the COVID-19 virus, many of us may be thinking, wow, I’d actually like a little more distance. So this may be a season where this first principle is being accentuated, but we have the opportunity to reduce distance and I’m hoping that during the season, perhaps you and your spouse have found times of additional communication that you may not have in the busy-ness of your everyday life that would be a practice that you would perhaps keep even after the season passes. I know for my husband and I, we have gotten in the habit during this quarantine of taking a walk almost every day together, and that’s been a really great time where we had an opportunity to communicate just more intentionally in a way that we don’t when we’re busy about the house doing our different things in a normal schedule.

Bob:
I think a lot of people would relate to that statement that you just said. I mean, I live in a unique subdivision where everybody has 15 to 20 acres. So, we’re very spread out, but still I’ve been seeing everybody out walking as a couple and you’re right. We need to do more of that.

Sharon:
Yes. Yeah. So simple things. Sometimes, I think we tend to think it has to be something hard or time consuming, but a 15 or 20 minute walk could even make all the difference in the world, and it helps us get a little bit more in shape too. So, that never hurts. So another principle, I think, is having those intentional conversations towards goals. So it’s one thing to have the casual conversations and reconnect every day. That’s number one. But number two is setting aside intentionally to work towards goals, hopes, aspirations, dreams, those kinds of things. We’ll talk about that a little bit more as we talk about implementing these. But I think there is a difference between daily connects and those times we set aside to be intentional to look forward and consider where are we headed as a couple and where are we headed as a family. So that, I think, would be the second one, just setting aside specific time to be aligned on goals and outcomes. Going back to Priscilla and Aquila, not only were they building tents together, but they started a church in their home and they had to have conversations about what does this mean and how do we do this? And when you invite people into your home and practice hospitality, it takes coordination between spouses to do that. And I think both are important, both the longer term goals and just those daily connects. I think the third thing would be that understanding is different than just communicating, and so we want to build a communication bridge that goes to a deeper level of understanding. And that’s something that’s intentional. Be a student of your spouse, as I mentioned earlier. What is it that that person is trying to say? I’ll just be transparent here and say that might be one of my greatest challenges with my husband. We have a great relationship, but we also have 26 years of communicating with each other. And sometimes, old tapes come to the surface instead of a true sense of understanding. And so, particularly when it’s issues that are hot buttons or maybe even things that have been challenges for us before. Sometimes, just an innocent comment by our spouse can set us off. I think this is particularly true in money. So I want to tie this to the money conversation particularly. We have many things that impact our perspective of money. And you mentioned earlier just even the differences in your wife’s family of origin and your’s, and it’s not only true just in the way you operate your schedule, but it’s also true in the way that you handle money. So, many times when we are not communicating well about money, it doesn’t have anything to do with the money at all. It may have to do with the way that I view money in my family of origin. It may have to do with the way I’m just wired by God. So, am I wired naturally to be a spender or a saver? And if I’m wired to be a saver and my husband walks in and he’s just made a purchase that was unplanned, then just immediately, almost, that will set me into a conflict mode. I think it’s important to listen for understanding rather than playing those tapes over and over. And then I think the fourth thing is that, sorry, the fifth. Yes. So honoring God in this journey will help bridge your communication as well. And I think the key there is, again, going back to Priscilla and Aquila, they were growing in faith together and I think as a couple to the extent that each of you are interested in the Lord and living a lifestyle that would please him, coming back, and having opportunities to grow in your faith will also grow your communication and your alignment and your unity because that’s the way that the Lord made us.

Bob:
So I’ve got this – spend time together, have intentional conversations, get to understand each other. It’s really interesting. I learned something, I guess it was about 10 or 12 years ago, that repeat back to somebody, “Is this what I heard you say?” And so many times when I repeat that back, they go, no, that’s not what I was saying. So I’ve learned to repeat back, and it helps me to stay engaged with my very hyperactive, Type A, ADD mode that I’m in, you know? So, it helps me to be a good listener. You’re talking about the financial, I think you’re right. It doesn’t always have to do with financial, but it has to do with something else. I wonder if that word, many times, is trust? If there’s arguments in the financial area about when you mention something, is it because you’re saying I don’t trust you? I don’t know. I thought of that while you were saying that.

