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What Is the Best Way to Handle the Finances?

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sometimes husbands and wives have separate accounts and each handles his/her own part of the bills and their own accounts.
  4. Sometimes the husband and wife sit down together to pay bills as a team.
  5. 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.)

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

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

PRAY!

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.

STUDY SCRIPTURE:

Verses about money

SHARE:

What works best for your marriage in how to handle finances?

What has been frustrating financially in your marriage?

RELATED:

I have a few posts about how various couples have decided to handle this issue way back in 2012:

What Greg and I did

What A Fellow Wife and her husband did

Another Wife Shares about Finances and Trust

When a Husband Insists That His Wife Handles the Finances

Money and the Ugly Truth  and an update by Kayla

40 thoughts on “What Is the Best Way to Handle the Finances?

  1. My husband and I have been married 16 years. Five years ago we completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class. It was worth the money! We weren’t hugely in debt, but since we didn’t have a financial plan and my husband’s employment was beginningto vary, we needed to get our heads on straight about money or we’d really end up in trouble. We pretty much have worked our finances the way Dave recommends. We are just finishing baby step 2. Yes, 5 years and we’re still on step 2. However we’ve had a lot of changes in my husband’s employment and so we’ve worked around that. God has been in control and allowed us to be able to take care of our debts as well as take care of things that needed to be taken care of (fixing stuff around the house like a new roof, plumbing etc all that fun stuff home owners have to deal with).

    Before the class and well into the 5 years since we first began, I handled the bill paying alone. We did however do the budgeting together and as time went on, my husband eventually took over the bill paying. I was relived to let go of that responsibility since like other wives have posted, I was anal retentive about knowing where we were in the budget. It was nothing for me to check the bank MANY times throughout the month to make sure we were in balance. When he took over, I finally stopped doing that.

    That said, we’re in the process of moving and because things are so down to the penny, I’m catching myself stressing again over “we have to have enough in the bank”. I’m working on turning it over to God, but I have to admit, it’s very hard. I have to remind myself of all the ways God has taken care of us in the past.

    Anyway, thank you for this post and linking all the other blog posts! They were awesome reads!

    1. Sky,

      Thank you so much for sharing. I love hearing what you have been learning and how things have changed. I personally am so thankful my husband handles the bill-paying now, too. I used to check the online accounts multiple times per DAY!?!?!? I tended to get way too OCD and make myself crazy over it.

      So wonderful that you are seeking to trust God and work together with your husband as a team. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  2. due to a debt management plan we were advised to have separate bank accounts – for the first time since being married. we’ve recently switched back to joint accounts as, whilst we still have some debts to pay back (from a faith journey and a business – when you ask God to teach you faith, be prepared for the challenges that must ensue to teach you that very thing)

    we have recently switched back to a joint account and are both MUCH happier – it was simply SO stressful having an extra bank account to manage, with arguments simply because tracing where money was going so much more complicated.

    my wife earns the money and does so because I care for our boys. we pray as much as possible through every extra spend and seek to pray at least monthly about the following extra spends which have come up

    1. Andy Berry,

      Than you so much for sharing your perspective on this! What a joy it is to me to hear that y’all are praying over what you spend! WOOHOO! 🙂

  3. This is one area in which my husband and I have always gotten along beautifully. I grew up without a lot, and so I am thrifty and good at stretching a budget. We had to work for everything (cars, college, etc.) and you learn very quickly how to manage money well.

    My husband is very smart financially, and a very hard worker. I pay the bills as far as writing the actual check, but he is the sole provider. If we are getting low, I tell him and we either make cut backs or he picks up some overtime.

    We joke that you can’t fight about what you don’t have! 😊

    We also try to give from the heart, and God provides all of our needs.

    Good post!

    1. Becca,

      Love this! Thank you so very much for sharing!

      I love how y’all work together as a team. That is awesome! And I love that you both want to give from the heart.

      Beautiful!

