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How a Fellow Wife and Her Husband Decided to Handle their Finances

Wedding rings and money
From a Fellow Wife.  There is no specific “right way” for a godly couple to handle money issues. I love to give lots of different couple’s approaches so that wives can prayerfully consider different options and seek God’s wisdom for their own marriage and maybe have some ideas about how to respectfully approach the issue with their husbands:
April asked me to write a bit about how my husband and I handle our finances.  I want to say that to my knowledge, there is no one certain way this has to be done.  But this is what we do and what is working very well for us.
  • First, let me paint you a before-things-changed picture:
The way we used to do finances was that *I* did them.  I had the checkbook.  I had all of the bills.  I paid them or if there was not enough money, *I* decided which ones to pay.  This was difficult for me.  I was very capable of doing the clerical work.  But the weight of making the decisions on what should be paid if there was a shortage in our finances really weighed on me.  At times I would find myself worrying late at night about our bills when I should be sleeping.  I gave our bills and our finances a lot of mental space.
It got to the point that I just could not do it any longer.  I reached a place when the weight of dealing with the bills was just too much and was really stressing me out.  Sometimes I would even cry because I was so upset and stressed over our finances.  I would tell my husband that I was worried about these things and he would be unhappy because he doesn’t like for me to worry and he would feel badly and feel that perhaps he was not providing well enough.  But I didn’t really know what to do about it.
It was also at this time that I was working on becoming a peaceful wife and was also reading about how many women turned the finances over to their husbands.  I thought that sounded wonderful!  I thought about the pros and cons of that situation but decided that the idea of less worry was very enticing!
So I told my husband that I just could not do it any longer and I needed him to either take over completely or take over the decision making and I would be the secretary. He chose option 2. ;)
  • Now, here is how we do our bills….
We have a bi-weekly meeting where we sit down and I have all of the financial stuff ready. (Bills laid out, envelopes, stamps, checkbook, calculator). I give him the stack of bills and then I write checks for whatever he decides is going to be paid. I tell him what I need for groceries or any other expenses I know of that I will need money for. (Gas, copays at a doctor’s appointment, etc).  He is careful to leave that amount in checking for me to have.  It is so much easier and better to just sit and write the checks for the bills he decided to pay rather than handle all of this all on my own.
I think my husband does so much better at making these decisions than I did.
For one thing, I come at doing bills and finances from an emotional (heart) viewpoint.  I would think, “Oh, we have to pay this dr.  I told them I would.  They will be mad if we don’t pay this month.”  Or I would think “I feel really sorry for our insurance agent.  They are going through a hard time right now so I should pay this bill.”  It sounds silly now but it is true that my emotions got totally wrapped up in doing the bills.
My husband is able to keep emotions completely out of it.  He comes at bills and finances from a logical (head) viewpoint.  If there is a question about what needs to be paid, he goes in order of priority.  What is most important?  What do we need?  As he says, “What keeps us living?”  He prioritizes.  Mortgage, utilities and groceries come first.  The other bills come second.  I admire his wisdom in finances.  And every time we sit down to do bills, I always think about how talented he is in this area and express that admiration and respect to him.
I was not good at prioritizing.
Not only did I come at bills with my emotions attached but I tried to pay it all and at times that was not possible.  With this arrangement, I can relax and trust in him to make the best decisions for our family.  There are times -very rarely- but there are occasional times when I feel a different decision than the one he makes might be better.
But here is what I do then:
I remind myself of how stressed I was when I had the bills on my own and how even if I don’t agree with a small decision he makes that this is still a better arrangement.  I also sometimes mention that I might feel concerned about something in our finances but I STILL choose to follow whatever decision he makes.  I can tell him my feelings and concerns and he welcomes that.  Sometimes he agrees, sometimes he does not but I feel heard and I trust him to make the best decision for us.
This is working out beautifully for us. I feel so much better without the full weight of that responsibility on me! I love not having that burden any longer.  And to my husband, it isn’t a burden or something that weighs him down like it did me.  He is much better equipped to carry this load than I am.  I love being sheltered from that worry and overwhelming weight of dealing with the finances all by myself.
There are a lot of different ways handling finances can be done.  This is the one that is best for us.  I hope this different perspective has been helpful to some of you.
RELATED:
Here is what I personally (April – Peacefulwife) did after I read The Surrendered Wife (But please read the other wives’ approaches below, too!)
Here is how my friend, Kayla, gave the finances to her husband – I like her approach a lot better than the one I used!  And here is an update about her story.