Sharon:
I guess it could partly be that, but I think this is where I’d love to maybe share some fresh research. My dear friend, Shaunti Feldhan, is a researcher and author and has just released a new book called “Thriving In Love And Money”. I was talking with her about this topic the other day of the clash and what causes the clash. First thing I’ll tell you is that she found that 77% of couples report that they don’t do well discussing money. I mean three quarters, and this is believers and nonbelievers alike, say hey this money thing is an awkward thing for us. And so she actually conducted mixed methods research, several thousand respondents across the country this past year. And as they dug down into those findings, they really saw that the conflict boiled down to two or three key things. The first one was just differences in values, not values as in right or wrong, but values as in what’s really important to me. And so one example of how husband and wife can have different values – it may be that for one it’s very important to spend time together and the other may have a value of being a provider or being a contributor to the finances. And so it’s like for the one spouse that’s spending time together, they see spending money as a trade off so we get more time. I’m going to go pick up dinner so that we can save time and get to spend time together. And the other spouse who is maybe thinking about providing and having a nest egg and enough money might say they clash over it. Not because they don’t want to go out to dinner, but they don’t see that time value. They’re seeing the wait, we’re hitting our reserves. We’re using money and it’s important to me that we have an appropriate nest egg, but usually that doesn’t come out on the surface. Usually, it’s a less obvious argument. And so think that clash of values, what’s important to me is important. I think the other thing that was significant to me that she shared with me is just that there’s a clash of fears. We have different things that we’re afraid of, and we don’t always talk about that. What are the things that I’m afraid of? Sometimes, that’s expressed with our money as well. So, I think the main thing.

Bob:
You’re speaking to me. I’m like, wait a second, I am one of those 77% that don’t do well with discussing money. Yeah. I’m all about, “I’m the provider”, and my wife’s like, “Let’s spend time together talking.” I’m like, well, I’ve been providing, why don’t we need to spend time together? And then there’s that fear. I mean, see, I’m learning myself. Great discussion.

Sharon:
Yeah. So I think that the key there is it may present itself as a money issue, but I would say most of the time there’s something behind that. And if we can set aside the money issue long enough to explore what the other issue is, then money actually isn’t that hard. Another mentor of mine and friend, Ron Blue, always says that money is a test, a tool, and a testimony. And I think that as couples we can see that lived out. Really, money isn’t what we’re disagreeing about. It’s a deeper issue.

Bob:
I’m going to sum this all up again, but it’s hard to sum it up because it’s so deep. The issues that come with talking finances and marriage, and I’m like so you’ve given me some great ideas. I understand to spend time together in conversation, but is there a tool you can give me that can help me put this all together?

Sharon:
Yes. I think one of the tools we’ve created at Women Doing Well is what we call a couples values exercise. Because at the end of the day, what I value will impact by the lens through which I make all kinds of decisions, financial and otherwise. There are core values that probably, as a couple, you have worked through for years, but there’s also just individual values, the way that God’s uniquely wired me, the things that are important to me, the things that I want to make sure that my children pass on to their children that sometimes have to be uncovered or discovered. I think even being married 20 and 30 and 40 years, you can still uncover things that a couple values or that each individual in the couple values. I’ll give you an example for me that it took a while for us as a couple to figure out. I value a work ethic that’s a consistent work ethic and my husband values work. He also highly values leisure and connection times, and so it took us a while to figure out that neither one of those values were wrong. In fact, they’re very important. It’s very important to have a good work ethic. It’s also very important to have balance and leisure and those kinds of things. But we never argued and said, Oh, you’ve got a work ethic and Oh, you value leisure. We didn’t use those terms because we did not realize that that was the source of some of our miscommunication and some of the conflict in our marriage. And then finally, we had the opportunity to work through a values tool similar to the one that we’ll talk about. And we realized that they were two core values that were both important. They were both important for our family and we needed to communicate better how we played them out and why they were important to us and our family. And it was really once we were able to communicate clearly with each other about both of those things that we could present a unified front to our children with each other and we could have it put into language to our conversation so that rather than us disagreeing about something, and I’ll make it super practical. One of the places that came to bear was we used to really have tension over the dishes being done after a meal. And so for me, it was super important that as soon as you got up from the table, you did the dishes. Well for him, it was super important that you take a little extra time and we might even go for a walk or play a game of cards before we did dishes. And it was just a different value, but the conflict came. We thought we were arguing over doing the dishes, but we really weren’t. It was a work and leisure kind of conversation and once we learned to use that language, we were able to come to agreements on how we handled things. And that’s true of money conversations. It’s true really these tools can be used throughout all areas of a marriage.

