Allowing Your Future Husband to Handle the Finances When You are Married > Greater Intimacy!

Posted on October 10, 2012 by


This post is about finances in marriage – and it is something I NEVER heard anything about before we got married.  It’s something I would like single girls to think about and pray about before getting married.  I’d love this to be on your radar screen as an option for how to handle finances when you are married.

While we are talking about finances in marriage – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure that before you marry your guy you discuss that IF you have children and want to stay home, that is ok with your man.  Many women don’t realize that they want to stay home all the time with their babies until they hold their first baby in their arms.  At that point, if you had promised your husband you’d always work full time and you have obligations like car payments and mortgage payments, your husband will RESENT you if you back out of your financial promises.  I would STRONGLY recommend living on your husband’s income and using yours to build up savings or pay off debt or pay for extras.  And PLEASE have a talk with your man before you marry about considering the possibility you may want to stay home and stop working once you have children.  You can always keep working if you want to, but if your husband is unprepared for the idea of you staying home, things can get REALLY ugly and then you may not have a choice – he may force you to work and you’ll resent him, or he may begrudgingly let you stay home and resent you.  Resentment KILLS marriages, love and respect.  Please think about these things WAY AHEAD OF TIME!  

I have had two questions about this topic (almost word for word the same!) within an hour this morning – so I think it is definitely a great time to tackle a HUGE issue – that is probably going to make many of you break out in hives. Hang on with me – let’s work through this together!  It is going to be OK! 🙂

Here is a question I received from a wife:

April,

I would love to see a post on some practical ways we can stop leading our families and start acknowledging our husbands leadership. My husband and I have a really good marriage, however sometimes I feel like the leader.

I find my husband asking my permission to do certain things or asking me to make decisions, and when I ask him why he jokingly replies “because you’re the boss.” I mainly manage the finances and I think that has a lot to do with it. I know how much money we have, so he feels like he needs to check with me before making a purchase. I hate feeling like the head of the home, but I don’t know how to switch gears. Thanks for all you do, this blog has been such an encouragement to me.

LET’S APPROACH THIS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW THAT OUR MARRIAGE AND SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL/PHYSICAL INTIMACY ARE OUR PRIMARY GOALS IN OUR MARRIAGE, NOT  FINANCIAL “SUCCESS.”

Finances are an area where I believe God tests our faith in Him and His Word and in our husbands in some of the most practical ways.  It’s all great to SAY we trust God and to SAY we trust our husbands to lead – but when it comes down to finances, sometimes we don’t stick with our faith – we want financial security ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE.  It is SO easy to make finances and money and a certain amount of savings/retirement/”cushion”/lack of debt our goal – and sometimes these things become more than goals, they become idols.

If I am more concerned with getting out of debt in 2 years than I am about my intimacy with Christ and/or about the health of my marriage – that is a HUGE red flag!  Finances are important.  I would love for us all to have savings and none of us to have debt and for all of us to spend wisely and responsibly.  But even more than those very good financial goals, I want us to have vibrant, healthy, powerful intimacy with God and with our husbands.

THE WAY THINGS WERE

For the first 16 years of our marriage – I was in charge of the money and paying the bills.  I was super responsible and capable and a bit neurotic and OCD about finances – and my husband wanted me to be in charge of the bills.  That was one less thing he had to worry about.  So I was being submissive, right?   I worked as a pharmacist and he as an engineer.  This all seemed totally fine on paper.  And, financially – it worked great for me to be in charge of the money.

WHAT BEING IN CHARGE OF THE FINANCES DID TO MY ATTITUDE

Some of my HUGE and very ungodly pride earlier in our marriage came from:

  • me knowing I earned more money than my husband did
  • me being in charge of the finances
  • me feeling all the weight of responsibility and wanting to MAKE everything happen “right” so that we didn’t have any financial problems.
  • me feeling like I had so much control since I was in charge of the money.  (We had our money together, but I felt VERY responsible for making sure we stayed out of debt and didn’t spend too much and I was very happy to veto my husband’s ideas if they “cost too much.”)
  • me thinking so much about my financial contribution and thinking, “Well, so much of this is really MY money, and if I want to spend a lot on a shopping trip, then I can, since it’s really mostly mine.”  And I was NOT frugal during that time – until my hours were drastically cut.

Once my hours at Walgreens were suddenly slashed from 24/week to 8/week and we lost the equivalent of my husband’s entire yearly income suddenly 3 days before Christmas 3 years ago:

  • I kicked into total OCD mode and became the budget Nazi.
  • I started constantly telling my husband what he could NOT spend.
  • I went absolutely frugal and tried to save every single cent.  (Not that it was bad to be frugal, but I put a TON of pressure on my husband not to spend anything at all, ever!)

WHAT DID MY BEING IN CHARGE OF THE FINANCES DO TO MY HUSBAND AND OUR MARRIAGE?

  • my pride and control got a HUGE boost.
  • I felt I was “in charge” of much more than just finances, I let that power seep out into many areas.
  • my husband (especially after my hours were cut) began to resent me telling him what he could and could not spend.  I was telling him what to do – and even though I was trying to learn about respect, I was in the position of telling my husband what he had to do and what he couldn’t do and that did not work well!
  • my husband didn’t feel the weight of the financial decisions and didn’t really think too much about ways we could save money more.  I remember asking him multiple times about the cable bill, that I thought was astronomical, and he would say, “Oh, it’s fine.”
  • my husband didn’t really feel like much of a provider
  • my husband didn’t feel like much of a leader
  • we had more of a mother/son relationship going on with finances, and I was also controlling about how to take care of our children and many other issues.
  • my husband’s desire for me physically was definitely adversely affected (not necessarily just because of the financial control, but probably because of my overall disrespect and control – but the finances helped me feel like it was my right and duty to be more in control.)
  • I felt very rejected A LOT.  Then I felt more unloved.  Then I would react with more disrespect – and the cycle would go on and on.
  • I adopted an aggressive, masculine, in charge attitude
  • my husband became more passive and more resentful

WHAT I DID

My husband bought the book, “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle, for me in December of 2010.  THAT BOOK HELPED ME SO MUCH!  Doyle taught me practical ways to stop my controlling thinking and to learn to step back and not take control.  I read it every day for 3 months because it was so foreign to me that I knew I couldn’t retain it unless I read it over and over.

