For over 16 years of our 26 year marriage, I handled the bills and finances. Greg and I are both quite conservative and responsible with money. So we have always been pretty much on the same page in this area, thankfully.
We had an agreement early on in our marriage that we would check with each other if we were going to spend over a certain amount at one time.
We always had joint accounts, which worked well for us. Neither of us is an over spender. We always paid off all credit card bills each month and the only debt we carried in those early years was our mortgage and sometimes a car payment. (Although we drive our cars until they are very old, so we often don’t have a car payment, which was awesome.)
Giving Up Control in My Marriage
As I learned about treating my husband with honor and respect and about giving up trying to control him, I realized that I was pretty OCD with our money. I checked the online accounts multiple times per day. I tended to obsess about the bills and how much we had in the checking account.
I also tended to be more generous with myself on spending what I wanted to spend than I was with the things he wanted.
For years, I made a good bit more money than Greg did and I tended to feel like that gave me more power in the marriage somehow. Especially with me handling the bills.
I decided it would be better if I gave the bill-paying and finance managing to Greg. Not because I couldn’t do it. I had done it in a very responsible way for years. But because it was another way that I could show trust and let Greg have a bit more control over something important after I had tried to control almost everything for so many years.
One Day, I Gave the Finances to My Husband
So one day I just gave him all the bills and passwords to the accounts and said something like, “I think it would be better if you are in charge of the bills. I think I am being too controlling with the money and I want you to feel like you have more freedom to lead in this area.” Then I left it with him and didn’t check on it again (after I had recently paid everything for the month).
At first, Greg wasn’t really excited about the idea. But he saw that I tended to stress over the bills. After a week or so, he picked it up.
Greg put almost everything on autopay and began to really enjoy paying the bills and handling the finances.
He said it was an extra weight but “it felt kind of neat.”
He has done a phenomenal job with our finances and because he had more involvement with our accounts, he started finding better deals and ways we could be better stewards of our money. I had expressed the desire to change things to save money when I was in charge, but he wasn’t very involved in the finances and didn’t feel the weight of it directly.
It worked better for us for him to be the one to figure things out like that and I was always happy to cooperate with whatever he felt was best.
I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t continue tithing. But he did. I mentioned once that I would really like for us to continue to tithe and he has always handled it.
I was there if he wanted help, of course, but he didn’t need it. I was shocked how me letting go of paying the bills took quite a lot of weight and heaviness off of my shoulders.
Greg really thrived on leading in this new way. And he began to grow by leaps and bounds in confidence after many years of tending to be more passive while I took charge. My husband finally being at the helm of the financial ship was the best financial decision I believe I have ever made.
He eventually started researching a lot more about investing and became extremely knowledgeable. At this point, his knowledge is far past mine on all things financial.
Now he makes more money than I do, but no matter who makes the most money, I am very happy to let him handle things. Of course, he involves me in major decisions, he asks for my input, and he trusts me to spend appropriately. I support his leading and spend responsibly. So we both trust each other and are more on the same page than ever.
Every Christian Couple Needs to Decide How They Want to Handle Their Finances
Every couple has to decide how they want to handle their finances. As long as you are honoring Scripture, you can do whatever works best for you. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to do exactly what we did.
Some husbands don’t have a lot of time and prefer for their wives to pay the bills. This can work as long as the wife sees herself as part of a cooperative team with her husband, not as his boss with the money.
In my view, both spouses usually want to have a voice in the finances, budgeting, and spending. And I believe both need some discretionary income. It rarely seems to work well when one spouse hounds the other over every dime they spend. Or if one spouse has to beg for money from the other.
Of course, if you can’t agree, the husband is ultimately accountable for the leadership decisions, so seek to honor your husband and what he believes is best, (as long as he isn’t leading you into sin).
If one spouse has issues with compulsive spending, mania, ADD/ADHD, gambling addictions, drug/alcohol addictions, difficulties with math, etc… those are important things to prayerfully consider when you decide how you want to handle your finances. Or if one spouse is committing adultery or a compulsive liar, having joint accounts may not be a wise idea until trust is restored.
You may need a financial counselor, Christian mentor, and/or medical help depending on your situation.
I like the idea of spouses sharing joint accounts. To me, it contributes to the sense of unity and oneness, knowing that whatever money we each make, it is “ours,” not “mine and yours.”
If you and your husband have a great method for handling the money, we’d love to hear about it!
Dave Ramsey has courses to help you find financial peace that may be a blessing to your marriage and finances that I invite you to check out.
What Does the Bible Say about Managing Your Finances? by www.gotquestions.org