Chap 8, Icebergs That Sink A Marriage Like the Titanic
This final chapter is the most crucial chapter of them all. The last giant iceberg to navigate around is Money. Money can become a massive trap for a couple to stay together, especially when they over-leveraged their skills and talents.
Money always becomes an issue whenever it's convenient for a couple to argue over. It's also a source of power and control over the other partner relying on the working spouse for all their financial needs and wants. However, most couples work outside the home to share their financial burdens and buy more stuff.
Money should be treated as God’s blessing to carry on your household and enjoy the excess with your partner. Instead, many starting couples use the money to gain something in conflict with God’s principles.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 KJV.
You cannot covet money or seek it to be the only priority above God and your family. It is God who blesses people with money and takes it away. He is the one who gives you the opportunities to make money and excel at your craft. You do not have anything special of your own making. Thus, you must treat money as a tool that God blesses, not as an idol to achieve and worship.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV.
The biggest financial hurdle for a young couple is how to make and manage money. Unfortunately, this is not taught to young people in high school and college.
Young adults already start their life in debt. They first take out educational loans to work their lifetime, trying to repay them. Average student loan debt per borrower is around $30,000 to $60,000, and over $100,000 to $200,000 for higher professional education for a doctor or a lawyer. The higher the student loan debt, the higher the expected salary to repay the loans. This is not the case today, as jobs and wages are being squeezed downward.
The education should result in their chosen profession. However, most industries now are corporatized, where salary and hourly wages are standardized to enslave the workers into working on corporate projects as menial factory workers with an average graduating wage of around $55,000 in the United States. All these jobs are compartmentalized, where the person only performs repetitive tasks as a small part of the overall work.
Students are not being taught today by apprenticeship or training to do skilled work that was done a few hundred years ago. Actual skillset is being lost while replaced with feelings, opinions, and ideas in the marketplace. Hand skills and knowledge are lost when jobs are removed and shipped to particular countries like China.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4 NIV.
There are no small local butchers, sewists, tailors, blacksmiths, carpenters, or dairy farmers to deliver fresh milk, perfumers, jewelry makers, toy makers, animal farmers, hunters, fishermen, cloth makers, potters, artisans, and many other skilled jobs that people use to perform and hand their knowledge down to their children to carry on.
Top employers are large conglomerates like Walmart and government jobs, employing most American citizens. Meta hires its employees to build a virtual world online with no physical products for which their workers need to be trained. All college education is geared towards training the next workforce to sit in offices and follow orders for a specific salary.
Making $55,000 per year, their average take-home pay is around $1,700 per month. Thus, one person’s household income of $1,700 has to carry far to buy all other things needed. Since it's nearly impossible to pay off student loans, housing, cars, and material goods where more leveraging is required. Both spouses must work to pay back all their debts: more debt and sacrifices made against having a home and family.
A couple will also get a mortgage or pay for rental housing costs. The average rental is around $1,500 to $2,000 per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. No different than mortgaging a house around the same monthly costs, to leverage the average price of a home around $250,000 to $400,000.
Then a person needs a household car. Most have two cars, one for each person. The average vehicle today is around $25,000 to $65,000, with monthly payments around $250 to $600 per month.
Now that the couple leveraged a house and a car, they also need furnishings and endless stuff to enjoy their life. This is where most of the regular spending habits can quickly get out of control.
Today’s lifestyle requires electronics like smartphones, laptops, appliances, television, internet services, cable services, and much more. People borrow more funds from credit card companies, not just one or two—many leverage their credit card debts to pay off another debt with higher interest. Credit card debt is used to buy all their material goods to furnish their homes or apartments, shop for clothes, travel, eat out, and entertainment; spending $100 here and $1,000 there all adds up. Average credit card debts are around $2,000 to $20,000, with a high-interest rate of about 15% to 30%.
Thus, the average cost of living in the United States, with a salary between $50,000 to $100,000 per year, is highly leveraged 3 to 10 times that amount. Most Americans are in high debt and dependent on the system where they live and work.
If this system were ever to break down, all would become penniless with no real-life skills to recover and maintain their life. This controlled and highly leveraged system with no actual skills will eventually fail, leaving it open to a societal collapse, much like the Pompeii disaster waiting to happen.
A volcano erupted instantaneously, killing all Pompeii citizens near Naples, Italy. The ashes were 4 to 6 meters thick, preserved, and mummified people in whatever activities they were doing at the time it happened. The people may have a warning, but most ignore it to carry out their daily lives until they die suddenly.
According to Wikipedia information,
It was a wealthy town, with a population of ca. 11,000 in AD 79, enjoying many fine public buildings and luxurious private houses with lavish decorations, furnishings, and works of art which were the main attractions for the early excavators.
What happened in Pompeii is much like today, where people enjoy their lives surrounded by public buildings, luxury private houses, and the current marketplace while ignoring all the warning signs to see that people are being herded into the beast system, never to be able to leave it, eventually losing their life and soul.
