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What’s Money Got to Do With It?

“For the love of money is the root of all evil…But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” – 1 Timothy 6:10-11

February is an ideal time to reflect on the role money plays in your relationship, regardless of whether you are married or single. The song and movie “What’s Love Got to do with It?” which portray Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship reminds us that partners in a relationship may not be equally yoked by love for each other. One or both partners may have other motives in the relationship. Unfortunately, too often money is the glue that binds the relationship together.

A partner may want to maintain control over the other partner by making that person financially dependent upon himself or herself.  An example could be a husband who does not want his wife to work regardless of the need for additional income in the household and her employable skill set.  Or one partner’s primary objective in the relationship may be the assurance that all their needs and wants will be met.  Sometimes this desire for financial security is evident in relationships where there is a big age difference, a young and old partner. And, of course, there are partners who are financial parasites; they want someone else to take care of them. These scenarios reflect relationships that may form between married or single persons.

Although a dowry is not required in our culture as in some cultures, too often the concept is practiced incognito as evidenced in the interpersonal relationships among partners’ family members. In an effort to obtain acceptance or friendship a partner will shower in-laws with gifts, money, and other tangible benefits without any expectation of reciprocity. The giver may not be conscious that their generosity springs from this emotional need; however, the recipients usually expect payment in some form. Of course we do not want to acknowledge that this type of behavior exists; but, it is an unspoken reality that can have dire emotional consequences.

As there is nothing new regarding human behavior (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10), the Bible records numerous relationships based on motives other than love, including money.  Chapters 29-31 of the book of Genesis tell the story of how Jacob, who loved Rachel, was taken advantage of by her father, Laban, for his personal gain. And in Judges, chapter 16, Delilah accepted a bribe from the Philistines to discover the source of Samson’s strength and deliver him over to them.

When money dominates relationships the consequences can be disastrous. However, genuine love nurtures trust which evolves into a mature relationship.  The relationship between Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, is the ideal model to emulate in all aspects of our love relationships.

The question is whether your relationship is genuinely based on love and respect for your partner. Or, are you committed to the relationship for reasons other than love, with love taking second place to financial control, financial security, or material benefits. Only you and the Lord know the answer to this question. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20)