  4. I have a similar story as Becca! My husband is the sole provider, but I manage all the bills, etc. because my husband doesn’t have the time like I do since I’m home. My husband, however, is the one who makes all the decisions about money. I’ve read somewhere else April where you talked about how when you gave the finances over to Greg and your hours at work were cut after so long of you being the main breadwinner, and how it was actually so good because it sort of fed the feminine in you to be the one “depending” on Greg, as we as the Church depend on Jesus, and Jesus does not depend on us.

    There were times in my blind disrespectful days when I tried to enforce my money management skills, since after all, before i got married I was a single mother with my own house, own car, own bank account, and all 🙁

    But when I tried to enforce my ways on my husband, he would say “when you go get a job and make money, then you can have a say in what we spend the money I made on”…or he’d say “you can go get a job and I’ll stay home and then you can decide all you want about the money”………..OR “if I needed your opinion, I’d ask, but since it’s my money I’ll decide what I do with it”…………..

    He may sound kind of nasty, and perhaps he could say it gentler, but either way, HE’S RIGHT! He is just as much of a saver as I am, and he has never gambled, went out and wasted, or anything like that! So seriously, I needed to chill out!! But it was all my FEARSSSS, it’s always about a fear!! I was “SCARED” that he would be careless, spend too much, buy unnecessary things, etc…… Only thing I got from that fear was a withdrawn husband!!!! Now, I have gladly let go of my desire to control anything in this area….and it is much much better this way!!!

    And WOW did God ever test me on this………..Last summer, when all the texts happened, was when my husband quit his job and travelled 1300 miles to work with his dad……and we literally lost EVERYTHING we had saved………all of it. That is what I was mostly bringing up his mistakes about (from the text message post)!! I was going on and on about how much he screwed up and wasted all our money and how much he was just irresponsible and was obviously unable to handle life!!!!!!!!!!! 🙁

    But, despite all the blind disrespect….God was teaching me, and revealing to me at the time, that this world is not our home!!! And He was testing my faith in Him to provide…He wanted me to know that I do not depend on ANY HUMAN for resources…..He alone will provide. And He did!!! He sure did! And just as in any other testing spot, I remember specifically surrendering everything, and telling God that I believed He could rain money out of the sky if He wanted to, just to make sure we didn’t miss any bill payments…and I truly believed He could do anything if we believed. Money didn’t rain out of the sky, but my husband got his old job back, and we never were without food, clothing, or shelter…..What a miracle!!!

    The saying is true that when we have the least, we are more content than when we have it all……..

    That was a test I’ll never forget!!!! Praise God!!!

    Blessings,
    Amanda

          1. I can’t find it on google either. Is there a FB page that you can link or another page on the website, please?

  5. This is a major source of contention in my marraige. My husband is the ony one that brings in an income. he feels that I am better at managaing the money so I handle our finances. The only problem we run into is that my husband feels that because he brings home all the money my opinion about what we spend doesnt matter. For example he has bought 4 guns that cost about $1500 in the past month. He is not a hunter so im not even sure why hes doing this.When he bought the 4th gun I saw a $500 debit on the account. I called and asked him if he bought aniother gun and he blew up at me and said i was trying to control him. I dont want to control I just feel when we make purchases that large we should discuss them. A major reason is because we are really struggling financially, we dont even have our own place. We are living with my mother and have 4 children. If we could afford it I wouldnt even mention it. What do you do respectfully if your husband spends money frivously and you are not alowed to say a word about it. No matter how i say it he will feel I am being disrespectful.

    1. Jessica,

      This sounds really hard. 🙁 I see a few options. Keep in mind that I do not know your husband or fully know your situation, so I am not sure which of these options (if any) would be best.

      1. Remain silent about his money choices. If he thinks you want to control him, he may be doing this out of “rebellion” to prove you can’t control him and will continue to do it as long as he perceives you trying to control him. It is possible that if you are silent and continue to repent for any disrespect you see in your life, your husband will eventually start to take more responsibility for his spending habits.

      2. Continue to share your concerns briefly in a sweet, gentle voice. (You are responsible for how you treat him, not for how he responds to you.) This approach may not work if your husband is feeling disrespected in other areas of life, so it may be a good idea to continue to carefully examine your tone of voice / facial expressions / other sources of nonverbal disrespect and repent of any disrespect you see.

