'If we don't learn to be content with the basics, we're going to be miserable our entire lives.'
Sooner or later, all couples confront the difficult issue of money. And sooner is a lot better than later if you want to avoid heated arguments with your spouse and merciless creditors. Few authors go into the detail that Bob Russell, a pastor from Louisville, Kentucky, does when it comes to exploring our core beliefs about money and our attitudes toward it.
You write about the importance of couples developing a Christlike attitude toward money. How can we do that?
We need to view possessions as Jesus did. Consider that Jesus, the most significant person who ever lived, never owned much of anything—not even a place to lay his head. Now he didn't say it was wrong to own things. In fact, in one parable he said some will own more than others. But he warned us repeatedly not to place too much importance on possessions. God is the owner of it all, and we're just temporary stewards of it.
How do you feel about the oft-recommended family budget?
A budget is of value only if both spouses agree on it. If a husband or wife arbitrarily sets up a budget, it can be a source of bickering and resentment. But if they first say, "We're going to look at possessions the way Jesus did," they'll find it's easier to agree on their priorities—such as charitable giving. They'll also find it easier to agree on other expenditures if they start out with the principle of living within their means and avoiding indebtedness. Further, a mutual understanding and biblical basis for finances can help couples blend the money differences that come from being raised in different families.1