22 thoughts on “How a Fellow Wife and Her Husband Decided to Handle their Finances

  1. I just handed over the budgeting to my husband a couple of weeks ago and it is great to not have to make time or have that hovering in my mind that I need to pay bills and keep track of our budget. My problem was making sure that we were saving enough and not spending too much. I thought that as someone with a finance background that I should do it but lately it was stressing me out as I had no time to sit and pay bills let alone keep track of where the money was going. He seemed to want to be involved and after reading the surrended wife book I realized that I could be more relaxed by allowing to him to handle the whole thing. I can still look at our accounts online and see what is being spent and see the budget but it is one less thing that I have to worry about or argue with him about. I do have to say that he is not a big spender so that was not a problem for me but we would argue as to whether a bill had been paid or not and we could never seem to agree on which drawer to put the bills in so that I knew what needed to be paid.

  2. We also do weekly budget mtgs! I handle the day-to-day paperwork, but we sit down every other week for 30 minutes to do the budget, and on off weeks we just check in if there are any questions or anything has come up. What a wonderful post! I completely understand about letting your emotions get too involved. I would pay all the bills first and then just manage groceries on whatever was left. Not pretty! So now we have the best of both- my organizational skills and his logic and wisdom. Also when something doesn’t work out like we’d like, my hubby isn’t coming to me asking “where did all the money go?!” He knows, and we try to make better decisions the next time. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. My husband has always handled every aspect of our finances…which is good for me, because I would also go crazy with stress over it, and I am not good with math!
    I have noticed that it seems strange to some women that I ask my husband for spending money, and get his approval before buying things. Being a homemaker in general attracts some strange looks and comments. It seems that the prevailing attitude today is that if a woman doesn’t make her own money, and have her own “freedom” with her money, then she is living like a child…or a slave.

    1. I too have given control of the finances to my husband completely. We discuss weekly what is being paid and what I see our upcoming expenses with the children to be so he can write out checks or give me cash to pay for it. I bring him receipts and change. Many see this as controlling. I see it as a blessing. Honestly, it is like having my own personal accountant everywhere I go. Most wealthy people pay through the nose for someone else to balance their checkbook, plot their spending to meet long term financial goals and pay their bills. I never consider it “asking permission” when I request additional funds. I see it as seeking wisdom to make good financial decisions in order to meet our long term goals. Know what else- we spend less this way! When every dollar is discussed and placed in a column for spending, it becomes very real when you are spending money on wants vs. needs. It has been a real eye opener for both of us.

  4. Paulina, MV and Mayra,

    I LOVE how each of you shared what works in your marriage. I know that many other wives will be blessed and inspired by hearing your stories. Thank you so much!!!!

    1. Thank you everyone for sharing 🙂 I’m going to make the change soon. As of now he pays the major bills and I transfer him money once a month but we have discussed joining accounts and him taking over everything. I’m a little nervous but I know it’s what God and my husband want.

      1. Kara,

        That is exciting! I pray you will have wisdom, and your husband will have wisdom, and that this might bring greater unity and teamwork in your marriage and much glory to God. 🙂

        Let us know how we can pray for you! 🙂

  5. I used to do the bills & budgeting, too. I am not a “finance’ person or particularly “math inclined” but, I like knowing everything is paid and savings (for rainy day, major purchases, retirement) is going as well as possible.

    I agree there is less to do since my hubby began doing it. Also, I have more disposable cash (knowing that im a natural born frugal person, my hubby pretty much always says yes to my requests, even though when I was doing the budget I choose to forgo many things for the sake of our financial bottom line.)

    The thing is, if I was doing this because it is easier, because I get more spending cash, or even because my hubby’s differently inclined at handling these things, id have long since taken it back.

    I’m the nerd. I plan. I save. I am also more administratively gifted.