That weekend that I read the book – I decided to follow Doyle’s advice and give up control of the finances to my husband.  She talked about all the intimacy we often miss when we don’t surrender to our husbands financially and allow them to handle the money and bills.

I was concerned because I had tried to give the bills to my husband several times in the past and he wouldn’t take the finances!  So I thought I had no choice, but I had to keep doing them myself.  Even though it was adversely affecting our emotional/spiritual/physical intimacy having me in charge so much.

SO – I took the plunge and gave my husband the finances just as she prescribed.

I said, in passing (with a pleasant tone of voice and very nonchalantly), “Hey, Honey!  I can’t do the financial stuff anymore.  It’s too much for me.  Here are the passwords and account info for you.  Thanks!”  And I walked away.

And I never touched any of it again!

If he complained – I said, “Thanks for handling that!  You are the best!”

I didn’t check up on him to be sure he was paying the bills.  I didn’t quiz him to be sure he started tithing like I always had.  I didn’t know if he’d tithe or not.  I was pretty worried about that at the time.  I didn’t know if he’d start paying the bills or not.  And I think he didn’t touch it for several days or a week.  But I didn’t take it back.  I didn’t open envelopes.  I just piled the envelopes at the computer in a stack and trusted that my husband would handle it.

WHAT HAPPENED?

He handled it.  And he has done a MUCH better job than I ever did!  He did start tithing 6 weeks after I gave him the bills.  I never mentioned it.  I thanked him for handling the money.

HOW DID GIVING UP THE BILLS AFFECT ME?

  • I felt so much lighter and more free not having that weight on me.
  • I could be as frugal as I wanted with the groceries still, but I wasn’t telling my husband what to do, so I gave up a lot of control – and I WANTED to give up that control.
  • It was a little scary at first, I wasn’t sure if he would really actually do it or not.  But he did, and within a few weeks, I realized, I had worried for nothing.
  • around the same time, I also practiced a lot of the other “surrendering” principles Laura Doyle talked about and I began to have so much peace!
  • I became much more dependent on my husband (in a good way), more vulnerable, more trusting.
  • I learned how to receive care and provision from my husband and respond with gratitude.
  • I became more thankful towards my husband.
  • I learned to trust my husband more – got some exercise for those weak “trust muscles.”
  • I learned to depend on God more, trusting Him to lead me through my husband financially.
  • I learned to give up a lot of unnecessary control.

HOW DID TAKING ON THE FINANCES AFFECT MY HUSBAND?

  • He felt like HE was in charge of a lot of things for the first time.
  • He felt much more responsible for spending more wisely when he was watching everything come in and go out.
  • He felt much more like the main provider – he finally was the main breadwinner with my hours being cut, but now he also could actually see that the money he earned paid for everything we needed.
  • He felt the need to save money and started looking for places to cut spending.  I had to try not to laugh when he said, “Our cable bill is WAY too high!  I think we can get a better deal than this!”  And he found a way for us to have satellite tv, internet phone and internet access for $100 LESS PER MONTH than we had been paying!  WOOHOOO!  I sure praised him for that move!
  • He found really neat computer software that I never knew anything about that tracks everything and helps him know where everything is going.  I was impressed!
  • He began to pursue ME again, instead of me being the one pursuing him.  I think a lot of the resentment melted away because I wasn’t telling him what to do anymore.
  • at first, he was unsure about taking on so much more responsibility – he didn’t see where it was a good deal for him, but later he said, “I added a lot more to my plate, but it felt really kind of neat.”
  • He was able to take me out on dates without having to get my approval for the amount of money he was going to spend.  He could treat me to gifts and special evenings out and it was truly a gift that he gave to me and I wasn’t telling him, “No!  That’s too much money!”
  • This was a HUGE part of his training in godly and responsible leadership.
  • He began to stand a little taller and feel like a MAN!

AM I SAYING ALL WIVES SHOULD GIVE THE FINANCES TO THEIR HUSBANDS?

Well – that decision is up to you!  But it sure worked for me, and Laura Doyle, and the women in her surrendered circles and many other women I know.

Yes, it’s scary to think about giving up control.  But what you realize later is that you only gave up a burden and you get so much more intimacy as a result!  It is actually a GIFT to your marriage in many cases when you can do this.

SOME TIPS: (From “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle)

IF you decide to give the finances to your husband –

  • It’s a 2-3 sentence talk from you at the most.  END of discussion.  This is not a 30 minute oration about WHY you are giving him the finances.
  • You say something, maybe even in passing like , “I can’t do the finances anymore.  I know you’ll do a great job.  Here are the passwords and account numbers.  Thanks, Honey!”
  • You leave it alone.  You don’t touch it.
  • If he complains about it, you thank him for handling that responsibility and tell him he’s doing a fantastic job.
  • if he forgets to pay the light bill on time or something, not a big deal.  Have grace to offer if he does make a mistake – and he will probably not make that mistake again!
  • it may take some time for him to adjust to the idea, that is ok.
  • don’t take it back from him!  Tell him, “I can’t do it.”
  • don’t check up behind him to be sure he’s doing what he “is supposed to be doing.”
  • trust him to handle it and figure it out.
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