In my view, there isn’t a specific “one right way” to handle money issues in a godly marriage – as far as who is “in charge” of paying the bills. Of course, we will want to use scriptural principles. We need to manage our money wisely, realizing we are stewards of all that God has given to us. The money is all His ultimately, it is not truly ours to do with as we please if He is LORD. So we will want to seek to honor Him in how we use our money and make sure we are doing what He desires us to do with it. We want to avoid debt. We don’t want to overspend. We want to make sure our families have what we need, but we don’t want to get caught up in consumerism, materialism, and greed – which are idolatry.
Dave Ramsey is a Christian financial teacher who has a lot of great information about being godly stewards, wise financial management, biblical principles, and getting out of debt.
SOME WAYS COUPLES HANDLE THINGS:
- Sometimes the husband handles all of the accounting and everything is joint (the wife has access to the information) and they discuss major things before making decisions.
- Sometimes the wife does the bill paying but she runs any major issues past her husband so that he is involved and can contribute his perspective and desires, as well.
- Sometimes husbands and wives have separate accounts and each handles his/her own part of the bills and their own accounts.
- Sometimes the husband and wife sit down together to pay bills as a team.
- Sometimes only one spouse handles everything and the other spouse has no idea what is going on. (I don’t recommend this – although there can be certain situations where it may be necessary, if there are uncontrolled mental health issues with one spouse, or one spouse is very ill or is traveling a lot or has an extremely stressful job and doesn’t have time to deal with finances or doesn’t want to look at things.)
Some wives prefer for their husbands to handle the finances if they, themselves, get too stressed about money issues or bill-paying. For me, I asked Greg to take over, not because I couldn’t manage the finances, I did manage our bill paying for over 16 years, but because I tended to be too controlling about what Greg could spend. And I didn’t like the dynamics of me telling him what to do. I wanted him to have more of a chance to lead after I had been so controlling for so long. This works well for us.
You will want to consider things like –
- how much time each of you have to devote to managing bills
- any ADD issues or mental health issues that one spouse may have that could make it more difficult for that spouse to manage finances
- coming up with a budget – either a very strict one, or a loose one, depending on your family’s needs
- the spending limit you each want to have to spend without checking with the other (maybe any purchase over $200 you would want to talk with each other first before making that purchase, for example)
- how much you want to give to church and charities (be sure not to force your husband to do this, but share what you want to do and listen to what he wants to do)
- how much you want to save for retirement (link to a retirement calculator), for emergencies, for your children’s college, for your next car purchase…
- your spending/saving personalities
- your individual priorities and how you will work together on priorities for the family
- determining what things are needs and what are wants
- deciding where to cut spending if the budget is tight
- talking with a financial advisor about wealth management or managing your savings or 401K plans
- if your spouse is threatening to leave, that will certainly affect how you need to decide to handle your finances together
Remember to pray for God’s wisdom, provision, discernment, and guidance about your budget, your husband’s leadership, how to spend your money, how to give to those in need, etc…
Ask God to help you see any idols in your heart – about greed, wealth, luxury, or finding security in money rather than in God.
What works best for your marriage in how to handle finances?
What has been frustrating financially in your marriage?
I have a few posts about how various couples have decided to handle this issue way back in 2012: