Beware Of Bears

By Jon Acuff

Unless you are deliberate about it, it’s easy to go your whole marriage without really talking about money much. You handle the budget, or your spouse does, and it’s not a topic that comes up that often unless there’s a crisis. I understand that, and I used to be okay with that approach to marriage until I started reading some scary statistics.

Dave often says that the number-one cause of divorce in North America is money fights and money problems. A study from Citibank found that 57% of divorced couples said money fights were the primary reason they didn’t get along. Sure, that seems scary, but the truth is that data alone rarely has teeth. We’re not inspired to change just because we hear a big statistic. We need motivation. We need a story that can help it all make sense.

So here is one about bears, something I originally discussed in my book, Stuff Christians Like.

For easier math, let’s just say that 50% of divorces involve money issues. But instead of money, let’s talk about bears. Imagine that 50% of your neighbors were attacked by bears. That means that of the 10 people in your cul-de-sac, five of them were mauled by bears while at the mailbox, in the driveway, or sitting on the back porch.

Would that change the way you thought about bears?

Would you and your spouse talk about bears more? Would you plan and prepare for bear safety? Would you, as a couple, do everything you could to prevent a bear attack? Would you carry bear spray and learn some sort of bear kung fu?

Of course you would. In a world where 50% of people were attacked by bears, we would all care deeply and passionately about bear preparation.

So why don’t we talk about money with our spouses when we know that over half of all divorces involve money? Why do we think we’ll be part of the minority who won’t get burned by money problems in a marriage? Why aren’t we honest? Why don’t we carve out time from our busy schedules to really work on it?

We don’t, because money can be an uncomfortable topic. But it’s a critical one, too. Talk about it with your spouse. Be honest. Be open. And be ready. The world is crawling with bears.

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