    He’s the free spirit. He value’s ease and relationship much more than the bills getting paid. (Everyone’s getting together? Let’s buy the food! Oh, the insurance bill is due?
    I didn’t think of that.) He will give the shirt off his back to someone not really considering whether he has a shirt to give.

    I am often humbled by his joy in giving far beyond what would be most people’s comfort zone.

    Since he’s taken over the bills we’ve received a few past due phone calls. Paid a bit in late fees. Had to dip into the savings(a few thousand dollars) I coveted (yes, coveted) because we over spent again.

    Here’s where the Lord is leading me:

    I cannot put my trust in man and definitely not in storehouses of gold.

    He clothes the lilies of the field so I know he’ll take care of us.

    And, in a really cool way, He is healing my husband of past wounds that caused my hubby to be so terrified of getting it wrong he never did ANYTHING at all.

    I caused many of those wounds. 🙁

    Now, I am genuinely grateful for our home (it is humble in size and appearance – I was ok with it when we moved in almost 10 years ago because in my plan, we were downsizing to save more money in order to buy our first home. As my time frame came and went I became angry and ungrateful.)

    I am genuinely grateful that this humble home allowed us to weather some very lean financial times (due to some circumstances beyond our control and honestly due to some less than stellar decision making on our part.)

    I am sure (and joyful!) in my calling at home.

    And my husband is rising up willingly carrying more of our daily burden, more of the responsibility, more of the risk.

    It means a lot that he feels safe enough to stick his neck out and it means a lot that he has been built up enough by the Lord, to weather failures.

    And yes, our marriage is experiencing many improvements. 🙂 Of all varieties.

    Ahem.

    I guess I write this to share my testimony with my sisters.

    I did not have an emotional attachment to which bills got paid, or even feel particularly overwhelmed by budgeting.
    (Except that hubby didn’t favor submitting to me and made sure to break the budget I came up with, every single time. That almost drove me crazy. :))

    In fact, my feeling of safety rested pretty heavily on me controlling that part of our lives.

    Though I am most definitely a work in progress, I understand in a new way that true safety is only found in Christ.

    So that is where I stay.

    He will work with my husband in His way, in His time, because (like He has for me) God has plans for my hubby – for good and not for evil. Plans to give him a hope and future.

    So, I pray God’s blessings upon my hubby.

    And let God handle the rest.

    In time, hubby made decided a different way of handling the finances.

    Maybe not.

    Regardless, our God is able.

    And guess what? Hubby’s a whole lot more able than I gave him credit for.

    Who’d of thunk it?

    God, and my husband, have got it covered.

    With God’s love,

    Amber

      1. April,

        The honor is mine.

        Isn’t it crazy what God can do? 🙂

        Amber

        P.S. One small edit? At the end where it reads:

        In time, hubby made decided a different way of handling the finances.

        Maybe not.

        It’s supposed to say:

        In time, hubby may decide a different way of handling the finances.

        Maybe not.

        …if you decide to use that part.

        🙂

        1. Forgive me.

          Though I am grateful for the work the graciously Lord is doing in me and I receive your request to use my comment as confirmation of His ongoing work in my heart

          THE HONOR IS NOT MINE.

          I never meant to imply it was, just attempting a gracious (though instead bumbling) response to your lovely request.

          ALL GLORY, HONOR, & PRAISE to the MOST HIGH GOD, for He ALONE is WORTHY!

  6. I handed over finances to my hubby when we got married. At that time , I was working, he was not. it was a struggle deep within because after having handled my money for many years, making the “right decisions” It was not easy to relax and have him decide. I kept praying for myself to find rest in God. Its been 4 years now . He has a business but still handles all the financial decisions. I get my weekly allocation for groceries and upkeep and trust the rest including tithe to him. I am more relaxed now. Last year, he made some mistakes that cost us lots of money. I was hurt. I was tempted to tell get back to control but the Lord helped me. I brought up the issue calmly and expressed my hurt feelings to him. He listened, apologized and even explained what might have happened. I chose to let go of the issue. As April says, the marriage is more important than the money.
    My hubby was so remorse that he even requested I take over the finances. I refused and assured him that even with the huge mistakes, I would like to trust him with our finances. am learning to allow him space to make mistakes and also rectify them on his own. I read something in the book “Secrets to a fascinating womanhood” that has helped me. if a man gets in to debts, don’t cover him. let him handle his debtors alone. as he struggles and while you as the woman trust him, you are making a man who will last forever (paraphrased). As I learn TO TRUST GOD, I find it easier to trust my hubby.
    Am writing this because many career woman think that their money and bank accounts are theirs for keeps.
    Thanks ladies . enjoying the blog everyday.
    Liz

