What always ranks in the top two reasons for divorce? Finances.
Couples fight, worry, and stress about money. They think divorce will bring financial relief so they painstakingly sign on the dotted line. Then come the divorce bills, the alimony, and the child support and they find themselves deeper in debt than ever before.
So how do single parents, divorced couples, and blended families deal with finances? More specifically, how do people create financial margin in their lives so that money is no longer a source of stress, but rather a place of freedom?
Author Andy Stanley writes, “Think about it. Regardless of how much money a person makes, if he leaves himself no margin, there’ll be no peace of mind. Worse, if all your money is spoken for before you deposit your paycheck, greed has an all-access pass to your heart. Why? Because any extra that comes in is already spoken for as well. You’re planning ahead of time to consume it.”
According to Stanley, we must first plan ahead. Create a budget. Look at how much we make and how much we spend. The latter must be less than the former. If we spend more than we make, then we need to decrease our spending. If that is not possible, then we need to increase our income.
Second, we need to set money aside every paycheck. Make sure you always reserve some money from every paycheck. This is margin. This money provides security in case the car breaks down or there is an unexpected hospital visit. Yet this money also allows us to give generously to the young widow whose car breaks down or whose son goes to the hospital.
Finally, we need to guard our hearts against greed and comparison. God meets our every need. It is our wants that twist our minds and fill our hearts with jealousy. If we trust in God and depend on Him daily to provide for us, then our needs—not our wants—will surely be met.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,
because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
– Hebrews 13:5, NIV
Elizabeth Oates is a wife, mother of three, and an author, blogger, and speaker who encourages, inspires, and equips a new generation of women seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. She is a cliché Generation Xer from a broken home who once searched for purpose and significance apart from Jesus Christ. Today she devotes her life to spreading the message that we are not defined by our past; our God is bigger than our broken family trees and stronger than the sins that weigh us down. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and co-founded Project Restoration Ministry. To learn more about Elizabeth please visit ElizabethOates.com.