Bob:
So in this values exercise, I printed this off before we started and it reminded me of when we went through this study a couple of years ago, you actually look at what is least important and most important to each one and you put it on like a staircase, and the amount of words that you have below that. Are you supposed to like circle those words? You’ve got a lot of words here, some go over some of these, and what we’ll do is we’ll make this available on our podcast website so somebody can just click on it and pull this up.

Sharon:
Yeah. So, I highly recommend that. Now what we did is we provided a word bank. So, if I sit down with my spouse and say, what do you value? That takes a while to think through. I value God. It’s sort of vague.

Bob:
Exactly. I was going to ask you that earlier. Values can mean a lot of things.

Sharon:
They can, yeah. Yeah. And so what we did is we developed a word bank of words that tend to be underlying values. They may have come from your family of origin. They may have come just as you continue to navigate through life. There’s words such as, I’ll give you just a few, accountability, efficiency, fun, teamwork. So they’re not words that have right or wrong attached to them. They’re ways of living and approaches to life that different people, different personalities, and different mindsets are expressed differently. It’s part of that beautiful kaleidoscope of the way that God made us. We’re all made unique but yet all reflect his image. And so what we’re really saying is, as you look at what’s important to you, what part of this kaleidoscope, how can we learn more about the beauty of this kaleidoscope that God created in you?

Sharon:
And so, we give you just a word bank of, I don’t know, there’s probably 50 or 60 words. And as you go through it what I really recommend is you take one pass through it and just circle the words that stand out to you. Which ones are appealing to you or are you think, “Yeah, I resonate with that.: And you may come up with 10, 15, 20 words circled and then we just ask you to go back and rank the first five. Which ones are really, really important to you? We do present a little bit of a stair-step just as a visual to say, Hey, what are the things that make me tick And that make me crazy if those things aren’t a part of our family? And so, the main thing here is as you’re ranking these values, it’s not that you get exactly that number two or number three or four are exactly in the right order, but we’re just trying to highlight what are the things that are important to you that you could have a conversation around with your spouse. But the other thing that I really want to hone in on is that you do this values exercise the first step by yourself so you’re not trying to negotiate with your spouse. This is your own ranking and then you will actually, in another step, come back and meet with your spouse and have an opportunity to go through the list.

Bob:
You do this each individually, and I see that. And as I look at this, it gets me excited because I’m kind of, I don’t know, like a load of bricks or something getting through to my head sometimes about the things that are most important to my wife. I mean, she tells me this is what’s important to me, but maybe I wouldn’t see it. Would I give one of these to her and then I take one and we fill them out. And then without discussing, really, we just give it to each other and let us mole that a little bit and look at it and then we come back and discuss it. Because I have a feeling that I’m going to see some things on here that I thought was the most important thing to Rachel that might not be that important because I just assume a lot of things.

Sharon:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s easy to do that for sure. Yes. I think the whole value of this exercise, it comes from approaching it as a student of your spouse. I think the mindset that you just described is what we’re looking for is, “Hey, there’s some things about you I may have pegged wrong or that I might need to discover better.” And so this is more of an exploratory exercise and a discovery type of exercise. I want to know more what you’re thinking. And so that’s why we actually created, with this exercise, not only the ranking of the values, but a conversation guide. Because sometimes if we are left our own devices, we may try to lobby for a certain value or we may try to sell that my value is more important than yours. And if we’ve done that, we’ve completely defeated the purpose of the exercise. So, in order to help avoid that, we really ask several questions that help keep us in a mindset of being a discoverer or a student by asking your spouse, “What stood out to you about my list? Is there something on my list as surprised you?” And just start really having a dialogue. And we hear reports of such rich dialogue that occurs when couples take the time to do this. What do we see about our values that are similar and different? I hope some of them are different. If you’re 100% the same, then you miss some of that richness that comes from being a couple. Are there some places where you feel like your values are being challenged? The example I used about the dishes, that’s a very simple one, but once we were able to work through this issue, what I was able to articulate for the first time is I don’t really want to be a nag about getting the dishes done. It’s really that my value of getting your work done first or having a work ethic, is being played out here. In my head and emotions, if the dishes get left out for five hours, it makes me feel like my value of work is being challenged. And so that’d be a great example of how I would answer that number three. I’m able to take something that has been a lightning rod for us in the past, and turn it into a meaningful dialogue about the value underneath it.

