Restoring the Lost Petal

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Marriage and Finances: Not Just the Husband’s Responsiblity

Do you have the concept of marital finances out of balance?

It is not his money because he makes it.

It is not your money because you earned it.

It isn’t yours to spend however you want.

It isn’t his to control.

marital finances

It breaks my heart to hear of women who have no knowledge or input into the family finances. It upsets me when I see men who play no role in financial decisions other than bringing home the paycheck.  Just as men don’t have the exclusive right to control the finances they also should not shrug off the responsibility of being an active participant in the finances.

Bottom line, husband and wife have equal responsibility in the financial success of their family.

I know an elderly couple whose family came to a stunning realization of their poor money management when the husband became ill. Their over spending, lack of control (and in my opinion communication) was revealed when serious debt was found. Later, the wife admitted she had no idea how her husband handled the finances.

In marriage you have become one; intertwined with one another, and Christ to create a beautiful oneness found nowhere else through no other institution. Just as building a successful marriage takes time, commitment, selflessness and a focus on Christ so does being successful with your finances.

The financial circle may include the husband making most or all of the money and the wife doing most of the management , as is the case in our home. But both parties are equally responsible for the handling of the finances with Christ’s help.  He does not make it, they will falter; if she does not manage it well they will falter.

I have coached clients where one spouse is fully on board with changing their financial situation but the other is not.  It almost always ends up where one spouse is trying to make headway in getting out of debt, living within a budget or cutting expenses and the other is running fast paced in the opposite direction.  It is possible, but very hard when both partners are not on the same page.

But He is the Leader of Our Home

marriage and money - a team effort

This is probably the biggest excuse I hear for wives not being active participants in the finances.

Yes, your husband should be the head of your home.  But this leadership is not an executive position where by some information is confidential and therefore cannot be shared with the subordinates.

This leadership is a covering. It should be an “I’m the leader but we are all in this together” leadership.  You can fall under someone’s leadership and still be their equal with respect to the success of the group (or team).

Think about players on a football team.

The team captain may be the quarterback but does that make the quarterback more important then the tight ends?  The kicker?  What about the wide receiver who runs the ball in for a touchdown, he could arguably be more important during certain portions of the game than the quarterback even though the QB is team captain.

In a marriage God is our team owner and coach. Our husband’s are to be the quarterback and team captain. He calls out the plays and keeps the team motivated and moving forward; the team looks to him for direction on the field.  We, as wives, could represent a whole host of other players from receiver to the center (the guy who snaps the ball back to the QB for EVERY play.)  Either way, those players are just as important in the success of the team as the quarterback.

I imagine in the huddle a wide receiver could make a suggestion to the the QB before the next play, a good leader would listen to the suggestion, evaluate it on the fly and accept or reject it.  The wide receiver isn’t afraid to suggest or condemned for not submitting, he suggests with confidence but knows that ultimately the QB and captain have the final say unless overridden by the coach.

How much more important is it in the success of family finances that the wife is able to confidently suggest and point out things to her husband.  In his role he can choose to prayerfully consider and then accept or reject lovingly the wife’s ideas.  She suggests with confidence knowing that her opinion is valued by the team. He of course is subject to the Coach as well (capital C).

Let me share a personal example of this with you.

We were on track to being debt free by January 2014.  We had accomplished this with no windfall of money, just hard work, budgeting and sound decisions over the past 2 years.  When I got laid off in May 2013 I knew it would be crucial that we paid off our debt so that we could make it without me making the same salary we were accustomed to.  I ran numbers several times and came to the conclusion that if we used less than 10% of the insurance money we had for replacement things we could be debt free.  It would mean we’d have to be frugal in what we did buy when it came to less than necessary replacement things.

When I showed him my suggested plan my husband said no.

So I prayed about it, gave it to God and let the Coach handle it from there. (I also reached out to a friend who reminded me the was my “team captain”).

I brought it up one other time when he asked me about our insurance money and you know what, he said “get that stuff paid off, the sooner the better.”

Had I not suggested it the idea may never have crossed his mind.  I was obedient to suggest, willing to be rejected but faithful that the Coach had everything under control.

