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New study seeks to strengthen money outlook of husbands, wives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Michael Taylor believes to have strong marriages couples must have unity of purpose in financial goals and money management.

Taylor, coauthor of the newly released “Money in Marriage” resource, hopes to help engaged and newlywed couples identify sources and solutions for conflict in all aspects of their personal financial management. Taylor sees the resource as an opportunity for pastors to help reverse current divorce trends by equipping couples with tools they can use to prevent breakups.

Working with author and money management authority Larry Burkett, Taylor found that conflict over money is the number one cause of divorce in America. Burkett is founder and CEO of Christian Financial Concepts where Taylor, a former pastor and church planter, is a staff writer. They have coauthored several volumes related to money management issues.

“The church today looks the same as the world in terms of divorce,” Taylor observed. “The way we manage money represents the core values of our lives, so when husbands and wives come together, there can be a collision of core values. If we discover the conflicting values that cause them to bicker, then we can help them come together under the lordship of Christ.

“We need to see ourselves as stewards, rather than owners, of what God has given us,” he continued. “One of the big cultural lies we encounter is that you can have more than you can afford. We try to fix spiritual problems with material things. The lie that ‘more is better’ does not square with Scripture. God chooses to bless us lots of ways other than materially. Obedience may or may not result in material wealth.

“What is driving hedonism is people who are out of touch with the living God. People medicate their guilt with things.”

Money management is a spiritual endeavor, Taylor said, and he believes couples who deal with the issue together can solve or avoid problems that destroy marriages. He views providing stewardship resources to couples as “placing a warning sign at the top of a cliff instead of an ambulance at the bottom.”

The Money in Marriage study becomes a catalyst for couples to get to know each other, Taylor said.

“You really get to know another person if you know their money habits,” he noted. “Couples can identify, but not necessarily eliminate, all differences. They can determine what is of God and where they need to grow.”

The Money in Marriage kit contains two audio tapes; member workbooks for husband and wife; a CD-ROM including personality assessments; an interactive first budget and an interactive question-and-answer session; and a facilitator’s guide to be used by a pastor, church staff member or Christian counselor. A member book with CD-ROM may be ordered separately.

The study provides help with a family spending plan, identifies couples’ personality differences and gives illustrations of experiences of other couples.

Money in Marriage is available from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention at 1-800-458-2772.

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  • Charles Willis