If Your Husband Insists on You Handling the Finances – Honoring His Leadership

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!

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40 Comments on “If Your Husband Insists on You Handling the Finances – Honoring His Leadership”

  1. Martha
    October 17, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    I thank this wife for sharing her perspective on finances. Although in the past, I did feel the weight (and control) of being responsible for the finances, my attitude has shifted as I recognized my sinfulness and disrespect of my husband. We had a great discussion when I attempted to hand the finances over to him. He has made it lovingly clear that he has delegated through his leadership my role as the bookkeeper (I am not the decision maker.) And, he has expressed many times that this blesses him. My challenge and prayer is to keep my heart pure from the sin of trying to take control of financial decisions again.

    • peacefulwife
      October 17, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Martha,
      Thank you for sharing your story, too. And for sharing how God has changed your attitude. LOVELY!

  2. Ann @ Being a Woman of the Bible
    October 17, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Excellent post! I am in the same situation; my husband is away from home A LOT for his work so it is impossible for him to keep up with paying the bills/watching the budget–he says my doing it, even my making the smaller financial decisions, keeps his brain from getting “clogged.” He knows I will come to him for all the “biggies” or if I don’t know what to do about something; he trusts me to handle the rest. He recognizes the danger of me becoming overly possessive of the financial picture, and the inherent potential for my disrespecting him, but he has made this decision and I need to abide by it. MY JOB is to work hard at not letting attitudes of “my way is the right way” and “I am going to tell him what he has done wrong” etc etc overtake my mind. I need to pray while I am doing the finances that I will be humble and honest and transparent, that I will honor my husband and not be critical of his spending, that I will TRUST GOD for the end result. It’s really not much different than being in charge of the grocery shopping and cooking–those, too, he has ultimate control of and can give direction about at any time, and I need to maintain humility about them and not see them as “my turf.” So I don’t see my doing the finances as an inherently bad thing that must be given back to him whether he wants it or not–Scripture doesn’t specify that the husband must do it–it’s just another area where I must crucify my will and trust God. But then, that’s no different than ALL OF THE REST OF MY LIFE!! LOL! :-)

    • peacefulwife
      October 17, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Ann -beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I love to see such a humble, submissive, husband-honoring, Christ-honoring attitude.

  3. Nicole Elliott
    October 17, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Both of these posts were both JUST what I needed! Like the lady above my hubby has made it clear that he is more comfortable with me handling the logistics of the finances-with his work that puts him away often and work odd hours-plus the fact that he hates balancing a checkbook and I took accounting in college-just seems to “make sense” .

    However your first post helped me to realize that even though I’m submitting by doing this-I was doing it with completely the wrong spirit! I thought that because i “handle” the finances it’s my responsibility to control and determine where they go (although he’s the one working) I found myself lecturing him like a child about the fact that we couldn’t possibly afford a new vehicle. Your first post brought to light that although I’ve tried to be a submissive, respectful wife for years there are still plenty of areas that I really need God’s help with!!!

    • peacefulwife
      October 17, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      I love hearing different wives’ perspectives and what God has taught them and how they learn to submit cheerfully. I think it is SO helpful because sometimes one new little idea makes everything suddenly click. Thank You, God for the example of godly wives for us to learn from!

  4. Heather
    October 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    It is amazing to see how the Lord can bring about a peaceful and obedient spirit in spite of the circumstances :)

  5. Lavishlyloved
    October 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you so much for this very helpful article! This is my situation & I am thankful for your perspective on this! Your suggestions are excellent & I plan to implement them with the next bill paying day. I’ve printed this article out & intend to reread it each time I do the bills until it genuinely sinks in & becomes habit. I love the concept of controlling my emotions & just presenting the facts without commentary. I can foresee that I will be praying for my husband’s financial leadership as I work my way thru bill time : )

  6. HisHelper
    October 19, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Lavishlyloved, and others who have replied, this is HisHelper whose comments were featured in this blog post.

    After writing those comments, the past few days I’m really being tested in this!…It has been a struggle to control my thoughts about some of the spending!! (These are irrational fears, not warranted by anything my husband has actually done!) So, I just want to encourage you to stand strong! The biggest key for me, as soon as I realize I’m heading back to my old ways of thinking, is to STOP those critical thoughts in their tracks! I literally tell myself “NO!”–sometimes out loud!! :-) And then, REPLACE those thoughts with truth. For me, it is a spiritual battle! I repeat that I am a child of the King, that I have been bought with the blood of Jesus, and I will NOT be a slave to sin! I affirm that Satan cannot have his influence anymore. I have been given all the power of heaven to overcome this because of the victory of Jesus on the cross.

