Who Controls the Money?

Money…what do you value?
Money only shows the problem in a relationship, it‘s not the problem.

Who takes care of your finances?
Before we married, we decided who would pay the bills…because the person who controls the money, controls how it is spent…we decided that my husband would lead in all things.
He will be the first to say I probably would do a better job, but he decides where the money will be spent. He has the power.
The first time he was deployed for a year, the check book had nothing written in it. (This was before on-line checking). I asked him “How was I to know if this bill was paid?” He said he had it in his head. I told him his head wasn’t here paying the bills for me…By the second time he was deployed…he wrote things down. That was easier for me, probably not for him. He did it for my need for security, not his lack of a head. When he returned after a year, I gave it back to him. Sometimes it was hard. He lost $100 when $100 meant whether we ate or not. He wasn’t worried. He said it’d show up later. It did. Several months later. I allow him to lead with the money---I don’t take over the control.
For some couples, the woman controls the money. It gives her security. (I understand that, especially living through the above experiences.)
But is it security because you can’t trust your husband?
Or is it your need to control?
We don’t like to be dependent upon another. But that is what God has called wives to be.

The burden is heavy when there’s not enough money for the expenses. Women aren’t designed to carry that burden as easily as men. Remember, men want to protect and provide. If you are managing the money, how can he protect you?

We know of many couples, after a crisis, the husbands said he wished he had helped more in the finances. (Not so they could do it better, but so they could protect and provide for their wives.)

As women, we like to control. But we also like to be protected. (In this society, that is not a popular statement, but if you’re honest, you like to be the queen. Don’t you?)

Whose money is it when you earn it? Of course, it’s yours.
Ask your husband the same question. He’ll probably say “it’s ours.” See the difference?
I don’t know why we are made like that, but we take possession of it as mine and yours. We like control.
I had trouble allowing my husband to control the money when we were first married. He discussed the budget every month (and still does) and asks what he may be forgetting. I tell him.
But he designates the direction of the money.
I had to learn to be dependent upon him. That goes against what society tells women. That goes against what I want. Dependence on God is hard enough, now I have to be dependent on my husband, too?
By depending upon God’s way and allowing Him to control what I do, I find that I have security and freedom.
By allowing my husband to control our finances, I also have security and freedom.

We are imperfect people.
Some women give their husbands one check to pay for one item they are allowed to purchase. Did he feel like a little, wayward child asking for a piece of candy? Maybe he couldn’t control his spending, maybe…. I don’t know the whole story, but be careful you respect your husband with money.

When my dad was losing his mind, us girls wanted to take over his money. My mom said, "no." He sent his money on “charity” scams. Even after a lifetime of bailing him out of his money problems, my mom still showed him respect. He did what he wanted with it. She took her money and paid all the bills, and went without what she needed. I wanted to make him pay his own bills, so mom would have money to get glasses or her heart medicine. She would not have it.
She showed me how to respect when the respect was not earned nor deserved.
Some may say that she enabled him, I choose to see how she tried to treat him with dignity and respect.
Not easy answers. Sorry, we are imperfect people.

Money has power over you.
That’s why the love of money is the root of all evil…not money itself.
That’s why relationships fail over money. It shows who’s the leader. And who can submit.

That doesn’t mean I can spend all I want and he picks up the pieces of my spending. We work together to save and spend, so we have money to give to those who have need.
He gives me an allowance for groceries and household needs. With that allowance, I spend it any way I wish: boy’s boots, clothes, household remodeling, but I keep it within the money he designated. The rest of the money is designated to bills, savings, taxes...

Men and women spend differently.
Men tend to look down the road. They see the big picture. They also like buying bigger things.
Women see the sale today, and stock up on it now.

You need both perspectives.
We work together. We talk about what expenses need to be changed.

How much do you over-spend?
Debt binds.
Proverbs tells that the borrower is servant to the lender.
When you’re a servant, you have no choice, no options, can take no risks.
Do you want to quit your job and stay at home with your children, but can’t, because you owe too much?
You’re a slave. It’s a burden, a weight. It wears you down.
Spend only money you have.
Sounds simple, but where did your debt come, if you had used that principle?
I do understand school loans, house mortgages (buy within your means, not above it), health emergencies, and disasters beyond your control. God uses those to help us be dependent upon Him, too.