Although Christians are called to live in this world, we are not part of it. We must look to God for all our blessings and provisions.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mathew 6: 31-33 ESV.
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.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV.
When people are faithful to God, God showers them with blessings.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. Deuteronomy 28:12 NIV.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 1 Samuel 2:7 NIV.
The key to managing your money is knowing it's a blessing from God and being content with what you have. What you do make, live within your budget and not over-leverage yourself. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. If you already have a loan of more than $20,000, you are in bondage to that loan, where you must work to pay it off as early as possible.
If you can avoid getting into debt and pay your way through life, you will be much better off even though you lived on less. This might be hard to understand since today's culture does the opposite to leverage their way through life, borrowing everything. When they can’t pay, they file for bankruptcy or get in another bondage with debt collectors filing judgments against them that last up to twenty years on the record.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 ESV.
Wealth gained by vanity will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase. Proverbs 13:11 MEV.
It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5:5 ESV.
On the first day of the week let every one of you lay in store, as God has prospered him so that no collections be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2 MEV.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 NIV.
In many developing countries, people are in debt bondage for multiple generations for over a few hundred dollars. The new trend for micro-lending is putting people in such countries in a lifetime of bondage. Many commit suicide for not being able to earn and pay off their debt. Even Christian churches are micro-lending to poor people thinking they are doing good, but it's all evil. One such group was making its presentation before a large church audience to donate their money to lend to the poor people in developing countries as micro-loans. The donated money was being charged interest to the poor. Yet, no one saw this scheme as the devil's work to enslave people instead of being God-sent. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 NIV.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. Proverbs 6:5 NIV.
The Bible is not against lending and borrowing. However, it's best to follow God’s wisdom if you do either.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5 NIV.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:42 NIV.
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously. Psalm 37:21 NIV.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 NIV.
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7 NIV.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12 NIV.
Money can be a blessing or a curse if one does not understand God’s principles for money. Your marriage should be about your relationship with God and your spouse, not tangible goods. Money problems are exacerbated when there is a lack of communication. Suppose you allow the stress of money and lack of communication to fester; tensions and anger increase to self-destruct your marriage. In the end, love suffers, and poverty increases.
If money becomes an issue in your home, fix the problem and control your spending. Less is more and gives the greatest fulfillment and joy. It is also less burdensome, giving you more freedom. It might be hard to see this when you are struggling for money and think you may be poor. However, you are not poor, and God is with you to accomplish everything. If you are successful at making wealth, don’t use it to gain power over the other in the relationship.
Although God says to be generous to those who have less than you, you still need to be wise and know the impact of your generosity. We should not disturb the micro-economy of others. God provides for all, rich and poor, to be content with their circumstances and what they have. We do not understand God’s way and his ways are perfect. It doesn’t mean we can’t help the poor; we should give generously and fill the needs of others. However, any business scheme like micro-lending to help raise the poor will only become disastrous to enslave the poor even further. No matter what the situation is, the voice of God is what will lead you in the right direction.
The key takeaway from this book is never to take your spouse and home life for granted. If you are blessed to have a loving, godly spouse and children, you have a purpose to serve God in your marriage and raise the next generation in His image.
Marriage is a test of endurance and should be thought of it as such to last your lifetimes. God hates divorce, and so should you.
God ordained hierarchy and gender roles within a marriage. To have a happy marriage, you must align yourselves to God’s way for a godly husband and godly wife to live together as one flesh.
You cannot forget the little things to bring joy and happiness to your partner. Life will be difficult, but love covers all sins. Your understanding and compassion toward your partner will go a long way to persevere through the hard times that will surely come.
Protect your marriage from the outside world where ungodly influences and people can enter with your permission to plant seeds of destruction. If you need help, seek other trusted Believers or your Pastor to help guide you and your spouse to better times.
Most important of all, don’t give up on your partner. You both are human beings prone to make mistakes and sin against the other. You must forgive each other as often as needed to stay on course.
Sex is an integral part of your relationship to connect with your spouse and create intimacy to build a strong bond so that no one is tempted to seek it elsewhere and cause infidelity. If your spouse cheats on you, pray to God to help you figure out what is best to restore your marriage or leave it.
Finally, money can be a massive trap if young people don’t learn how to manage their money and live within their means early. Getting into debt bondage can easily break a marriage and cause lifelong lessons of hardships that require God’s deliverance. So it's best to never get into debt and be content with what you have. God will always open doors for you to live within your means. Whatever you borrow, pay it off quickly.
Hopefully, you have gained some wisdom by reading this book to help you and your marriage to navigate around many icebergs that come along. You should sail through the waters successfully if you follow God’s Word and wisdom for marriage and life. If you face any given issues outlined in this book, it will be good to refer back to that chapter and reread it to understand better. No marriage is going to look the same. However, God’s Word never changes and applies to all people who hear His calling.