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Are You and Your Date Money Compatible?

As you pray about and pursue relationships, consider these three steps to find your match.

A recent college grad and his girlfriend had been dating for almost three years, and things were going very well. You could say they were “serious.” Neither one had ever dated anyone else for this long.

They enjoyed silly games, working out, and healthy debates about editorials in the paper. They knew a lot of the same people, and both were very interested in finding “the one” and starting a family. And then five roast beef sandwiches ruined everything.

One night at a hockey game, Kim hit a wall. (Although hitting walls is standard for hockey players, Kim wasn’t suited up.) The evening started out great: Dave had landed two fantastic seats from a friend — not too close to the sweat and blood, but near enough to hear the slap of the sticks on the ice. They were enjoying the rowdy fans, thumping music, and frenzied anticipation of another win — and then it started, or should we say, ended.

Kim was hungry. She got up from her seat and informed Dave she was going to get a sandwich.

Dave grabbed her hand. “No, wait. If you hold off until after the second period, you can get five sandwiches for the price of one. Don’t get one now! Just wait.”

“But I’m hungry now. And I don’t want five sandwiches!”

“But you could save some for tomorrow.”

“I don’t want four sandwiches tomorrow. I want one. Now!”

Cross-check! Kim felt like she’d taken a hockey stick to the head. Were they really having this same discussion — again? Dave was always trying to save money. Did he ever think of anything else? Little did she know, he thought he was thinking of her.

There is hardly a day that goes by without a decision to be made about money. Fancy coffee-to-go or cheap cup at home? Smart phone or same-ole-dumb one? Bargain sandwiches later or one full-price now? Brand name groceries or store brand? Gym membership or jogging in the park? Avoiding money doesn’t appear to be a feasible option for any of us, so it helps to understand how we view our daily spending.

We can surmise that Jesus knew money would greatly affect our daily lives since He talks more often about money than any other topic in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10 encourages Timothy to warn people that money should never get in the way of relationship.

As you pray about and pursue the relationships God has in store for you, consider these three steps to find your match:

1. Identify any differences in how you view money.

When you’re first dating someone, everything is new. Every story, every fact, every moment. Your senses are practically on overload, taking in as much information as they can — the sights, the sounds and the smells — good and bad. You even notice little things that you can’t put your finger on later when you’re trying to relay the details to your friends.

One important, but often overlooked, aspect to notice is the way your date views money. Does he check the bill over before signing it? Does she suggest taking in a matinee instead of an evening flick? Does he prefer a high-end steak house or the local burger joint? Does she jump at the chance to take a risk and try something new? Does he seem to not have money on his radar at all?

Identifying a person’s view on money can be a useful bit of information. We all view money uniquely. It helps to consider now how that person thinks of or uses money since it’ll affect you on a daily basis if your relationship gets serious.

2. Realize you can’t change a person’s view of money.

Any third-grade science class can tell you opposites attract: tall and short, outgoing and shy, boisterous and reserved, spendthrift and penny-pincher. We’re often attracted to a person who has a different view of money. In fact, 84 percent of couples married their money opposite — someone who approaches money 180 degrees different from them.

And often, if they don’t think the way we do — the right way! — we try to change them.

Your view (and your potential mate’s view) of money started long before you met and long before your first crush on the playground. We’re born with our bent for money, hard-wired into our very God-given nature. We know this because we can see it in children before they have any idea how to transfer funds. Watch a group of kids with a pile of candy in front of each one, and you’ll see the different ways they approach their newfound commerce.

We talked to a lovely young lady at a large conference who was so animated and fun. She described her excitement over her new boyfriend with his new job, new home, new gadgets, new wardrobe and their picture-perfect dates — sky diving, moonlit boating, private movie screenings. She was certain it was just a “dating” phase, and she just knew “once we’re married, he’ll want to stick to my budget. Right?” You can probably guess what we told her.

You can’t change them, so don’t try!

3. Determine if you can live with it.

If your relationship is getting ready for “the next level,” you should determine if their view of money is one you can live with. One you want to live with — for better or worse, richer or poorer.

It’s until “death” do we part, not until “debt” do we part.

Once you’re sure you understand where they’re coming from, determine if you are willing to compromise your stance on money to work with theirs. Are you willing to allow them to be who they are?

A famous cleric and counselor once said, “The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” Opposite viewpoints can provide tremendous balance and strength to a relationship. The differences can complement one another and provide a safety net against extremes on either end of the scale.

If there’s still a tiny voice in your head saying, Nah, mine’s different. They’ll change. See point No. 2.

We know God wants us to find our matchless match because His Word is full of love and reminds us “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ESV). God also desires that the union of a husband and wife remain as one, so much prayer and intentionality are required in a God-fearing search for a compatible mate.

We pray these three steps will help you better evaluate your date’s view of money because our Matchless King desires only the best for you. We’d love to hear your success stories or struggles at [email protected].

Copyright 2013 The Money Couple. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Scott and Bethany Palmer
Scott and Bethany Palmer

Scott and Bethany Palmer, The Money Couple®, are love and money experts, authors and speakers. They have 20 years of financial-advising experience, and together they help couples solve money issues in their relationships. They wrote “The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language.” To learn more about your “Money Personality,” take the free online assessment.

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