    It wasn’t until I saw my struggle as a SPIRITUAL battle that I have started seeing victory in this. Up to that point I felt utterly defeated every time I stumbled. The Father of Lies would rub it in and convince me things were hopeless. For YEARS I believed I was powerless against it. I was SO wrong!! It was by FAITH that I believed what the Lord says in His Word. HIS strength is always accessible to those who choose by faith to access it. “For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power:” Colossians 2:9-10. I know I needed this reminder today! I hope it offers hope to others too! :-)

    • Heather
      October 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Thank you for the additional insight, HisHelper. Your comment reminds me of the James 4:7 instruction: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

      I suspect many of us have engaged the enemy while completely unprepared for the strength with which he will oppose any and all effort to honor the Lord–filling our heads with lies about whether we can actually win the battle. It’s too much for us to handle on our own. But in Christ’s strength, anything He’s instructed us to do is possible!

      • peacefulwife
        October 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

        Heather, You are so very right! This is a huge spiritual battle. And we usually don’t even realize that – no wonder we stumble – we aren’t expecting to be attacked and we are unprepared.

        And THANK GOD that He gives us His Spirit and power to do these things! It’s amazing – the most beautiful thing in the world – to watch God at work in a wife and in a marriage. I love it when God lets me have a front row seat to witness the changes and miracles He has in store.

    • Lavishlyloved
      October 21, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      HisHelper ~
      Isn’t that how it happens! We speak truth & then boom! the test?! My husband & I attended Dr Eggerich’s Love & Respect Conference this weekend -awesome, incredible, beautiful! On the way home we were discussing things & out of nowhere I felt the old me rising up -yikes! I then reminded myself of the truth -I HAVE planted my stake; I WILL live what I believe; I DO desire to obey Christ regardless of the cost. My reward is Him.

      You wrote, “The biggest key for me, as soon as I realize I’m heading back to my old ways of thinking, is to STOP those critical thoughts in their tracks! I literally tell myself “NO!”–sometimes out loud!! :-) And then, REPLACE those thoughts with truth. For me, it is a spiritual battle! I repeat that I am a child of the King, that I have been bought with the blood of Jesus, and I will NOT be a slave to sin! I affirm that Satan cannot have his influence anymore. I have been given all the power of heaven to overcome this because of the victory of Jesus on the cross.”

      I want to encourage you that you are on the right track. My husband & I are attending Life Skills Int. -Dr Paul Hegstrom’s program -it is all about renewing/rewiring our brains to truth & reality [God's truth] & bringing down old thought patterns/lies/misperceptions. It is a physiological fact that we can rewire our brains thru speaking truth OUT LOUD to ourselves as our brains listens to our voice primarily -which is why it is also important to carefully watch what we say out loud about ourselves or others. Do you know when we “curse”/speak ill of others our brain registers it about us & we are literally “cursing” ourselves -YIKES!

      There are some excellent videos on YouTube by Dr Hegstrom & by another believer, Dr Caroline Leaf, who is a neuroscientist,on this topic of renewing our minds & how old toxic axions can be dissolved & new ones based on God’s truth grown in our brains.

      Thank you for your vulnerability, wisdom & encouragement!

      • HisHelper
        October 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

        That’s fascinating, LavishlyLoved, about cursing yourself when you speak ugly words to others! I’ll have to check out those YouTube videos!

  7. Michelle
    October 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Sigh… I’m a Chartered Accountant. My husband detests dealing with anything financial. It makes sense for me to handle our finances! He thinks so. He irons his own shirts. I detest ironing buttoned shirts. Fair trade.

    • peacefulwife
      October 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

      Hmm… not having to iron shirts? That could definitely be a winning deal for you! :) Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

  8. Lally
    June 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi! I was actually in dilemma right now because i my husband and i have not established yet who is to be the controller of the finances. We have some min of separte fiannces. We really havent talked about it. But then i read the surrendered wife and just 2 days ago, i told him i am reliquishing my control over the finances because i have been nagging him about it but yet i am not doing and havent done anything about it. I decided to give him full control including the bills at home, he agreed on the first part of that sentence but then he said that i have to be the one monitoring the bills and he will just be the one to give me money for those. He’s delegating me to monitor the bills. I always have this notion that he is avoiding responsiblity (so mean of me!) and i was thinking that letting him handle all the bills will make him a more responsible person. So that makes me in this dilemma.. Should i just obey him or should i just let him handle everything? Im confused beause im also thinking about his leadership. Then again, having it my way is definitely not following his lead. So i guess i just have to follow what he says?

    • peacefulwife
      June 12, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      Lally,

      I have 3 posts about this topic.

      I followed what The Surrendered Wife book said a few years ago and just said, “I can’t do the finances anymore. Here are the passwords. Thanks!”

      Some wives have obviously been in a position like you have -like the author of this post. I think that if you are sure you are not trying to control him and you are reporting in to him, that he is the ultimate authority – it would be fine.

