When one spouse bears all of the financial concern alone, money can be a source of great marital strain. I learned this firsthand during the first few years of my own marriage. These days, my husband and I discuss the bills on a regular basis, and he’s expressed more than once how grateful he is for this change. But ever since I began to understand how important it is for spouses to be partners in money, I’ve had it on my heart to encourage other wives to become more involved in their families’ finances. Not only would I like to share why it is important to understand financial issues, I plan to give some practical suggestions for how to go about that. Taking those steps will probably lead to some conversations with your husband about money, so before I get to the helpful hints, now is probably a good time to address that most famous of demands: Respect.
~~However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33, NIV)~~
My husband and I are probably like most couples in that we do not always agree on how much money to spend. For example, he is usually more willing than I am to make a bigger investment in quality up front, which has sometimes saved us money on repairs or replacement later. But some of those purchases were initially met by snark, a stinky face, or seething silence. None of these responses is particularly helpful, or respectful.
One of the blessings of being informed about our financial situation is that I can offer input, support, and encouragement on money issues. We can make decisions together. But I know that it’s not just what I say; it’s how I say it. My husband deserves my respect–not judgment, criticism, or stinky face–even when we do not agree. Instead, I should “speak the truth in love,” and pray for us to be wise and united in our financial decisions.
Besides, nagging and scowling just don’t work, at least not with my husband! When he sees those “wheels of judgment” turning in my head (that’s our cute little name for it), I can see our communication shutting down. Besides, I have found that the Holy Spirit is much more effective at changing hearts and minds than I am. It also turns out that sometimes I am the one whose heart and mind need to be changed, when I was sure that my husband was “wrong.”
As I said before, I’ve had it on my heart for years to encourage women in this area. One reason for my hesitation all this time (ten years, give or take): I often do not get it right myself. That includes the Respect department. But lately I have been reminded, and will likely have to keep remembering, that I don’t have to be perfect to share what God has been teaching me (sometimes over, and over, and over again). I’m excited to finally open up about what He’s shown me so far, and to keep growing because the learning never stops!
Thank you for stopping by,