Marriage - Financial Conflict


26/04/2006
My husband wants to blame me continually for the bank account when we’re both making transactions, but I’m the only one trying to keep track of the balances. He doesn’t want to be involved with paying the bills including deferring a payment on the loan to get current as was suggested by our loan company. What can I do to get my husband more involved with the finances?

I think a lot of couples have that same issue about getting their spouse involved, particularly a wife who feels the pressure of dealing with the management of those finances. And the husband can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to speak into the situation, then you should be involved in the situation. If you’re going to make demands that things be a certain way, then you’ve got to be involved.

Here again, it boils down to this Scripture in Amos 3:3, “How can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” How can two walk together unless they are in agreement? In other words, the key to any marriage is there has to be agreement between the two parties. There has to be an understanding.

That’s why I believe that before people even get married, they should make a list of all the things that are important issues to them and make sure they’re in agreement about those things. And if they’re not in agreement about those things, they need to identify how they will deal with those items that they’re not in agreement about. If you fail to do that, you will fail.

Marriages fail because people get into the marriage based on their emotion, based on the fact that they’re attracted to one another, based on the fact that they can’t wait to be with one another. And what they do is they fail to truly identify the areas of life where they need to be in agreement about. And those areas where they need to be in agreement about are three major areas: communication, sex and money; not necessarily in that order, but all of them are vitally important.

We need to be in agreement about how we’re going to communicate, what we’re going to communicate about and how we’re going to resolve conflict in our communication. We need to agree on how we’re going to deal with communication when it gets to the point where we don’t feel like there’s a solution. Are we going to get a counselor? Are we going to be open to marriage counseling if we need it? Are we going to read books? What are we going to do? That’s communication. We need to be in agreement about that.

Number two, we need to be in agreement about sex. What do we believe about sex? How often are we committed to being involved sexually? Are we going to make sure that we live holy and pure and not involve ourselves in pornography and different things like that, which is a must. It’s an essential ingredient of a healthy marriage to not be involved in pornography or sex outside of marriage. But what do we believe about sex? What are our boundaries inside the marriage? The Bible says in Hebrews 13, “Let the marriage bed be undefiled.” We need to make sure that we have a marriage bed that is undefiled; undefiled by immorality, adultery, undefiled by forcing one another to do something that one of the two parties is not comfortable with or does not feel good about. And so there has to be agreement in the area of sex.

The third area where we need to be in agreement in is in the area of money. What do we believe about money? What is the purpose of money? What kind of ambitions do we have financially? Are we going to honor God and put Him first in our money? How are we going to manage our money? Are we going to save a certain percentage? We start by giving God the first tenth. Then we give God offerings. Then we save and we pay our bills.

A lot of times people say, “I can’t afford to tithe because there’s just not enough money.” But what you’re really saying is, you’re spending more money that you should be spending because it’s not up to us on whether we can afford to tithe. We can’t afford not to tithe. Because that’s God’s money. That would be like saying, “We can’t afford to pay the mortgage.” Then you need to downsize. Or, “We can’t afford this car.” Well, then you need change something. You can’t just say, “Well, I can’t have transportation anymore.”

We’ve got to honor God, to put God first. To just say, “Well, I can’t tithe…” No, you need to make adjustments somewhere else. You have to live somewhere, so you have to pay rent. You have to drive something or take a bus or a train, so you have to have money for transportation. And you have to honor God. You’ve got to put Him first and couples need to be in agreement about that. And they need to be in agreement about how they’re going to manage their money and how they’re going to deal with the issues at hand.

So, get a plan. Write out your essentials. Then have him write out his essentials and make sure that you’re in agreement about those things that are essential. And then in the non-essential things, have liberty. In the essentials let there be unity. But in all things, let there be charity which is love. It sounds like it’s not just a money issue for you, but it’s also a communication issue. I encourage all couples to deal with communication, sex and money.


