After 69 years of marriage, I think my grandparents qualified as marriage experts. They survived as farmers, which is no easy task. They started with nothing, worked hard, gradually obtained farmland, raised crops and cattle, and acquired more farmland.
As we sat on his front lawn one day before he died, my grandfather sighed and speculated that he could have had more if my grandmother had been willing to borrow more.
Though her position had been no debt at all; he wanted to borrow to buy other farms. Their settlement? Borrow smaller amounts to buy smaller pieces of land. Then, pay it off before buying more.
Through years of hard work and wise financial decisions, my grandparents met all their financial goals and had enough saved to last for their entire lives.
As Larry Burkett often said, “If each of you is the same, then one of you is unnecessary.” My grandparents lived that out. She held his excesses in check a bit; he pulled her along to take some risk.
Men and women bring different financial strengths and perspectives to their relationship. Generally speaking, men are willing to take risks to provide for the future. These may be risks with investments or business opportunities. They are willing to make sacrifices to take those risks, such as long hours or debt.
Women tend to prefer security and less risk with debt or investments. They would rather make sacrifices for their family and relationships than for future financial reward.
Notice how these strengths tend to be opposites. Ah, that’s the fun challenge of marriage–maintaining the right balance at the right time between these strengths. If any of these strengths are carried to an extreme, they become a weakness. Our spouse can help us balance out our extremes.
Jeremy L. White