      3. Does your husband have any uncontrolled mental disorders? If so, buying a gun for seemingly no reason could be a warning sign, in which case it might be advisable to seek godly counsel about it.

      4. If your husband is open to talking about it, it may be helpful to humbly approach him and ask him what specifically you did that made him think you were trying to control him. If there is a particular “trigger” for him (tone of voice, word choice, facial expression, etc.), knowing about it will help you fix it. Of course, it is possible that he will say something like, “I just don’t like it when you talk about what I spend,” in which case you might reply with something along the lines of, “I would like to understand your perspective better. Could you please explain to me more about that?” Understanding why he feels and acts the way he does may help to guide you toward a particular course of action. (Note – some men regard the word “why” as disrespectful. If your husband does, it may be a good idea to use other words when phrasing a “why” question.)

      Again, I do not know your husband or your situation, so I am not sure which of these options would be best to pursue. Please check my words against Scripture and seek God’s wisdom about whether he would like you to pursue any of these options. Also, I do not count myself as experienced as April about these things; I just saw that no one had yet responded to your comment and I hoped that my words might be of some use to you.

      Much love,
      Flower

      1. Thank you Flower these are all things that have ran through my mind as i have prayed and asked God for wisdom. again thank you so much

    2. Jessica,

      Oh goodness! I’m so glad Flower responded to you – I thought I had caught up on all of the comments. My apologies for missing yours.

      What is your husband’s general personality?

      Are you aware of any mental health issues (ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, Bi-Polar disorder, depression, mania, etc..), addictions, or major unrepentant sin?

      I like Flower’s ideas. They are things to prayerfully consider.

      How is your walk with Christ?

      How is the marriage going generally?

      Have y’all ever discussed having a budget or how you want to handle finances together?

      How did your parents handle finances?

      How did his parents handle this issue?

      Has he been talking about being really angry at anyone or has he been reading a lot of things about preparing for anarchy or government collapse, to your knowledge?

      Much love to you!

      1. April,

        There is no need to apologize at all 🙂 Thank you so much for responding. My husband is very much a “command man” type personality but lately he has been over the top and acting very irrational and very controlling and domineering. I am not aware of any mental health issues but I have often wondered if he has something that is undiagnosed because there are times when things are going really well he is leading us in a weekly bible study and the fruit of the Spirit is evident in his life, then he will snap and begin a cycle of staying out late, changing his music, getting tattoos, being very impulsive and angry and talking about leaving the marriage because I question his sudden change in behavior. Then he will repent and the cycle will begin again.

        Lately he has been watching youtube videos on guns, police brutality, government conspiracy theories and other things that are similar. When I asked him why he was spending so much money on things he would never use he said he knows he will have to use them one day and that he’s protecting his family. He doesnt see anything irrational about this way of thinking.

        I would say my walk with Christ is good. I am completely dependent on him for every step I take, to fill me with joy and peace and to direct me in the midst of these challanging circumstances. I don’t understand why the kids and i constantly have to go through this but God repeatedly tells me to trust Him.

        Generally our marriage is a roller coaster. My husband has left 3 times and threatens to leave again periodicaly. He says that he can’t forget how controlling I used to be. Even though he acknowledges that the Lord has greatly changed me, he constantly says that, “No Woman will ever control him again.” I sort of walk on egg shells because he perceives any diffrence of opinion as control and rebellion.

        We have discussed a budget before but he never sticks to it and because I manage the finances it always puts me in a very weird situation. I dont feel comfortable telling him what he can and cant spend and he wouldn’t go for it anyway. He says maybe he wasn’t cut out for marriage because he feels that he should be able to go where he wants to go, spend what he wants to spend on whatever he wants to spend it on and not have to discuss it with a “woman”.

        I am not sure how finaces were managed in his home growing up but he talks alot about coming from poverty. I was raised by a single mom who actually teaches Dave Ramseys Financial Peace classes. She is very good at managing money. Sorry this is so long i tried to answer most of your questions.

        1. Jessica,

          Have you ever looked up the symptoms of mania? Is there any drug use to your knowledge?

