Finances can be a contentious subject for a couple, and if you and your spouse don’t agree on whether or not to tithe or on how much to tithe, this can cause problems in your marriage. Just like with other financial subjects, though, you must come to a mutual decision or it will continue to cause dissension between you and your partner. So how do you address this issue?

Your marriage is worth more than your tithe

First, you must remember that maintaining a healthy marriage is much more important than giving 10 percent of your income to the church. The Bible has a few passages that encourage you to tithe (Mal. 3:10 is used most often), but it has many more passages that encourage you to maintain healthy relationships, especially with your spouse. Some of these include Rom. 12:10, Eph. 5:21, Eph. 4:2-3, and Col. 3:14.

That does not mean you should simply give in to whatever your spouse decides about tithing. A healthy relationship involves coming to a decision that is satisfactory for both parties. Sit down with your spouse and discuss your reasons for wanting to tithe. He or she may not even be aware of why you want to tithe. This means you must also listen to their reasons why they don’t want to tithe, and you may have to come to a compromise.

For example, maybe your spouse is concerned you can’t afford to give 10 percent of your income. You could suggest that you start instead with 5 percent to see how God blesses, and then schedule a time in maybe six months to reconvene and reassess. Maybe then you could increase it to 10 percent.

If your spouse still resists to you giving any tithe, the best option may be to let it go for the time being. People’s opinions on subjects like these often change over time, and they may just take a while to accept your view on tithing. It is better to handle it peacefully than to make it into an issue that drives a wedge into your relationship.

God loves a cheerful giver

God does not need your money, so why should you tithe? Tithing is about much more than sustaining a church or funding a mission. This is why you should work together with your spouse to find what you are both excited about supporting. 2 Cor. 9:6-7 says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It may be that your spouse just doesn’t see the need to support what you are giving your tithe to.

If you are married, you should share some common interests and goals, and if you are both Christian some of those are probably church-related. You may be able to sit down with your spouse and find things that both of you agree should be supported through your tithes and offerings.

Have patience

If you and your spouse disagree on religious subjects, patience is a virtue you should practice often. For example, if your spouse refuses to compromise on a subject like tithe, think more about the long-term than the short-term. Instead of trying to argue your spouse into tithing as soon as you can, think more about how you can influence your spouse to gladly give a practice like tithe a chance so he or she can see how God works. Who knows? Maybe your patience will cause a transformation in your spouse that you didn’t know was possible.