A wife (HisHelper) responded to my post last week about giving the finances to our husbands. I followed Laura Doyle’s suggestion in “The Surrendered Wife” and gave the bill-paying and finances to my husband – and that REALLY helped me step down out of control and allowed him to take on much more leadership. He was VERY insistent on this – and that is certainly his right as the leader. One thing that “The Surrendered Wife” book doesn’t talk about is the concept of being a helpmeet. And that is what we are clearly called to be as Christian wives. This wife’s husband wanted HER to handle the actual paying the bills and financial paperwork – but allow HIM to make the final decisions. I think she has some really valuable points for wives in this position. Thank you SO much to this wife for sharing what God and her husband taught her! What a BEAUTIFUL, GODLY spirit of submission and respect God has developed in this precious wife. I LOVE her perspective and wisdom.
If a husband has made it clear what his desire is, regarding who is to take care of the finances (paying bills, filling out tax forms, etc–I’m NOT talking about a wife making the financial decisions) then a wife who decides that she doesn’t want that weight and decides to put it back on him is not following the leadership of her husband. This thought was the “red flag” that I ignored before I attempted to hand everything over to him. I knew deep down that doing this would be usurping my husband’s leadership, but I foolishly ignored the warning.
As I said above, I’d rather not have ANY of the weight of the finances as far as looking at the balances, but that is what my husband has delegated to me. Because of that, for me it is not an option to say that I’m going to choose not to do this or give it back to my husband, as Laura Doyle describes. I know the Lord will provide the strength, the means, and the way to honor my husband’s decision, and have the faith that the Lord can change his heart at any time on this should the Lord determine that I should not be working as “treasurer” for our family.
It actually isn’t a big deal to me now. Before I do the balances to give him a report, I determine that I will not become emotionally involved, and remind myself NOT to analyze our financial status. It has been a good exercise in self control, and as I see him make decisions based on the information I give him, my confidence in his decision making and leadership of our finances has grown!
The above scenario that happened to me may never apply to most other marriages, I don’t know…but I did want to share my experience. As I said in my original comment, I believe I was trying to fix something that wasn’t broken in regards to the carrying out of financial decisions in our family!
I think detaching myself emotionally in performing the financial tasks that my husband asks me to do is very similar to how I’ve had to learn to control my emotions in the other areas of my marriage in which I submit to my husband. For me, those emotions are linked to control and fear: my tendency to want to have control, and my fear of what would happen if I relinquished control (Ironically, I never actually had control in the first place! In nagging and manipulating I was TRYING to control, but my husband thankfully always refused to be controlled, and I sadly made his life miserable as he dragged me along as he led!)
Controlling my thoughts have played a HUGE part in controlling my emotions. My husband and I were raised very differently in how to handle money. I always arrogantly thought that my way was better than his…that his way was wrong and mine was right. In the past, when I sat down to look at the balances of the bank accounts to give my husband an update, I would be so fearful of what numbers I would see. I dreaded doing this task. My thoughts would then obsessively race as to how we should be doing things differently. There was always that silent lecture in my head that I wanted to give my husband on what he was doing wrong and what we needed to change. I was ruled by my emotions, my arrogance, my unrestrained thoughts.
Now, I understand the authority I have, though the power of the Holy Spirit, to tell my flesh, “No.”…to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5)…to combat lies with truth. Fear sometimes still tries to sneak up on me. And so, I speak the truth before I open up the books to figure out the balances. I tell myself that MY ideas on handling the finances are NOT better, they are just different. I remind myself that harmony in my marriage is far more important than doing things my way. I am THANKFUL that I DON’T bear the responsibility for the decisions made in regards to our finances. So, as I look at the numbers, decision making is not something with which I even need to concern myself. I remind myself that my husband is a great provider, that he actually DOES make good financial decisions and we are going to be ok. I then report to my husband the numbers, giving him just the facts, and not my commentary along with it!
Finally, FINALLY after fifteen years of marriage, I am relieved and content that I don’t have to figure it all out. I can REST in my husband’s doing so with God’s help. When there are times I disagree with how we spend the money, rather than stewing in criticism, I now enjoy the expensive dinner, or outing that my husband has so graciously lavished on me and my family, and thank the Lord for giving me a husband who loves me so much to want to share it with me.
I still have so far to go…As many years as I’ve known about and tried to live out Biblical submission, my eyes have only been truly open to this for a few months. I still reap the consequences of disrespecting my husband for so many years. But, I have peace that I am finally doing what is right, and God is more than able, in His time, to “restore to us the years that the locust have eaten.” (Joel 2:25).
You have such a wealth of practical, Biblical information here!…Much of what I’ve written are things the Lord has impressed upon my heart from reading this blog and the books you recommend! I hope that hearing those things stated in a different way, by someone new, and seeing how it was practically applied specifically to my life would indeed be of help to your readers!