Prepare for emergencies.
We were traveling last year, when our Excursion had a blow-out. (‘Normal’ jacks will not lift our truck to change the tire.) While we waited for AAA, the boys called it “bonding time on the freeway.”
Purchasing another tire did not break us because we had an emergency fund. If we didn’t, an unplanned expenditure could bring stress to a marriage…see what I mean? We could purchase another tire without borrowing. We could enjoy our trip without fretting over where the money for the tire would come.

Pay with cash.
You will feel the pain of spending more than using a card.
Paying for my groceries one hundred at a time, makes me realize what we eat matters!
Digging for change at the bottom of my purse, so I can buy ice makes me appreciate the cold drink on a 100’ day.
See it’s not just money. It’s the power money has over you…Or the value you place on it.

You know what you value by looking where you spend your money.
Look through your check book and see where your money has gone in the last three months. OR better yet, right down every expense you make for one month, including that cup of Starbucks. Do you even remember what you bought?

I find shirts for the boys at thrift stores. I don’t try to find pants (except for the younger boys). Looking through 100 pair of pants with 45” waists for my boys’ 29” waists is a waste of time for me. They don’t exist.
Some of the boys are more selective. They either come with me to pick what they will wear or buy them with their own money.

Know what colors looks good on you. See What Season Are You?…Black or white makes me pale. But give me gross army green or bright orange and I have color in my cheeks. You won’t see me in purple…that clashes with my hair, but browns, tans, any autumn color will match my other clothes. I don’t have to search all the clothes hanging   in the store. I look only for the color that works for me. Saves time…and time means money.

Christmas isn’t here yet. But I start looking early for that one item each boy will get, so I can find it without rushing. As they get older, their tastes and needs get bigger.
It’s a given they'll receive new underwear and socks (more than $200 purchase) Helps me catch sales before it’s an emergency. Some years that’s about all they received. I told them to wear it with pride! For one son who must still be told to wear underwear, skip the pride part, just wear it!

The boys get a sense of asking only when they need something…their boots are too tight, they duck tape their mud boots to make them last another season. They help me make the money stretch.
I have to pay attention, because sometimes it only takes buying a $20 shovel to make their daily job easier. We can pay that $20.

I don’t say those things to make you think my husband doesn’t provide for me. I have more than enough. He makes sure I have enough Pepsi to make it through the month, or he makes a special trip to get it (not usually needed). He treats me like a queen. And splurges on me when he goes without. I am content.

Early in our marriage, I read this advice. Buy good tools and books, because both of those things will make you richer. Working with inferior tools is like cutting off your arm before you start on your project. It takes twice as long (at least) and twice as much effort with a bad tool. And you don’t get the results you want.
As far as books, our library has opened a world we could never visit in our lifetime. We’ve shared them with our boys. We’ve learned perspectives through another’s eyes. The public library is great, too. Sometimes once through a book is enough. We’ve gained wisdom.

Joey always made sure we took the tithe (10% off the top of any earnings or gifts that we received). God got it first. I’m glad he’s in charge of the money, for there were times when I thought, just skimp this one time…but he always paid the tithe and then some. And always wished he had more to give God.
God does bless, not always tangibly but you can’t out give God. God “gives them their food in due time…and satisfies the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15-16.

We pay for what we value.
It’s not the money. It’s our priorities. It’s what we value.

When the end of this earth burns up, all the wood, hay, and stubble will burn with it.
I want what I’ve valued to be gold, silver and precious gems that will last through the fire.
Eternal things will matter most.
My husband is a giver. We gave early in our marriage to one who needed a bed. Joey didn’t tell them we didn’t have one. (I was fine without one until I couldn’t get off the floor with our sixth pregnancy.)
You won’t find our bank statement overflowing with money. But you will find the list of those we’ve helped through the years, because we shared what God gave us, because we had it to share.
God will not give to everyone the same amount. Some will always struggle with every bill. Maybe that’s God’s way of making them depend upon Him. Maybe He knows that I need a bit more to be thankful.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord” or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

Jesus didn’t have a bed. Nor a pillow to lay his head. But he didn’t ask for one.
He asked for our hearts.
When we’ve given Him our hearts, He’ll have our money, too.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
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