Recession-Proof Your Marriage
By Jacqueline J. Overpeck
According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the marriage rate per 1,000 is 7.5 and the divorce rate is 3.6. Sadly, there are many causes why marriages, both secular and Christian, go through turbulent times that lead to a split-up. The Mayo Clinic cites financial problems as being one of the chief reasons why married couples need counseling (see Note 1).
In the United States today many married couples are facing greater financial difficulty than ever before. The housing market has cooled and thousands of families are struggling to keep their homes. Shaky home loans and personal credit lines are packing a one-two punch. A report from MSN Money Central states that the average household carries some $8,000 in credit card debt (see Note 2).
Recent stock market news is causing the most seasoned investors to scratch their heads. Headlines on one day point to indicators of recession. The next day, the Dow ascends to a four hundred point recovery (see Note 3). All of this mayhem, not including the raising price of gasoline, increased inflation and unemployment.
Which leaves me to wonder: How can I recession proof the love in my marriage? To answer that question, let’s consider the meaning of an economic recession.
During a recession there’s a weakening of the economy and a downturn in financial prosperity. It’s a period of time when trade is interrupted, there’s a waning of assets, and capital slumps as low as a garden slug. A typical recession only lasts a few months, but it is a painful run.
Fiery Financial Darts
As Christian married couples, we are in this world---but not of it. (See John 17:15-18.) It’s important to note that being in this world means that we face the same obstacles as everyone else. The difference is that we have the Lord Jesus to help us with both our financial and marital issues.
Jesus’ prayer was that God would protect us from evil and that we would go into all the world and share God’s love. The book of John tells that we’ve been equipped with the same glory that God gave to Jesus (17:22). That glory unites us with the Lord and with our spouse. It’s a shield when the enemy comes against your marriage with fiery financial darts.
It doesn’t take long for the strain of economic woes to clog your peace of mind. Prime example: What happens to you when you’re filled with financial worry? What happens to your spouse? Most of us become moody, cranky like a wet cat, and we eat lots of chocolate---right?
The Greek word for glory is doxa, which denotes honor and respect. During times of increased financial strain it’s important to extend extra doxa or honor and respect to your spouse. Financial downturn provides you with a unique opportunity to lift your marriage partner up---while you look for practical solutions together.
The Lord is there when you sit with your spouse at the kitchen table and pour over your bills. James 1:5 encourages that God will give you wisdom when you ask him for his help. God is the expert at making a way where there seems to be no way. (See Isaiah 42:16 to find a promise for the Lord’s help.) But, even still, human nature intrinsically causes us to tense up when monetary anxiety abounds.
Taking all of this into account, there’s no time like the present to brush up on pointers that’ll help protect your marriage from suffering a slump along with a distressed economy:
Predictors of a Love Recession
When debt soars, dryness results. At one time, you may’ve been glowing, but financial pressure can lead to a sense of lethargy and a general lack of interest. Your spouse senses it when this happens to you. To him/her it starts to feel like all of the excitement is gone. These tips are ideal for days when your financial and love forecast are gray with rain:
- Pursue patience. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Psalm 27:14).
- Apply understanding. A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1).
In order to keep a marriage operating at its pinnacle we need great love, especially in times of great stress. There’s only one way to really provide true love to your spouse and revolutionize your relationship. Try doubling up on God’s idea of romance:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Responding to a Financial Recession
Often times in an economic recession the Federal Reserve will step in and cut interest rates in hopes to help bring balance. Whether or not that’s always the best solution is a matter of debate, but for the sake of this example, let’s consider the potential benefits. Just like the United States as a country counts on the Federal Reserve to help bring stability, we as citizens of heaven can look to God for a strategy on how to steady our financial frets in marriage. Start with:
- Knowing what God says. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
- Prayer. ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3
Your Power-Rated Option
There’s a tremendous high yield in Christ when we pattern our marriage relationships after his righteousness. Husbands are able to produce in renewed freedom. And wives are able to help cut the crop and bring in the harvest. Revenue increases and romance soars.
Home prices have fallen, but you’re love and marriage don’t have to fluctuate negatively with market downs. Remember that in God’s economy things are different. Loss is gain. The weak is made strong. (See Isaiah 40:29 and 2 Corinthians 12:9.)
When you and your spouse choose the power-rated option of taking stock in God’s word, you’ll experience new mercy and the benevolent dividends that it provides.
On Wall Street, indexes are classed in a number of ways: the Dow, the S&P 500, the Japanese Nikkei, and so on. All of these are man’s creation for tracking statistics, but with God’s unfailing index your marriage is not left open to the same variables that affect the financial systems of the natural world. Regardless of news reports, God will cause your finances and marriage to bloom. His promise is growth, increase, and expansion, especially in times of trouble. Remember how He brought the ancient Hebrews out of captivity into their promised land? That’s a type and a shadow of the same breakthrough God has for you!
Your greatest assets are your relationship with the Lord and the loved ones that he has given to you. No matter what economic season the world is in, you are hedged in heaven’s care. Won’t you share that encircling love with your husband or wife today? When you do, you’re affirming your faith as a couple in Jehovah Jireh, your provider. He’s the Lord who sees your every need and meets it!
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
More marriage and parenting articles on CBN.com
Related Link: Is the Mortgage Mess Causing Divorces?
Jacqueline Overpeck is a freelance writer and works full time as Web Content Editor for Benny Hinn Ministries. She and her husband, Arnold, are both CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Services) graduates. They enjoy the outdoors, and traveling in their spare time with their Maltese dog, Coconut. Visit Jacqueline at www.AuthorJackieO.com.
© 2008, Jacqueline Overpeck. Used by permission. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the consent of the publisher.
1. National Center for Health Statistics, Fast Facts http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm
2. MSN Money Central, The Basics: How Does Your Debt Compare? http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/SavingandDebt/P70581.asp
3. MSN Money Investing, Stocks Soar after Fed Acts
* All verses taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.
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