Tuesday I shared some truths I have learned by reading This Momentary Marriage. As mentioned there, one of the areas God has been faithful to give me many opportunities to work on is that of submission to my husband. Remember that submission does NOT equal being a doormat, having no voice in decisions, or stuffed down into the “barefoot & pregnant role.” (For the record, I do love being barefoot… and pregnancy has many rewards too!)
When my darling husband proposed to me many years ago, only a few areas of slight concern arose which we needed to work through and discuss. One of these was family finances. I considered myself pretty financially savvy. My parents never gave me allowance, I had to work for every penny; I had attended many financial seminars and had numerous hours of teaching through church and school about budgeting, frugality, and God’s plan for money.
Matt, on the other hand, did not have the same background as I did in this area. Although he was making some positive changes, he wasn’t quite a new man yet. But, he firmly believed that he wanted to be in charge of the family finances. Being the controlling person I am, I assumed that I should just take leadership in this area. After all, if I was better at it, shouldn’t I just be in charge??
**For the record, I don’t believe that it is more/less godly for the man to be in charge of family finances. The responsibility needs to be discussed and prayed about by both parties and a collective decision made. While both husband and wife play an important role in where and how money is used, I have not found a biblical mandate saying that only the husband can pay bills, make a budget, etc.**
The problem here became one for my heart. I felt that I could do better, so I just wanted to take charge. I didn’t want to trust my husband or the Lord. Matt, however, felt it was an area in which he should take the lead. I bucked. I argued. I was upset. So we talked. I prayed. I consented. Then we married. Matt did a fine job managing the money. While he may not have made decisions the same as I would have, we were making it.
I was still upset inside though. I never wanted to talk about money. Many times Matt and I would get into heated discussions about our finances, mainly because still, in my heart, I felt I could do a better job. As the months turned into years, however, God began to do a work inside of me. He taught me how to pray for patience. It wasn’t my job to force my husband to follow my standards for money managing. In fact, by giving God control, He could teach Matt so much better than I could! (What a revelation!)
God also had things He wanted to teach me. I needed to trust Him to know what was best for our family. He needed to humble me to understand that it is not my responsibility to control every aspect of my husband. God should be in charge, and He can do just fine without me stepping in to do His job. He taught me to be quiet and not interject my demands. He showed me how to approach my husband humbly with ideas rather than forcing my requirements.
Through taking a finance class at school by a wonderful teacher, experience running the household budget, and reading a great book on money management, God also changed many ideas and philosophies of my husband to be even better and more God-honoring. And, guess what? God did it all without me being in control! Matt commented just the other day that he didn’t know why I married him when his financial mindset was so off balance. Frankly, I don’t know either! But, I do know that God has changed not only Matt’s way of running our home’s money, but the way I view my husband’s role as leader.
Now Matt and I sit down together each month for a budget meeting. We discuss upcoming bills, spending, and saving plans for the month, and work out the budget together. Matt is the leader, and I follow and give insight and advice. We listen to each other’s concerns and ideas. We make collective decisions that, Lord willing, will be for the good of our family. There are still times when I must “preach” to myself to resist taking complete control, but I am grateful that God has taught me what true submission is in this area – to trust and follow my husband as he follows the Lord.