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Money – and the ugly truth.

Wedding rings and money

This is a guest post from one of my prayer partners, Kayla.  I am really excited about what God is doing in her life and all that she is learning.  She is able to explain some of these issues in ways that just MAKE SENSE. God has gifted her with words and the ability to explain things clearly.  I love her writing and I love her heart for Jesus and her heart for marriage.  I know this post will bless you, too!  You can check out her blog at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com

God gave me the pleasure of uncovering the truth about money in my life this week to a new level of understanding that I had never really fully uncovered before.

Money is (hopefully on the way to being “was”) my idol.

But not in the typical way that might be popping into your mind.  I’m not talking about Materialism.  I DO NOT have a desire to have “more” of anything.  Sure, there are things I want, like this REALLY awesome pair of boots I have my eyes on, but I know that I will most likely never own them, and I would never sacrifice what is necessary, be a poor steward, or refuse to give where God is leading just to keep or have more for myself.

Materialism in my mind says that you can find no satisfaction in life because everywhere you look you “want” something or everywhere you look people have “things” that you want and you just can’t find happiness because there is always something more you desperately want to have.

That isn’t me.

I’m talking about Money (NOT materialism) being my God.  Money is my idol.  BECAUSE, money is my security.

I have controlled every aspect of the finances since the day my husband and I started dating.  For one, I’m really good with budgets, researching deals and savings, and I don’t mind at all writing checks and getting things paid on time.

But if THAT was why I was in control of the finances, that’d be one thing.  But that isn’t the only reason that I was.  And I JUST discovered this to the full measure this past week.

It’s because I only trust myself to handle the money and that makes me feel secure.

I have the checkbook balanced to the penny, CONSTANTLY.  There will never be a moment in time when I don’t know to the exact cent, how much money we have.

And if major purchases come up and the money goes down, I’m upset, feel unsafe, have anxiety and worry, stress out, and have a bad attitude.  On the flip, if there is extra money put in and I’m able to catch some sales which leaves us a little higher than we were last month, I’m happy, feel safe, take great pride in my budgeting abilities and feel great security.

The fact that I stay home and my husband brings in 90% (because I do babysit and do crochet) of our income, has NOTHING to do with feeling like my husband is my security, provider or protector.  Because in my mind, I handle the money so I make sure I’m safe.

I’ll even go so far as to tell you that, as DISGUSTING as this is to admit, my husband “running purchases past me to be a team” was seriously a very nice way of saying “asking my permission.”  I ultimately always had veto power.

My friend April had the courtesy to help me see this past week that this situation is just an obvious symptom of The Fall of Man. Men are quick to give up power, and women are even quicker to take all the power.

When in reality God created men to be the provider, protector, and leader and the woman to be the helper, receiver and nurturer.  We were never intended to have “Veto” power.  We were intended to come along side them and follow their leading so we could be protected as we both reach the top of the mountain together.

All I’ve tried to create in my marriage is my own security which is a total lack of trust in my husband to make good decisions for us, which is a lack of faith in the Lord to be sovereign of His design of marriage, and to provide our needs without my constant worry and intervention.

So what did I do about this?

Practical Application:

I put everything on Auto pay except one bill.

I paid everything up through the week that I could.

I made a really neat print-out of what my husband would need to know up-front. (I didn’t give him a mess of stuff!)

And I handed him the paper and check book and said “I can’t do the finances anymore. I’m not being respectful, or trusting and am struggling with pride.  I know you can do this and I trust you to handle this now.”

And I haven’t touched the check book since.  And I won’t.  I’ll now hand him all my receipts, stick to the budget he gives me, allow him to give me the “allowance money” instead of me giving it to him, stop balancing the checkbook constantly or evaluating where we are on-line, let him pay all the bills and write all the checks, and give him my opinions when they are relevent and trust him when they aren’t.

No, this isn’t making me a doormat.  It’s letting him carry weight that he was designed to carry, and giving me the chance to be provided for and focus on things that build up the home, instead of carrying stress that the bank account gets to determine my mood and safety.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I LOVE the words Kayla used when she gave the finances to her husband.  I like her approach actually a lot better than the one I used!  I think it is more biblically sound.  Thanks SO MUCH for sharing your heart, Kayla!

