Has a friend ever been telling you about a heated disagreement she had with someone else—perhaps her husband, mom, or a co-worker—and then presented the other person’s side of the story? Expounded on the valid points on both sides? Explained the other person’s perspective? Yeah, it hasn’t happened to me either. Come to think of it, I never tell a story that way myself. The way I usually tell the story, I was perfectly reasonable, rational, and justified, and the other person … wasn’t. Of course if you heard that other person’s side, I was probably the unreasonable one. Because we would each be assuming the worst of the others’ intentions, while viewing ourselves in terms of our best intentions. However, it’s supposed to be the other way around. We are supposed to take a more critical view of our own motivations while being more generous in our assessment of others.
~~Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)~~
As I discussed in a previous post, it is important to examine ourselves to discover those deep motivations. How we handle money is often a reflection of unresolved issues in our own hearts. Those issues can also unfairly color how we view our spouse’s financial behavior. You may consider your husband’s spending irresponsible, when really he just isn’t worried about money and is confident that God will provide. Or, it might feel like your budget-conscious husband is trying to control you, while he is trying to be a faithful steward and avoid unnecessary financial grief. Sure, there are wasteful spenders and stingy hoarders. If you truly believe that one of these applies to your husband, humbly pray for him instead of judging him. But if your husband is neither miserly nor reckless, and you’re just at different points on the saving-spending spectrum (still pray without judgment), here are two things that may help alleviate some of the financial tension in your relationship:
- Give the benefit of the doubt.
When we examine ourselves, we may discover some fear at the root of our intense budgeting, or some discontent behind our liberal spending. But we are not in the place to assume someone else’s—even a spouse’s—motivations. So don’t always assume that your frugal husband doesn’t trust you or is trying to control you. Or if you are the more frugal one, don’t assume that your spouse doesn’t care about your family’s financial future when he’s willing to spend more money than you are. Give your spouse as much grace as you would like to receive after going slightly over budget at the store. Look for good motives behind your husband’s careful eye on the finances, instead of sinister ones.
- Seek the blessing in the difference.
I have confessed to making a stinky face or two about my husband’s purchases. But there are many blessings in being married to someone who does not pinch pennies. Just three days ago, I discovered that I had ordered the wrong homeschool tests and essentially wasted $75. I was upset about it, but my husband was gracious. Without hesitation, he told me to go ahead and order another set of tests. In fact, he never makes me feel badly when I make a mistake that costs us money. And whenever we discuss a donation or financial gift, his number is always higher than mine, often significantly. It S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S me, let me tell you! But God always works it out!! Furthermore, my husband trusts me to make decisions without him when necessary. (Sometimes he even gives me a c’mon-you-know-you-don’t-need-to-check-with-me face when I check with him.) We are both involved in the finances, he just doesn’t delight in the details the way I do. So even though poring over a spreadsheet together is not his idea of a good time (It is mine!), there is no way that I would trade my generous, trusting husband for a spreadsheet-porer. (Of course, if you are married a spreadsheet-porer, you should thank God for what you have!)
So, great news! God did not make a mistake in giving you a husband who spends or saves more than you. In fact, we can learn about God’s grace through our differences with our husbands, if we are willing to open our eyes.
Thanks for stopping by,