If you aren’t a team in your finances I suggest you begin by taking it to the Lord.  Pray that your husband will be receptive to your input or in some cases step past his pride and realize that you are a better manager of the money than he.  As the Lord to change his heart and open his eyes to see your finances as a partnership.

Is the financial management in your home a one man operation or a team effort?



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The Prairie Homestead

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  1. Team operation! We’ve worked together since day one, but only by the grace of God. My husband came from a family where Dad brought home the bacon, Mom paid the bills, BUT Dad made all the major financial decisions. When it came to things like loans (which they took few of), insurance, and the like, I get the impression that my mother-in-law was clueless about what they had and why.

    I told my husband I didn’t want the stress of managing the finances, particularly during this season of life. I did the finances for the first 6-8 months, and then he created an Excel spreadsheet with a ton of bells and whistles — and he’s been doing the “paperwork” part of the budget since then. We still discuss where to put what, whether we should put some into gifts or household this week, etc. Operating as a team is a HUGE blessing.

    • It is a great blessing when you can work together isn’t it? It’s natural for one spouse to be the “manager” of the paperwork side of things and that’s best. In our house,that’s me. We are sort of opposite you guys. He did it the first year and half we were together but once we bought the house and he asked me to take over.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective! I have witnessed a lot of mismanagement with money from others and it breaks my heart. I am so very thankful that my husband and I made it a priority to work on our finances together from the beginning of our marriage. We have been through some rough spots financially but we made it through together because we trusted the Lord and learned to do what we had to in order to get by.

    • Good for you! When you’re in agreement, even in the lean times, things are easier because you are working together!

  3. What a great message!!! I’ve seen so many couples where money is a his and hers concept and all the challenges this brings to the table (jealousy, communication, etc). I love your football example with God as the coach… it’s hard to submit sometimes – but then again it takes some of the pressure off of us!

  4. What if your husband not only makes all the money but is much better at managing it? I am learning from my husband all the time but honestly he is better with money than I am. I am good at saving money at the grocery store and saving money on our clothes and shoes. We have 5 children. He always has money saved and makes sure all the bills are payed. I use to pay the bills when I worked and I was not as good at it.

    • Thanks for commenting Amber. If he is better at managing it then I’d continue to do what you are – learn from him. We all have strengths and weaknesses which is what makes a marriage a beautiful establishment. Balance to you doesn’t have to mean 50-50 (making-managing like our house). If you are more inclined to be the frugal “saver” when it comes to shopping than I would recommend embracing that aspect and be the best frugal gal you can be. 🙂

      It’s like opening a stubborn jar of salsa. You can make the best tacos the world has ever seen for dinner but you might need your husbands help to open the jar which completes the mean. 😉


    • Oh! And I wrote a post just the other day called “Honoring Your Breadwinner by Being Frugal”.

  5. Riversana says:

    I’ve been married for 4 1/2 years, and we’ve maintained a his/hers money with a joint account for bills, which I pay. There were several reasons for this at first; we were living together but not married, and I made about 3x what he did. I lost my job in Jan 2012, and we were able to continue with his income and my unemployment. I’m scared to ask him to consider an “our” money situation as he might see this the wrong way since I’m not contributing income. We’ve paid our own personal bills (credit cards, loans, etc.) and while we know where the other’s information is ICE, we’ve not really shared much more than estimates. We’re trying to get pregnant, as my hubbs is 8 yrs older than I and really wants kids while he still has the energy and health to enjoy them. I’d like to be a SaHM, but I don’t see how this is possible with only one income. Thanks for listening!

  6. I’m an accountant so I manage the day to day and budgeting/forecasting but we definately work as a team on big purchases and long range planning! As an accountant, I have to say that women who sit by and let their husband’s control all money matters are, in my opnion, NOT honoring their duties as keepers of the home. What if your husbad died or became incapacitated through disease or disability leaving you to be the provider and you had no clue whether there was life insurance, what kind of debt existed, where the deed to the house was, and how much was in savings? How on earth would Mom continue to provide for the children and get the family back on it’s feet? And any man that withholds this kind of information or refuses to involve his wife in fnancial matters is no “leader of the home”. What kind of man would ever put his wife and children in such a position?

  7. Amazing internet site you’ve going here.


  1. […] Being frugal is more than just saving money.  It may be your part of the team effort for successful family finances. […]

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