          If he has been watching a lot of these videos, he may believe that the USA is about to collapse and that he is trying to protect his family. Things are certainly not looking good for our country. A lot of people are reacting by buying guns and ammunition – expecting anarchy.

          He has left three times since you have changed?

          You do not feel safe to share your concerns, ideas, perspective, and desires?

          Wow! That is really cool about your mom! 🙂

          Do you believe it is time to seek godly, experienced counsel to help you navigate this situation wisely?

          Much love to you!

  6. My husband and I will be married a year next week. A part of premarital counseling was financial peace university and we did a budget and agreed to do money meetings and work together. I prefered this because I have witnessed my parents succees and they have been married 36 years. After our 1st month of marriage my husband said he didnt want to do finaces together anymore. He hated the fact that I was so structured. All bills were payed on time. We had a set budget for gas and eating out and he hated it because he couldnt spontaneously just waste gas and drive around like he does now. He also wanted to spend money at the casino and didnt want me freaking out because the money he spend came from another category. It hurt me that we had to split the finances. I do everything now. He decided we should pay the bills based off percentage of income since I make more than him. So now, every other week, he gives me a set amout and I pay all of the househild bills. He admits that he has know idea whay im doing with the money. I try to get him involved but he doesn’t like my structure. He sometimes tells me to let him do it, but his lack of structure scares me. I had to look at his financial drawer 1 day to give him an account number and I saw several unpaid bills, lots of late fees, and that he is using a credit card that I paid off in our 1st month. I have a daughter from a previous relationship and I just cant function without a plan. All of her unexpected expenses, and im also still following the Dave Ramsey plan trying to get rid of debt from before we got married.

    Now several months later, i still dont like the way things are done but I just deal with it because I know I dont want him messing up my fiancial situation. I resent him sometimes because all he has to do is pay a flat fee and then go about his business doing whatever he wants to do. While im budgeting for everything and making sure everything is taken care of.

    When I see him just spending frivilously I get really frustrated because in the beginning he agreed to help me pay down my debts. But he would rather have fun than help me. I sometimes pout about it and we argue but I never get anywhere with that. I just keep thinking I need to get over it because it could be worse. At least he is contributing to the bills right?

    1. chermylife,

      Congratulations on your one year anniversary next week! 🙂

      How did your husband’s parents handle money?

      Is he dealing with any mental health issues (ADD, bi-polar, Asperger’s, etc…)?

      Did your husband have any experience handling money on his own before you got married?

      What do you say when he asks if he can do the finances?

      What are some things about your husband that you respect?

      What would you like to do about the resentment you are holding?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      I’m really glad he is contributing to the bills.

      I”m wondering if he may feel like you are acting like his Mama and like he is a little boy with an allowance and maybe that is why he prefers things to be separated? I do understand your concerns. And your concerns can be shared and will need to be addressed, but I would love to see y’all working more as a team. We can talk about what you can do on your end to move toward more of a team approach.

      You had debt before you got married but he did not?

      Have you thanked him for helping to pay the bills? What things to you appreciate him for and how do you show it?

      Much love to you! 🙂

      You are welcome to search my home page for:

      – bitterness
      – control
      – idol
      – fear
      – disrespect
      – respect

        1. chermylife,

          I am so sorry! I am no longer able to do private email consultations. I can be available here. But if you need to keep this information private (which I totally understand) and share it with a godly counselor you know in private, that may work, too.

          Much love to you!

          1. Hi Chermylife, Lori Alexander of Always Learning has a private chat room on FB. You can ask questions there in a private, woman only setting. There are several women there who have similar situations to you and may be able to offer some godly help.

        1. Heather,

          Respect and biblical submission are still possible, I believe, if there is ADD going on. But there will have to be adjustments. This will take discernment from God. But a husband with ADD may need additional reminders and help with administrative functions. I believe a wife can do this respectfully and that a husband and wife may be able to talk about how they are going to work this so that she can help him if he needs it but she is respectful and he doesn’t feel condescended to. A wise husband with ADD may defer to his wife on certain things – possibly paying the bills, for example, if he has a lot of trouble remembering to do that on time or it takes him an inordinately long period of time to do things like that. But he will want to be involved in the decisions and setting the budget. It may be wise to do a Dave Ramsey class together. He may need reminders that to another man would feel like nagging. But it is still important that he be on board with wanting to be reminded or with choosing how to be reminded.

