It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Huntsville. Back then, we didn’t have kids so we were free to just wake up when we felt fully rested. I got up and cooked us a gourmet breakfast of scrambled tofu and pancakes. We were young, just married, and trying to be healthy. Oh, the memories.
As I cleared the dishes away my husband said something that made my stomach drop in dread.
“Babe, I wanted us to sit down and look at the budget today.”
Why couldn’t we just keep enjoying our peaceful Sunday morning?
I plopped down next to him on our couch with my arms folded as he pulled out his laptop. In a couple of seconds he had Dave Ramsey’s Budgeting Spreadsheet up and was scrolling through the numbers.
“So here’s our monthly income….” he started off. Then he scrolled down to our expenses. As he punched in the numbers and the amount of money left to budget decreased, I felt myself growing more anxious and frustrated. We hadn’t even reached the section for our personal spending allowances and the money was almost gone.
“…..so I think to save money we should….” I nodded silently even as I tuned out what he was saying. Why did I need to keep listening? I already knew the gist of what he was saying: We’re on a tight budget and can’t really spend much on ourselves.
For months, even the first few years of our marriage, this was my attitude when it came to our finances. I didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of figuring out how to save and spend our money, so I just left everything up to my husband and just waited to pull out my personal spending money.
After a while I realized that I couldn’t continue this way. How could I say we were a team when I was basically dumping the responsibility of our finances on my husband?
I started being more engaged in our budget meetings. I brainstormed strategies to cut expenses in some places so that we could have more flexibility in other places. A few hours after one of our meetings my husband sent me a text that said, “You being involved with the budget really took a lot of stress off me. It’s so much better when we work together.”
Awww. That made me feel happy.
It also forced me to take a good, long look at my approach to our marriage. I realized that in a lot of ways, I was being a PASSIVE wife . I used the “biblical” example of male leadership to cop out of actively engaging in problem-solving in our marriage.
Basically, I was leaving the “adulting” to my husband and expecting him to work out all our problems. I was trying so hard to avoid potential conflicts over money that I became disengaged from the decision-making process.
Wives, we CANNOT be this way.
Our husbands can’t be great husbands unless we help them be great. Our husbands can’t truly lead our families unless we’re standing beside them. They need us to actively engage with and support them. That doesn’t happen with you just standing there letting him make every decision.
By avoiding conflict, you’re making yourself a spectator in your own marriage and in your own home.
Only by working together can a husband and wife set the tone of the home. Together, you and your husband will determine the life your family lives . Together, you decide on the vision and values of your family. Only when you actively work together can your family have the legacy you want.
But husbands, I got something for ya’ll too.
Some husbands like to use what they interpret as the “biblical” model of male leadership to run their houses like a one-man show. They think whatever they say should go and that their wives should just swallow whatever reservations or doubts they have and go with the plan.
Sorry, but I’m not sorry. This view of leadership is completely WRONG.
God said, “It’s not good that man should be alone.”
You hear that? You shouldn’t be alone. Not in life, and definitely not in decision-making. You NEED your wife’s input. She can see things you can’t because her perspective is different from yours. Just like the story of the 5 blind men and the elephant, you can only see the whole picture when everyone on the team shares what they see.
She thinks it’s not a good idea to launch that business?
Ask her why and actually LISTEN to what she’s saying, not to come up with a rebuttal, but to understand her perspective. She may see holes in your plan that you didn’t see yourself.
Some husbands brush off their wives opinions because they have such a high opinion of their own intelligence, not realizing that we all have expertise in certain areas. Instead of teaming up with your wife to overcome life’s obstacles, you’re treating her like she’s a player on an opposing team.
This will only push her away and make her feel unimportant and undervalued.
You don’t want that do you?
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.” Basically, Christ’s love for us should make us be more intentional about being united with our spouse. It should motivate us to strive to be on the same page, or at least work on getting there without making the other person feel obligated to just go along with whatever we decide.
I feel like there’s so much more that can be said on this topic, but I’ll let you guys respond and pick the conversation back up in another post soon.
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P.S. Check out 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage! It's written by one of my favorite marriage bloggers (and fellow Canadian :-)
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