Last week we saw in Ephesians chapter 5, God calls all wives to submit to their husbands in marriage…in EVERYTHING. This verse calls for an overall attitude of submission in marriage, but some areas call for a more “active submission”. In other words, as the wife, we have to actively do things that show we are submitting to our husband’s authority. One area that frequently causes discord amongst spouses is finances. Whether it be budgeting, saving, or spending, we should defer to our husbands’ leadership in managing our family’s finances. This area is one in which we can daily walk out what submission really looks like. In order for us to survive in this modern-day world, money has to be exchanged, and exchanged often. As the God-appointed leader of our households, it is our husband’s job to bear the responsibility of how that money is exchanged. In God’s eyes, your husband will be held accountable for your family’s decisions regarding money. Were you generous with God’s gifts to you? Did you put too much emphasis on material “things” and spend everything you had and more? Did you tithe? You may say, “my husband just isn’t good with money” or “I am the ‘bread-winner’ in this family and therefore really the one in charge”. Even if these situations describe you, I would encourage you to still exhibit an attitude of submission and respect, and show your husband with your actions that he is actually in control, regardless of your circumstances. This may require you to ask more questions (in a non-nagging way), to encourage a meeting with a financial planner that can lay out your goals, or to research and present ways to more effectively manage your money, while still making your husband feel in control. I admit this can be tricky. An important point here is, actions follow attitude, so you must first have a true attitude of submission. To blatantly disregard this role your husband holds, would disrespect him and make him feel inadequate. You may feel as though he is not capable of making these types of decisions, but often times, our husbands will rise to meet the level of respect we show them and what we believe they can be capable of. Exhibiting trust and respect on your part, in turn, may lead him to decide that you are to be the one managing the in and outflow of money. The key is, he is the one that decides.
This area of submission has been particularly difficult for me. The self-reliant, selfish, and rebellious side of me has reared its ugly head a few too many times. Like many educated young women, I can and have supported myself, made my own money, and balanced my own checkbook (although not always very well!). So, once I was married and my husband decided to take over (and rightfully so), I stiffened up like a toddler in a defiant fit and still tried to do things my own way. It has taken literally years of discussions, disagreements, and hashing it out sessions for me to finally concede to the idea that although I am a part of this team, I am ultimately not in control of our finances. God revealed to me that by acting defiant and independent, I was actually getting in the way of the intimate, cohesive marriage that I have always desired, and He has always had for me. As soon as I laid down my agenda and truly showed my husband that I am on his side and want what he wants for our finances, I saw him soften. He figuratively and literally heaved a sigh of relief. Now, instead of painstakingly trying to convince me that his plan is good and trying to corral my spending, he can focus more energy on leading us the way God would have him lead. Once again, I am not getting in the way of God’s perfect order and things just run a whole lot smoother. This is a daily decision for me. I have to keep reminding myself that God is directing the steps and decisions of my husband, so by submitting to him, I am really submitting to the Lord. Thankfully, my husband really is infinitely better at managing finances than me (he was a Business Finance major!). Are you showing your husband that he is in control of this area of your marriage?
Jennifer Zabel is part of the Awesome Marriage Global Management team. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her beloved husband, Mason, their three daughters Ella, Claire, and Hays, and their lab Goodie. Besides her most coveted title of wife and mother, Jennifer has previously held the titles of Registered Nurse, Miss Oklahoma 2005, and Lash Stylist for her company The Lash Lounge, LLC. Jennifer and her family attend Life Church.