      One wife told her husband something like “I can’t do the finances anymore. It makes me feel too in charge and too much in control, and then I start to sin against you by trying to usurp control and against God.”

      If he said he wants you to handle the bills – then do what he has asked you to do. If you find that you are not respecting his leadership – then you may have to ask him to be more involved. But I think that it is definitely possible to honor his leadership and handle the bills – the way this wife did in the post.

      At this point, cooperating with what he asked you to do would be wise, in my view. :)

      • HisHelper
        June 12, 2013 at 8:09 am #

        I’ll second what April advises, Lally. You came to your husband, willingly handing over everything to him, and he, as your head, instructed you to monitor the bills. This is the way he needs you to help him at this time. You are not taking responsibility back from him–anyone can keep up with the due dates, write out a check, put a stamp on an envelope and put it in the mail. Doing those things is not making financial decisions. It is not usurping authority or taking control of anything. Because he has asked you to to these things, this is being the helper to your husband that he needs you to be.

        One bit of warning, though! You can easily jerk that financial responsibility out from under your husband by judging what you think he is doing wrong with the finances, by making your own plans as to how debts should be paid, how the money is to be spent, etc. As I stated in the post above, praying for the correct mindset, and taking every thought captive before delving in to the bill paying, or checking account balances for your husband is a must!!!

        We may not like having to have ANY dealings with the bills, but for this moment in time, it is what our husbands want, and we can do this for them with cheerful hearts, not allowing fear or the desire to control creep in! :-)

        -HisHelper

      • Lally
        June 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

        Thank you for your answers! I appreciate them! I will heed your advice. :) and i hope there is a what we call surrendered circle here, i am finding this surrenderin thing a struggle. But i am willing to change, it is not just easy. Today, i am reading sacred influence by gary thomas. Nice book i’d say.

        • peacefulwife
          June 13, 2013 at 8:05 am #

          Lally,

          You are welcome to comment on any of the posts, many of the wives will be glad to discuss things with you, and I certainly am always glad to talk about anything! You may also email me at aprilc@sc.rr.com any time. I also have a Peacefulwife FB page and there are often discussions there.

          I LOVE Sacred Influence!!!! That is a powerful book!

          I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!

  9. Bridget
    July 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Thank you for all of these posts. I am still very new on this respect journey (and failing daily). My husband and I still have separate bank accounts and separate credit cards. The mortgage comes out of his account. Most of the orher bills I handle, then compensate if there is a difference. I have mentioned before that we needed to save money and cut back on bills. But it doesn’t ever happen. Over the past couple of weeks, as I have been learning about respect, I mentioned joining our accounts and him handling the finances. He seems open to joining accounts, but he wants me to handle the finances. Since I don’t know if he will follow through or not (mostly because he will forget and I don’t want to nag), I feel that having all the bills coming out of his account (and then I will transfer half the money to him) will at least make him more mindful of our finances when he balances his checkbook. Thanks again. I am learning a lot every day as I read these posts!

    • peacefulwife
      July 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Bridget,
      YOu are very welcome! I think it is a great idea to join accounts. If he is in favor of that, great!

      If he asks you to handle it – you can -as long as you are able to refrain from telling him what to do or feeling that you need to be in control.

      Is he a believer?

      If he is a believer, and you are struggling with wanting to control the finances, eventually, you can share your struggle with him and tell him that you believe you would be able to be less tempted to try to take control if you were not handling the finances and that you want to honor his leadership and see what he thinks.

      • Bridget
        July 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

        Yes, he is a believer. But I guess he is also new to this stuff too. If I mention that he should be the leader, he listens and seems to absorb that. But if I ask if there is anything I can do different (like you suggested in a post, can’t remember exact wording) or if I apologize for being disrespectful, he just laughs like I’m crazy. So I think we both have a long way to go.

        • peacefulwife
          July 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

          Bridget,

          Men have been soaking in this ungodly culture all their lives, too, just like we have. Many of them have not questioned the way things are. Many are afraid to talk about feeling disrespected for fear they will be labeled chauvinists.

          Use words like this:
          - I trust you.
          - I believe in you.
          - What do you think would be best?
          - I am proud of you.
          - You did an amazing job.
          - You are a wonderful husband.
          - I feel so safe with you.
          - Thank you for protecting me.
          - Thank you for being such a good provider and for working so hard to make sure we have all we need.
          - I want to do X. (Then let him decide what he thinks and what he wants, too.)
          - if the two of you cannot agree about something, say, “I really want to do X. But I know you are accountable to God for this, not me. So whatever you think is best is fine with me. I trust your wisdom.”

          It can be a weird and scary thing at first as men realize their wives are stepping down. You can search a post on my home page called “A Husband Answers a Wife’s Question”. It is about why a husband might be nervous to lead, from the beginning of May.