Here is a post I wrote about how I handled giving the finances to my husband.

Here is a post from one of my readers whose husband emphatically did NOT want her to give him the finances and the really godly way she is handling it.  She is an inspiration to me!

Until we totally submit ALL of ourselves to Jesus as our Lord – we are missing out on His blessings and His will to some degree.  Giving up control of the finances is SCARY.  But I look at the reasons Kayla was doing the finances and how it gave her a false sense of security  – and that was totally me.   I was also very obsessive about the finances and constantly checked the balances all day every day and stressed about it.  I LOVE that Greg handles the money and bills now.  It doesn’t seem to add much burden to him at all.  I love the way the balance of power shifted dramatically in his direction.  It helped me stop a lot of my controlling ways.

I don’t think there is one perfect way to handle this situation – and we are not addressing extreme situations where there is physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, gambling, severe mental illness. (If you are in a situation like that – please find local, godly, experienced help ASAP!)  But these are some ideas to think and pray about!  I believe your intimacy with Christ and with your husband may improve greatly when you are not the money kingpin in your house!

18 thoughts on “Money – and the ugly truth.

  1. Good for you, Kayla. My (now ex-) wife manifested a similar idolatry and control in a different way. She wanted me to handle the finances — i.e., keep the checkbook, pay the bills, do our taxes, etc. But she reserved (and exercised) the rights to worry about money either constantly or intermittently, to criticize me for particular spending choices (whether to spend or not to spend), and to hold me responsible for any financial difficulty — whether or not the difficulty was beyond my control (such as a client not paying timely) or was due to her own demands/choices.

    As the beginning of the end for us, when she returned to work in the 25th year of our marriage, she unilaterally decided that she would keep “her” money in a separate account of her own and she would use the money for what she thought was best. Her primary concern, she said, was to set aside money for our special needs daughter’s provision in the event of our death and to save money for retirement. (It made no difference to her that we already had ample life insurance in place to provide for our daughter after our deaths.) She sometimes agreed to use the money for family purposes, including paying most of our oldest son’s first year of college tuition. But the bottom line was that she would decide if and when I was “allowed” to use “her” money for a particular purpose. I even had to “borrow” money from her on occasions when my earnings weren’t sufficient to cover regular expenses and then had to “repay” her “loan.” As I recite this history, I’m shaking my head at my stupidity and weakness in going along with this, even under protest, and in not immediately taking this to our church leaders for their involvement after she rejected my protests and arguments. 9 months after she began this system, she filed for divorce the first time. (You probably saw that coming, but I didn’t.) As part of her agreement to withdraw that filing, we began marriage and financial counseling. Unfortunately, both counselors said that while she was wrong to have taken the approach she did and that we needed to get to a place where she was willing to deposit “her” money into our account, neither insisted that she do so immediately. Our financial disagreements continued until, combined with other issues, they resulted in her second and final divorce filing two years later.

    She remarried a couple months ago and relocated last week. I haven’t been churlish enough yet to ask her whether she is depositing “her” money into a joint account or is still keeping a separate account.

    1. David,

      Thanks for sharing your story. That sounds like it must have really hurt and been really hard.

      I think the best advice I have to offer you right now is to say, don’t underestimate how REALLY REALLY REALLY suffocating and intoxicating a sin like this is for a woman.

      I am not at all saying your ex-wife should have behaived as she did, however, for your own heart and healing, it is good to remind yourself that she was trapped in sin, and speaking to you from a woman….it is so easy for us to fall in that area, and even if men struggle to understand it, Satan is relentless in his efforts to suffocate the life out of a woman through her fears. And sadly, most of the time, money is involved.

      I’m sure you’re no stranger to the statistics on failed marriages due to money. I am bringing this to light to hopefully help you come to a place of mercy instead of anger. I know you’re really hurt, and you should be!! You were not respected or honored in that situation. But the command is still the same to come to a place of mercy and truly forgive her. Even if she doesn’t deserve it. Because she might not. And even if she doesn’t ask for it, because she may never do that.

      In order for you to be hole again, you need to release her from the place she holds in your heart that brings you to disappointment in yourself.

