The Love of Money and Lack of Common Sense

I told a recent marriage seminar group "If you're married and you never argue, one of you is dead."

Obviously that's a (slight) overstatement, but the truth is nearly all couples argue from time to time. What do they argue about"? Relationship therapist Paula Hall says the top five things that couples argue about are:

• Money
• Sex
• Work
• Children
• Housework

We'll look at each of those in the weeks ahead. This week: money

Every couple has money trouble of some kind but two news stories highlight unusual family financial fiascoes.

First item, Los Angeles, California: Writer Steve Young tried to “sell” his family on E-Bay for five million dollars. Young and his family posted an auction item on the internet website offering to provide a “lifetime of platonic companionship, including invitations to family outings and holiday gatherings as well as tips on writing, gardening and cooking” for a minimum bid of five million dollars. The Young's offered to move to any location, become the winner’s “family” and adopt the winner’s surname. The Young’s E-Bay item received more than 10,000 hits within minutes of its posting but E-Bay pulled it before a deal could be completed (the company has a policy against the sale of humans). Mr. Young was disappointed. “You have patrons of the arts, museums and charities. I wanted a patron for my family,” he said.

Second item, Barnegat, New Jersey: The entire family of Kevin and Kathleen Jones was charged with robbery and conspiracy in connection with a bank robbery planned and carried out by the fourteen year old twin daughters. The Jones were facing medical and financial problems, including a home foreclosure so the twins decided to do something about it. They planned to rob a bank. Their mother discovered the plan, but instead of trying to talk the girls out of it, mom became the “wheel man” (or perhaps, “wheel-mom“). After robbing the bank with a toy gun, the entire family took the $3,050 and drove to Atlantic City where the girls hung out on the Boardwalk while the parents gambled. Three days later a SWAT team burst into the family home at dinnertime and arrested the Jones’ gang. Kevin Jones explained his wife’s involvement by saying, “It was the children that thought this up, not Kathleen. She woke up one morning and caught them stealing my car to do a robbery. She decided to drive the car to make sure her kids were safe and that whatever happened to them would happen to her.”

The love of money not only sucks the milk of human kindness out of people but often their common sense as well. Dumb ideas about money can lead a husband to put his family on an internet auction block or put a wife behind the wheel of a get-away car.

In these tough economic times there is no denying that family financial needs are great and many have to pinch pennies and make them squeal. But when money is tight, couples must keep their head about them and live a life of frugality and wisdom. No chasing the elusive quick buck. No compromise on values. No turning your head to wrongdoing. Money makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master.

Controlling spending habits and cultivating saving habits are slow, but proven ways of dealing with runaway finances. Want to argue less about money? Think carefully about your financial situation. Where does our money go? How can we get a handle on our spending? Then make the difficult decisions and take the actions necessary to tame the money monster in your home.

Don't know where to start?

You might also want to consider attending Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" scheduled for February 19 at the Oklahoma City Cox Convention Center. Many couples have received real, practical help with their finances from Ramsey. For more information visit

Or find a class -
Navigating the Financial Roadway: Finding God’s Plan for Living Well
Financial Peace 

Thought for the week: “Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is.”

By Jim Priest

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