Marriage - Financial Conflict


26/04/2006
My husband and I have 2 children and I’ve been carrying the financial burden of my family. He’s constantly changing jobs or in between jobs, so the only reliable income that we have has always been mine. I really feel like I’ve sacrificed so much, little things that I could be doing for myself, because I make pretty decent money, but I’m not able to do that because I’m always the one that takes the financial burden. Last year we both got saved and we joined a church. My husband is a very good person, but when it comes to just taking over as the head of the household, he hasn’t been doing that and I just need some guidance in that area.

You need to sit down with your husband and a counselor. Depending on what church you go to, go with a counselor of your church. Get an appointment with somebody about your marriage and address this issue so that it’s not just you telling him, but it’s somebody else telling him and helping to put things in order inside of your relationship.

Things need to be put in order so that you can have the peace and confidence to know that your husband is taking the responsibility. The Bible says in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and chapter 4 that if a man does not provide for his own household, he is worse than an unbeliever; he’s worse than a sinner. He’s not just as bad as a sinner, he’s worse than a sinner, the Bible says.

So, I really believe that you need some counseling right away and the two of you need to sit down and be open. You need to be able to share your feelings openly and he needs to be able to give you the confidence that he’s going to do what it takes to be the breadwinner so that your money can be a supplement to his. He needs to take charge. Even if you make more than him, he still needs to take charge and be responsible.

He needs to understand that it’s not because you don’t love him or care about him but it’s because your heart needs to be protected from becoming bitter towards him. You need some counseling and you need to have somebody objective to be able to say to your husband, “This is going to make your wife bitter. You have to do something about it before she eventually wants to leave you.”


Marriage - Financial Conflict


26/04/2006
I am the sole support in my house. I am the spiritual leader in my house. My husband is a non-believer and an alcoholic and he has been out of work for the last three years and I’m doing everything. He is a very proud man and he will not go and get just any job; he has to wait for like the perfect one. And I am just running out of patience. I just don’t know what to do. He’s a laborer, he’s union, and he’ll only take a union job.

You know, here’s the thing with that. I understand that dilemma. But at some point his loyalty has to be more to his wife and children than to the union. Because as far as the union goes, he doesn’t have to answer to God about how he provides for the union. But he has to answer to God about how he provides for you.

And I hate to be so blunt and frank with people about this, but I would do everything I could, if I were you, do everything I could to get him into some counseling. Say, “Look, we need marriage counseling, because we have a problem. I’m providing and you’re not. Whether you are a Christian or not, it’s irrelevant. The point is that you have a responsibility to provide for your wife and your family, for your children. And the union’s not doing that. And you’ve done this for three years, and I can’t take it any more.” That is how I would approach a conversation about counseling.

Then the next step would be to say to him, “You know what? If you’re not open to any counseling, if you’re not open to getting a job, then I have to take matters into my own hands, and I have to get some counseling, and I have to do it myself, and I’ve got to provide for my children, and I will just take care of them myself. And you can go live in an apartment or live with your mother or do whatever you have to do until you get your act together, or we’ll go live somewhere else until you get it together.” You have to be willing to do that.

He’s got three strikes against him right now. He’s an alcoholic, he’s an unbeliever, and he’s not willing to provide for his household. That’s unacceptable. And you need to let him know that. And you need to move out or send him out until he gets his act together. That’s what I would do. Even if he were a Christian, he’s an alcoholic, he won’t get a job, and he won’t provide for his family. That’s like having another child. That’s like having an infant. And I’m sure that doesn’t make your life any easier.

You need to move on and tell him, “Look, I love you and I’ll be here for you, but, you know, you can’t live this way—you can’t be a freeloader.” And that’s what he’s doing. There’s nothing wrong with that. 1 Timothy 5 says if a man does not provide for his household, he’s worse than an unbeliever. I feel for you, and I feel for your children. You’re doing a good job taking care of them; you just shouldn’t have to take care of your husband as well. He should provide for himself and get his act together.