Bob:
As we’re talking about this, there’s going to be many that are listening to the podcast that will say, I want to do that, but there’s no way my spouse to do it. There’s some transparency here that definitely comes along and where we need to build those bridge building techniques of laying this before the cross and praying about this because would some spouses be scared this could open up something. It’s like things need to be cleaned out, you’ve got to sweep under your bed sometime, and it’s not always easy. Can you speak into that a little bit?

Sharon:
Sure. First of all, if it’s a conversation you just feel like you totally can’t have, then I think probably an outside third party, a Christian financial counselor, would probably be helpful. I think the other thing is I really recommend prayerful approach to this and it may be that you, the one that’s willing to go through this type of exercise, need to spend some time practicing being a student of your spouse before asking them to be a student of you. And so I think a first step is if you’re not at a place where you feel like you can ask to have this level of a conversation, maybe challenge yourself for a week or two weeks or even 30 days to just say, what can I do to be a better student of my spouse? I’m not going to ask them to be a student of me yet, but how can I be a better student of them? How can I ask them meaningful questions and just show them that I’m interested in seeing them in a new light and in a deeper way. And I think that can start the ball rolling. Again, if you have such a barrier that you don’t feel like you can even do that, then there’s probably a time for a Christian counselor to help look at what the deeper issues are.

Bob:
When you were sharing in the beginning, we were talking about spending time together, intentional conversation, understanding that financial doesn’t always have to do with money and then that fifth one honoring God. I’ve been very involved in Family Life Ministry in the past and we used to teach a lot of the Homebuilder’s Bible S`tudy by Family Life and those series through Dennis Rainey. We taught resolving conflict in marriage and managing money in marriage. I remember them always saying, you put God at the center and the further one of you gets away from God, the farther you are from each other. But if you’re in sync with God, so think of it left, right, and God’s in the center. As you come closer to God, you’re coming closer together.

Sharon:
Yes, that’s true.

Bob:
But one spouse may not be there, so you come closer to God because as you are coming closer to God, you are coming closer to your spouse, even if they’re not. Just by coming closer to God, you’re coming closer to your spouse.

Sharon:
Yes. I think that’s an excellent illustration.

Bob:
Sarah. We’ve shared a lot today. I’m going to definitely make this assessment available to everyone, and I would encourage you to go to our website, Christianfinancialpodcast.com. We’re calling today’s podcast husband, wife, communication with finances, and we’ll have that there for you. Is there anything that we didn’t cover in regards to this today?

Sharon:
I think the main thing I would just emphasize is the role of prayer. I mentioned it, but I think that’s a key piece. I mean it goes along with the illustration you just gave, but at the end of the day, God’s created us to be a picture of unity that really reflects the Godhead. In order for us as a couple to be unified, we need this ability to talk freely about not just the surface issues but these values because these values then drive how we make decisions. And so I think if I left you with one thing, it would be pray about what your next step would be on this journey and look at the tool. But the tool is just that, it’s not an ultimate outcome. I think the question is how would God lead you to be a better student of your spouse?

Bob:
I want to end on that. I guess there is one last thing. I remember my brother who was with Family Life Ministry. He served with Dennis Rainey for over 20 years. He always said marriage is like taking the heart out and dissecting it, and it’s constant growth. So remember that, too. None of us are perfect. We all need Jesus Christ in our lives. And if you don’t know the Lord, I would love to talk to you about that and bring you into that personal relationship with Christ because there’s so much that he wants to offer you through his word and through his Holy Spirit. I just cannot imagine not having Christ in our marriage because I’ll tell you, my wife and I are about as opposite as you get, but we’ve been married 35 years and we’ve been able to go through it because we knew God was at the center and that was the glue that held us together. And when you meet these couples that have been married 50 and 60 years, you hear that all the time. So, I think that’s going to do it today for our podcast. I want to thank you for listening. If you want to give me a call, our phone number is (830) 609-6986 or you can go to our website at ciswealth.com. Sharon, thank you for taking 40 minutes out of your day to share this with us, and I hope we’ve had a really good positive impact on couple’s lives for the glory of God.

[CONCLUSION]

That’s all for now. We invite you to listen to all of our past episodes covering many financial topics from a Christian Perspective. To make sure you don’t miss any of Bob’s upcoming episodes you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.

[DISCLOSURES]

Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the host, Bob Barber and his guests. Bob does not provide tax advice and encourages you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.