One night, as we were getting into bed, Scott told me he had bought a motorcycle that day using money from our retirement account to make the purchase. Needless to say, as the long term manager of our finances, I was speechless. I didn't even know what to say. We hadn't talked about it. We hadn't budgeted it. Sure, I knew he longed for one, but that was just a dream boys have...wasn't it?
Just thinking about that night back in 2004 makes me tense. Since we married in 1991, I had managed our finances, keeping us on a tight budget so we could buy a house, have a retirement account, take vacations, and do all the things I thought was important for families. Did you catch that? I was managing our finances based on my vision for our family. And although I'd asked Jesus to be my Savior about a year before, I hadn't yet made Him Lord of everything.
Relinquish the Chore of Managing the Finances is the title of chapter five of The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle...and it is probably one of the scariest chapters in the book for many wives.
Surrendering makes you vulnerable, and surrendering in your finances hits wives in our greatest desire: to be safe, secure and protected. Equally, those are exactly what husbands were created to do for us by God: protect us, keep us safe and secure, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. But, the fall happened back in the Garden of Eden, and we've been struggling ever since.
And honestly, I've got to admit, I still struggle with the idea of teaching and encouraging total surrender managing the finances.
Scott took over the responsibility of managing our finances back in 2010, and it has been an amazing journey of relief and trust. Relief that I don't have to think about budget, trusting God and Scott with the decisions for our family's budget. Scott asks me my thoughts on ideas from time to time, he considers them well, sometimes changing course, sometimes proceeding as planned. Since 2010, we've not missed a meal, the electricity has stayed on, we're paying down our debts (that's another story), and we've taken some amazing vacations. All in all, with a few mistakes along the way, he's done a GREAT job taking care of us with his management of our finances and I'm so proud of him.
In the classes we teach and the counsel we give from God's Word, we share these key points:
- God owns it all and you are stewards of His resources.
- God supplies all of your needs
- Every financial decision you make is actually a spiritual decision.
- Money is not an end in itself. It is a tool to be used to accomplish God's plans and purposes.
- Your attitude toward money will drive your actions regarding money.
- The root issue in finances is never the amount of money; it is the attitude you have toward money.
- How you handle finances together may be the biggest test of oneness in your marriage.
We encourage couples to manage the finances together and for all the accounts, assets, etc. to be jointly held. God's desire for our marriage is oneness in all areas, including finances. He wants you to manage your money, not to let it manage you...you can break free of financial bondage together.
I'd encourage you to pray about what the next step is for you...and why you need to take it. I won't lie, relinquishing the finances to Scott was difficult, but it has been such a burden lifted. He is so much better at it than I realized he could be...and better than I was at it. Other benefits?
Perpetually Dating. I love that not only does my husband open doors for me, he pays during date night. Don't ask me what a matinee costs, because I don't know! I just walk through the door and take my seat.
Generosity. My husband is exceedingly more generous to me than I am. I would scrimp and save and deny myself simple pleasures like a frappaccino. He manages the money to include those simple delights for me. He also gives more to our church and ministries that are important to us. You won't want to miss the next post, Just Say Thank You, when I share about learning to receive.
Awareness. As my husband manages our finances, he is acutely aware of how much is coming in and how much has to go out. He seeks and prays about opportunities to increase his income as he never has before.
Walking Taller. Through managing our finances, my husband has stepped up his game as man, husband and father. He walks taller taller than ever, feeling more respected, providing for and protecting his family like never before because he sees the burden he's carrying and how his decisions affect the entire family.
Back to that motorcycle...that purchase happened in the midst of what we call our "testimony gathering time." Surrendering to him at that time would have been foolish- he wasn't surrendered to Christ, he was an alcoholic abusing prescription drugs and steeped in adultery...in response to my overwhelming controlling. We were a mess. Before I could even comprehend surrendering to Scott, I had to surrender to Jesus...and make Him Lord of every aspect of my life. That was part of our journey, I hope you'll listen to it, and ask what you need to surrender next. I'd encourage you to read The Surrendered Wife for practical steps to relinquishing the chore of managing finances, encouragement and success stories.
As for the motorcycle, we sold it shortly after we reconciled. Do I fear he'll buy another one? Nope. I know that when it's time, it will be a decision we'll make together and ride off into the sunset together.
In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading: Control or Intimacy, Did You Marry a Loser?, Chauffeur or VIP, Shhhh!, Crazy Resentful, and Your Heart's Desire.
CAUTION: As with other aspects of surrendering, do NOT relinquish your family's finances if your husband is struggling with an active addiction or adultery. PLEASE seek a biblical counselor near you to walk through this with you. Find a local Celebrate Recovery group.
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