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Last night my wife and I were reading our devotionals together and the topic was forgiveness. While both of us have a lot to learn in this area, I wanted to take a few minutes and discuss what forgiveness means when it comes to financial infidelity. Financial infidelity seems to growing as my counselors and I are dealing more and more with one spouse hiding money or debt from the other spouse. As I have been studying financial infidelity, it have become clear that it is not a male or female dominate problem, but seems to happen to either sex just as often.
Let me first give you the typically case that I work with. One spouse is the keeper of the household books and the other spouse just is not involved in any financial decisions. One or both of the household income becomes reduced (layoff, pay cut, no bonus, commissions are down) and the other spouse who handles the household finances feels to ashamed to cut life style or feels that they have been left on their own to deal with the problem. When this happens, it usually leads to credit card debt or hiding of money for a “rainy day”. Something comes up (usually an emergency) and when there is no money to pay for something the spouse who has been hiding the debt has to come clean.
I know that once both spouses have found out about the problem, most if the time they are ready to tackle to problem head on but there is always some hurt due to not having a spouse helping together with the money, or one spouse racking up credit card debt and the other spouse not having clue.
Just like with any other issue that you would deal with in marriage communication is the key. Financial infidelity is almost always caused by lack of communication and could have been avoided completely is both spouse were on the same page. Do not be afraid to talk to you spouse about money, if they will not listen than at least you have done all that you can. Remember, in the first 7 years of marriage the number one cause of divorce is money fights and money problems. Do not let financial infidelity take your marriage. As hard is it to admit that both spouses are at fault, forgiveness needs to happen from both spouses. Talk to your spouse today about your finances so that you can take control of your finances and work together as a team!