You’re married, you’re the financial coach of the relationship, and your spouse is more of the benchwarmer. Sure your spouse does a lot of other things, but they seem so terribly uninvolved and unmotivated to assist in the financial matters of your relationship. What do you do?
Pitfall: Are you happy that your spouse doesn’t participate? Two heads are always better than one, and you’re only disadvantaging yourself with the bad attitude.
By not involving your spouse, you’re taking on all of the burden. Your spouse could help you with the stress if you gave them a chance and stopped being so prideful.
You pay the bills, you read the statements, you direct the cash flows, and you do your best to control the money, but still, your spouse does nothing! What is the matter with them? You could be the problem.
So let’s talk about how we can get your spouse involved on the finances!
Money And A Lack Of Interest
All finances should be done as a team effort. If someone in the relationship literally says “I don’t want to worry about the money part”, then they are being totally irresponsible.
Every person, regardless of their level of knowledge, can contribute positively to the family’s finances.
A lack of interest is not a viable excuse; this is not elementary school, this is real life. If you’re adult enough for marriage, then you’re adult enough to manage money.
At the end of the day, managing money is 65% discipline, 30% common sense, and 5% extraordinary knowledge. If you remember school at all, a 95% is still an A! So, with the common sense and discipline down, you’ll do fine.
Money And Your Attitude
A lot of the problems with finances in marriage are rooted in attitude. If you have a superior attitude, a condescending demeanor, or you prefer them not participating, then prepare to handle the burden on your own. Not only that, but prepare for your spouse to be resentful towards you.
Your attitude about money needs to change. If you act like the end-all be-all, gatekeeper of the finances, then that is what you’ll probably be. Openly invite your spouse to assist in finances. Better yet, don’t invite, admit that you would like or need their help.
Christian Marriages and Finances
Humility is an important thing in marriage, and it’s something that I’m still actively learning. Superiority has no role in a marriage. I believe that in a Godly, Christian marriage, a wife should be obedient to her husband, but this is not based on superiority, but respect.
In that same manner, the husband MUST respect his wife. This is a mutual respect in marriage, not a superiority hierarchy. A common misconception, because of the obedience commands, is that the wife should not be involved in the finances at all. This is a massive misconception, and it will only serve to hurt a marriage.
Let me point out the very last proverb (Proverbs 31:10-31). I’ll include some key excerpts which clearly argue this misconception (emphasis mine):
“11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
“16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
That sounds like a stong, important, and involved wife if you ask me. That sounds completely contrary to the ideology that the wife should not be involved at all.
Consider Your Spouse’s Ideas
Truly consider and work with your spouse’s ideas. This is their money, and relationship too. You should truly want to have their input on how things are working. You’ll know that things are truly balanced when it goes from you considering their ideas, to them considering your ideas.
You don’t have to give up every aspect of financial control, but only control the things that you are best at, and that your spouse would prefer not to handle. A perfect example is investments. If your spouse has no interest in reading financial statements and picking stocks, then by-all-means handle that part. But if they have the slightest hint of interest, do everything you can to get their input.
Quit Always Being Right
This kind of goes along with the above point. Are you the one who determines if something is right or wrong? That is a very destructive way to run things. Both parties should be able to talk out their ideas, explain why they think that way, and it should be done in a mature, non-argumentative manner.
The non-argumentative manner might be one of the harder parts. When two people feel strongly about opposing ideas, arguments tend to occur, but this is where you both need to talk it out carefully, and choose your words wisely.
” 18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
” 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
” 3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
A Household Divided Against Itself Will Not Stand
Marriage is a union, a team, and a partnership. All of these work best when both people are using their strengths and supporting each others’ weaknesses. Here are some words of wisdom that we should all try to live by:
” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25 (NIV)“
If you’ve been shoving your spouse to the bench, then it is time to apologize, ask for help, and get that team moving forward. Together, you and you spouse can and will achieve all of the goals you set ahead of you. No single person in a relationship should carry the full burden of anything.
If it worked that way, then marriage wouldn’t exist. You’ve come together in marriage to form one cohesive unit, so start acting like one. Cars don’t get very far without tires, and tires don’t get very far without the rest of the car. Go sweep your spouse off of her feet, or go be swept off of yours and start a new chapter. You’ll never regret that you did.