          It takes time for men to believe what they are seeing is real. There is a wide variety of reactions from husbands as they become confused and unsure about what their wives are doing and why. But, in time, as you respect and build him up and praise his leadership and cooperate with him, he will become a stronger and stronger leader. It is the most amazing thing to watch as he starts to stand taller and become more confident in his abilities. And then he feels the pressure and accountability of the weight of his decisions and really wants to please God.

          So, be patient with him. If the word respect freaks him out, use alternatives for awhile instead. I feel confident he will get used to it and love it in time. :)

          • Bridget
            July 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

            Thank you so much for your advice and taking the time to answer. I know you are a extremely busy. You are such a blessing! :) I will definitely try your suggestions.

    • Glenn
      May 1, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      I’m in somewhat of a similar situation although my husband doesn’t want us to combine our money. How are things going so far? Are you able to pay bills without obsessing about it?? I would love to hear.
      The finances are such a burden for me and they make me feel like I’m in charge. In the past my husband hasn’t wanted to change anything. I am seeking God and praying that there may be a different outcome if I approach him respectfully this time.

  10. Wanda Rodgers
    September 2, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I am so very thankful that I have found this blog site. It is exactly what I have needed for encouragement in my journey to be a submissive wife to hold my husband’s arms up and stand by him in encouragement that he is indeed walking as God instructs. Over the years I have become more and more involved in church leadership and activities to the point where it has caused problems at times in our home life. Recently after 8 years of my husband attending church with me he has decided to step down from his place on our praise team and to step out of our church. I have tried to understand his decisions and have continued to encourage him but I am feeling such a loss. There are commitments that I have that I have asked him to allow me to finish out my term and then because we do not believe in worshipping separate, I would join him and we would find “our” church together. You see when we married we went to “his” church where he grew up in, then we both were hit and miss at church but in 2004 the Lord began to draw me and I returned to the church I grew up in and rededicated my life to the Lord and was Holy Spirit filled and the journey has been on the fast track ever since. My husband was raised Baptist, and I was raised Pentecostal. I love people, I love being involved in the Lord’s work, I especially love studying his Word. The doors began to open where I became our Women’s Ministry Director, and then our State District WM Director, I sing on our Praise and Worship Team, and I teach a middle adult Sunday School class. God has impressed upon me this past year to begin studying on the subject of Grace and Submission and wow, how my eyes have been opened. At 60 years old I am now seeing so many errors of my ways, yes God has blessed our lives in so many ways but I am not seeing that his desire is to carry those blessings to a new level by opening my eyes to walk in his ways because I know his ways work! I am struggling with changing churches, but am realizing that what I have been praying for my husband in his spiritual growth and leadership God is doing just that, just not the way that “I” thought he would. So I am learning to trust more and he is teaching me in the trust that indeed his way is for my good and his glory. This article on finances has indeed pricked my spirit and I too realize that this is simply another area that God is working on with me. So I will indeed be in prayer about how to begin releasing because it is no longer a question of “do I need to do this”, I too realize that even though my husband wants me to handle the finances, I need him to take control so that I will be free to fully share my feelings of inadequacy in some areas and so often I try to carry the burden of shifting finances because I have felt it would keep the worry off of him because he has so much on him with some health issues. But I now realize this is a cop-out by me. I could write so much more but for now, thank you for the blessing of seeing that I do not walk alone in my human insecurities even when I am a strong woman because God indeed is my strength. I will simply step-out and trust God to open a whole new area for my husband to lead and for me to be truly his help-meet knowing we both have ministries that God will use in unity.

    • peacefulwife
      September 2, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Wanda,
      I am so excited to see what God is teaching you!!!!!

      I have a post about how Christian Ministry can Detroy a Marriage. You can search Christian Ministry on my home page and the post should come up.

      I also have posts about Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Don’s Aleays Notice

      And I have posts about supporting our husbands’ spiritual leadership. There are several around the end of August and beginning of last Sept of 2012, you can search the blog timeline at the top of my home page.

      I would encourage you to be willing to drop your commitments if that is what your husband wants you to do and for you to allow him to choose the church you both attend and for you to allow him to choose the classes to attend and even where to sit.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you and for His healing in your marriage!

  11. Wanda Rodgers
    September 2, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Sorry for the typo error in my post…..there is a line where “not” should be “now” in seeing God’s blessings

  12. Sherilyn Overstreet
    January 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    I think that husband while still leading & delegating this role to his wife is also doing her a huge service of providing & protecting. Men tend to die before women. I think if he can teach her about how to handle those finances & how he makes those decisions, he is equipping her for the future. The Proverbs 31 woman was not clueless about finances. I think the balance is just not usurping control or being disrespectful. That’s a woman who can laugh without fear of the future!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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