      I’m sorry again for the painful experience. I hope you’re able to take the circumstances and turn them into a victory for Jesus.

      God Bless,
      Kayla

      1. Kayla: I agree with you; it’s just a matter of getting there. I came across a character’s description in a novel once that was helpful to me in thinking of my ex’s wrongs: “She did what she did, but hers was a sin of weakness … And while the repercussions of [her] misdeed were enormous, the sin itself was one of human frailty.”

    2. David,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart. I think that what you have to say may serve well as a warning for other wives. I continue to pray for you and your children and your ex-wife.

  2. I want to do this, but my husband has been handling our finances the entire time we’ve been together, with disastrous results. The only thing I was doing was reserving the right to (loudly) complain and worry about the money. He will blow $300-$500 at the bar a week with no regard for responsibilities (most of the time in one night – no, he’s not a Christian), we’ve been evicted from our last 2 homes for failure to pay rent on time, we have outstanding Comcast and electric bills, and he spends recklessly on everything except our kids and our needs. He makes $1200 a week, and we might get $200 of it to take care of the bills! If I say that something needs to be paid he says that’s my problem. He feels no obligation to pay bills on time. I have no idea what to do. I have a feeling simply shutting my mouth and letting him lead will not cut it. Last week we went together to pay the bills, and he had $600 of “play” money left to spend of himself (because if there’s money left over, it absolutely has to be spent as soon as possible!) and he went out and blew $500 of it taking himself and a friend out to a strip club. He lies to his mother and says I’m sucking up all his money, and he can’t survive, so she gives him cash ($100-$1200 that I know about!) regularly. I’ve told her the truth and asked her to please stop giving him money, but she still does. I have a feeling she thinks I’m trying to cover my behind so avoid looking like the “bad guy” in her eyes. I’m fed up. Help?

    1. This will take great discernment on your part to know what God would have you to do. It is possible he would fail and learn from it and grow. But you also have wisdom and insights and legitimate concerns to share.

  3. Wow! I’m convicted…. my security rests in having enough money to pay the bills as I am the primary breadwinner. My husband doesn’t want control of the finances because he admits to not handling money very well. Scary, scary, scary for me!!

    1. Cara,

      That is a really important thing to realize!

      I would love to invite you to search for and read some posts if you are up for it:

      – husband idol
      – stop idolatry
      – lordship of Christ
      – submission means we hold the things of this world loosely
      – control
      – lead/leader
      – biblical submission
      – signs your husband may be feeling disrespected
      – husbands share what is disrespectful to them
      – what is respect in marriage
      – fear
      – bitterness

      Much love to you!

  4. Oh wow, this is SO me….. I feel secure in my own ability to handle the finances and don’t trust my husband OR EVEN WORSE…. I don’t trust God to lead through my husband…. GULP… tearing down my idols one at a time. This one is a hard one for me. I am the primary provider in my household and I don’t like it. I don’t know how to handle it in a godly way though. Do I step down from my job? Wouldn’t this force my husband to do it because I don’t want to force him to do that. I desperately want God’s will in my life. If I left my job, our entire world would be turned upside down and that’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders…I have two kids that I provide for as well. Yikes. Help!

    1. Cara,

      God DOES want to turn our whole world upside-down. Yes! Sometimes, it is a matter of us being willing to give up things completely – even if we don’t ever actually end up having to give them up. Sometimes, we truly do have to give up our greatest desires. All of our desires must be yielded to Him and we lay them before Him – allowing Him to lead us – receiving what He thinks is best even if it takes us through some paths that lead to our deepest fears.

      The wife being the primary provider is a difficult dynamic. I had that dynamic for a long time, too. It is not actually the money that is the issue. It is the mindsets we have and that our husbands have and the way the relationship dynamics change because of who is bringing in more money that seems to be the issue.

      I don’t know what God desires you to do. But as you draw closer to Him and are willing to yield everything to Him completely, I know He will direct your steps. 🙂

  5. Just sitting here realizing that maybe God wants to turn my whole world upside down…. Why am I so scared if I’m trusting in Him? Seriously, I have some major control issues going on here. Ugh…

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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