Common Ground

Steve Arterburn

Regardless of whose survey you look at, money always lands near the top of the hot-button issues in marriages. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Whatever is a critical issue in one partner’s life is going to become an issue in the marriage and according to a recent survey by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, 68% of American men are fearful about financial security now and in retirement. Therefore, I can assure you that at least 68% of American marriages have a measure of tension in them as a result.

In 1985, Richard Foster wrote a book titled Money, Sex, and Power: The Challenge of a Disciplined Life. Think of those three subjects in terms of marriage and you’ll identify three prime places for couples to either stand their ground or seek common ground.

Far too often you’ll stand your ground, holding tenaciously to practices and points of view you’ve either learned from your parents or picked up along the way in life. Most couples enter marriage thinking about money the way their parents did’detailed record keeping or constantly overdrawn; poor credit ratings or great credit ratings; disciplined savers or dedicated shoppers; planning for the future or living for today.

Men, money is an important and strategic area upon which to build consensus in your marriage. But it requires making a commitment and connecting with your spouse. The future is coming, like it or not. It’s up to you and her to find common and faithful ground on this important issue.

Mid-Career Assessment

Steve Arterburn

A March 2006 a Harvard Business Review article reported its findings from surveying 7,700 American workers at mid-career. Only 43% said they were passionate about their jobs. Only 33% feel energized by their work. By way of contrast, 36% say they’re in dead-end jobs, and over 40% are suffering from career burnout.

The researchers went on to identify seven common sources of frustration in this demographic group. They are:

1)      Career Bottleneck: Too many people chasing too few upper-level jobs.

2)      Work/Life Tension: Caring for children and parents at the same time.

3)      Lengthening Horizon: Facing the prospect of working longer to fund retirement.

4)      Skills Obsolescence: Catching up with the information age.

5)      Disillusionment With Employer: Insecurity about downsizing; frustrating over the gap between executive and worker compensation.

6)      Burnout: Twenty years down and twenty to thirty more to go.

7)      Disappointment: Career fulfillment a far cry from what they’d imagined.

Perhaps you see a bit of yourself in these findings. I hope you’re among those passionate and energized by your career. But if you’re not, maybe these findings can help you better understand and respond to your situation.

A large percentage of American men in mid-career are considering a career change. This is a big decision. If you’re considering it, I’ll be raising some issues tomorrow that you should give prayerful attention before moving forward. Please join me!