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Does Your Date Donate?

Three quick ways to see if your styles of giving are compatible for the long haul

You like the same sports teams, radio stations, and the same after-work activities. You even agree on paper versus plastic. All in all you’re a pretty compatible couple. But are you compatible when it comes to giving?

Not everyone is. We recently met with a woman who was pulling her hair out, because her husband refuses to give. Period. Zero. Nothing. Not to their church. Not to any charities. Not to their alumni foundation. Not even to little kids’ lemonade stands. She was so frustrated because she personally loves to bless others with giving, but feels like she can’t because of her husband’s attitude.

You can imagine the conflict and strain this difference of opinion puts on their relationship.

We wish this couple had considered this issue before they were married. So if that is still a possibility for your relationship, check out these three quick ways to see if your styles of giving are compatible for the long haul.

1. Evaluate your own giving habits.

Take a good look at your own charitable attitude and giving habits. Are you a cheerful giver? Or are you hesitant to give? Be honest with yourself. We all view money differently, and often that viewpoint affects our feelings about giving.

Who do you enjoy giving to? A mission you feel personally connected to, your church, a foundation working toward a cure, or a grand cause in a far-away land?

How and when do you enjoy giving? Do you need to feel emotionally prompted by a movie, the Spirit, a talk, or a personal tragedy? Do you like to give spontaneously, or would you rather invest time in planning and researching where you give? Do you need to feel good about your own, personal checking account before you “save the world,” or does your personal payroll not affect your giving decisions?

Understanding how you are uniquely wired toward giving will help you better understand your charitable habits and the priority giving has in your life.

2. Discuss their giving habits.

Without judging your loved one, talk through his or her feelings about giving. Does she love it? Dread it? Has anyone ever modeled that behavior in his life?

Who does she choose to donate her money to? Does he support large groups or small ones, faith-based organizations, ones near and dear to something from his childhood or college days? Or is he sitting the bench when it comes to giving?

If she already gives or has plans to give, how much does she think is a reasonable amount to give to a person, an organization, or a cause? Does he think in set percentages, varying amounts, or more specific buy-a-goat-for-a-hungry-family terms?

Talk a little about when she feels compelled to give. Does she plan in advance, set up a regular withdrawal from her account, or does she give spontaneously or when she feels led?

Not everyone feels compelled to give. The Chronicle of Philanthropy tells us, last year Americans gave away 2 percent of our gross domestic product, and individuals generally gave about 2 percent of their disposable income.

3. Determine if you are a match.

In light of the answers you discovered about yourself and your potential mate, spend some time thinking and praying about whether your styles of giving are compatible. Everyone approaches money from a unique perspective. Take some time to understand the similarities and differences of your approaches. Especially when it comes to giving. Can you appreciate and live with his or her approach to giving?

There is no shortage of verses about giving in the Bible, so you know your personal approach to giving is between you and God. But with the countless ways individuals approach giving, it is critical to consider the compatibility of those approaches with your date before they are your mate.

Our personal mission is to help couples fight less and improve their relationships when it comes to money. Giving is an important part of our relationships, especially for followers of Christ. You can rejoice that you have found someone with whom you have so many things in common; now you can explore your giving compatibility as an important part of your search for your God-given mate.

Copyright 2013 Scott and Bethany Palmer. 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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