          If there are other mental illnesses, it depends on the severity. If a husband is not in his right mind, a wife may need to respectfully, gently intervene until he is in his right mind, to get him the help he needs and to keep the family afloat. Again, it will take much discernment from the Holy Spirit.

          This is not a Christian book, but “Married to Distraction” may offer some help for a wife whose husband has ADD and she may be able to incorporate some of those ideas with God’s design for marriage. Also there is a magazine ADDitude, online, that has ideas for helping marriages. The guy who wrote Married to Distraction is a physician with ADD. His website is also super helpful. But be sure to weigh anything he says against Scripture. http://www.drhallowell.com/?s=marriage

  7. Dear Peacefulwife,

    Thank you for undertaking the very difficult task of discussing how to deal with finances while married in light of Scriptural admonishments. Your work is very encouraging to me, and this post has helped me to gain perspective on some of the money issues that I will undoubtedly deal with when I get married. Hopefully, I will be able to do what is right, respectful to my wife, and honoring to the Lord.

    I started a blog in May of this year called The Wise Money Manager that attempts to teach individuals how to make, save, and invest money with Biblical principals in mind. If you are every interested in writing a guest post for my audience or vice versa, I think that we could make a really good team based on what I have read from you.

    God bless!
    John

  8. I am wondering if anyone can relate to this perspective, and help me understand why I’m finding it so puzzling!
    My husband & I have only been married 4 years. We both work and have separate accounts. He pays the house payment, and we split the utilities & misc. house related bills proportionately according to our incomes. I take care of all my other bills, car, insurance, phone, etc., & never ask him for money. He does make significantly more than me and will pay for our vacation, some dates, etc…..and he also seems to always have enough money to blow and do whatever he wants with. YET, he thinks I should contribute more. He would like for me to pay a portion of the house payment too. I just don’t understand why. I’m more than willing to move to another house if he feels that one is too expensive, I’m not the materialistic kind. Puzzled, and trying not to resent.

    1. ROSE,

      Hmm… How did his parents handle money? What was their marriage like?

      Has he ever been remotely interested in having a joint account?

      Does one of you tend to be more frugal and the other a much bigger spender?

      How is the rest of the marriage going at this point, my dear sister?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you April! I’ve never really asked about his parents handling of money, although I know his mother always worked and he expects me to. He’s the big spender and I’m more frugal, and the rest of the marriage all needs work, which we are getting help. I want to know if I’m wrong about this, or not seeing something clearly…I have believed that because my income allows me to pay for everything I need and my own personal bills, as well as things for the house & gifts, savings, etc…that I was contributing (enough). So maybe the real problem is that he doesn’t actually SEE the details of where it is going….?? But I don’t see his either.

        1. Rose,

          Are the finances the greatest issue you are facing right now, or are they more symptomatic of the other issues, do you think?

          How are you doing spiritually at this time? 🙂

          Much love to you!

          1. Probably more symptomatic of other issues. How am I doing spiritually….love God with all my heart, but just mad (mostly with myself). Disappointed with all of this conflict, that truth be known, if I would just close my mouth, everything would be OK ;-).

          2. Rose,

            I wonder if maybe some of the other issues may be more pressing, then? And maybe when things are a bit more stable, it could be a good time to try to address the money? Or what do you believe God may be prompting you to do? Anything you’d like to hash through together with me?

            Sending you a huge hug!

          3. Thanks for the hug! 😉 Your posts are such wonderful reminders when we start going through things, when our emotions get the best of us, when we take our focus off of Him. Every time I think I have it together, I over react to something & ruin a wonderful moment. However, we are going to be courageous and begin working through our conflicts & enrichment program. I didn’t realize what a mess I was until I got married..;-). Praying I will grow & learn to love this man that He has given me, the way He wants me to. Thank you April, for giving to Him! What a blessing you are to so many. Hug back!

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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