    1. Liz,

      Wow! What a powerful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing this, Liz! I know that your willingness to trust and show faith even after he made mistakes has encouraged him to be a better man and more responsible financially.

      I appreciate your story very much! 🙂

  7. I been meaning to comment. Peaceful wife, I talked to you a while back about how I would be jealous when my husband would make certain purchases. I shouldn’t be, and I have been seeing things a little differently. Actually recently my husband has let me help with the finances. Instead of him keeping up when bills are due, and not really having any type of budget, and just spending money randomly, without saving, we have a new system now instead. It was tuff for my hubby to handle and keep up with bills, and we were just living paycheck to paycheck and spending money from His other self employed job (He’s a Barber, and also works for the airlines).
    Now we can see where all our money is going. Its not being spent all over the place. We both agreed to save, now we are saving 70$ a day, plus money from his airline job, stays in the bank, we have saved around 500$ so far in a two week period.. So to God be the glory, I am so thankful. And we can pick from our savings if we keep it over the 500$ limit on certain things we may want.

  8. Peaceful wife, yes. he is more careful with money but much more important, he is a proud man. I love it when he is in control. am still trusting God for us to put in place a consistent family budget. I love budgeting but my hubby is not quite keen on it. I have chosen to pray and let him take the initiative. Money is a blessing but if not handled carefully, can break any family. May the Lord give us wisdom as wives to honor God and our husbands with our money.

  9. April,

    I was hoping you could advise me on my current situation with the finances.

    As I mentioned in another post, I have always been the primary breadwinner of the family since my husband and I got married. He’s had some jobs that were helpful but we couldn’t survive on it alone. I have always been the control freak with money which was one of the big reasons we had a big fallout last year. We are slowly “recovering” from it. My husband was out of a job since September of last year and I have been trying to be supportive with his job search- something I had never done. I always criticized and his paycheck and job was “never enough”, “ not worth much” etc. I know- so disrespectful.

    Anyway, we always shared a bank account but it always seemed like he was asking permission or felt like I was judging his purchases, etc. Well thank God, he is on his way to start a good job where he’ll be making about the same amount but he’ll have opportunities for bonuses. Well yesterday, I was a little (okay-A LOT) taken aback when he told me that he’s decided we’re going to share the expenses. We will each pay half of our bills and that we’ll each do what we want with the rest of the money. I told him I didn’t want it to be your or mine, but ours. He said “ No. It’s not going to be like that. Things are going to start to change. A lot of things are going to change.” I told him that we could share the expenses and then contribute to a savings account and he said that “Right now, I can’t tell you whether we’ll do the savings account.” I didn’t want to push the issue so I simply said okay. We have a few credit cards and loans that we’ll be paying off first- dedicating most of his paycheck to that, but once those are paid off we’ll share the expenses. Despite the control freak in me thinking that this would be a great idea so I can save my paycheck, it feels weird…out of place…like we’re not together, but separate. What do I do? I need some advice…

    1. Macu,

      You shared what you would like to do. That is awesome. Now, I vote to honor your husband’s leadership and his decision in obedience to God’s Word for you as a wife. Pray for God to give him wisdom. Share with God that you would like the finances to be joint in the future. Your husband finally has a good job! THAT IS AWESOME! And he is trying to lead. You don’t agree with him, but you can still honor his decision and trust God to work in his heart if God desires him to change.

      Does that make sense, my sweet sister?

      I vote to say, “Honey, I respect and trust your decision about the finances and am happy to handle them this way if that is what you believe is best for us. Thanks for leading in this area. I will support your decision.”

      Much love to you!

      Check out “Submitting Under Protest” at the top of my home page. 🙂

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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