To me, this chapter is a bit odd. I know in our family, I handle all of the finances. My husband either deposits his checks on his way home from work or gives them to me to do it, and then that’s the last dealings he has with it. I create the budget, fill the envelopes (more on this later!), pay the bills, give to the church and charity, transfer money into savings and make sure everything runs smoothly. I know this may not be the case with your family, but we have always considered the money “ours” even though I do not work a normal job (because we all know being a mom is HARD work!) and don’t actually earn money (just hugs and kisses. :)). So for me to pray for “his finances” is a weird concept.
I agree, though, with what Stormie writes:
“Much of who your husband is and what he experiences in life is wrapped up in how he relates to his finances. Is he giving or miserly? Is he thankful or envious of others? Is money a blessing or a curse? Is he wise or reckless with what he has? Is he in agreement with you as to how it is to be spent, or does your marriage exhibit financial strife? Nothing puts more pressure on a marriage than financial irresponsibility, lack of money, and huge debt. Only when we recognize that all we have comes from God and seek to make Him Lord over it can we avoid the pitfalls that money, or lack of it brings.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 55)
I agree, we need to pray for our husbands and they way they relate to money. When my husband and I were first married, he leaned more toward miserly. As the years passed and I prayed, he is much more willing to give. He is incredibly thankful for all that we have; I tend to be the more envious one. Money is definitely a blessing for him. He is one of the wisest people I know when it comes to money (sometimes his patience and the time it takes for his to research each purchase drives me crazy!).
We are usually always in agreement about how the money is spent. He trusts me to take care of the money, although this has not always been the case. When we were first married, I would come home and tell him that I had bought some new clothes, then the interrogation would begin.
How much did you spend?
Did we have the money to buy that?
It was incredibly hurtful because I could tell he did not trust me. After time, he stopped asking. He knew I managed our finances well, and if I had spent money on something, it was because I had budgeted for it. I prayed for a long time that he would trust me. He knows now that if an unexpected expense pops up, I will adjust our budget and make things work.
The remainder of this chapter, Stormie writes mostly about giving. I agree that it is important to be obedient and give when you feel the Holy Spirit prompt you, but I do not believe that giving guarantees any kind of monetary blessing. The verse she uses is Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse” and see if He “will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
I have heard this verse used way out of context and I think it can be damaging to a person who is giving to the Lord, but still struggles to pay their bills or get ahead. The Lord promises that He will take care of us. We will have what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT. Giving does not guarantee will will have everything we want. God is not a vending machine. You don’t give Him your money and then choose what blessing you want. He knows exactly what we need and He is faithful to provide for us.
Matthew 6:25-33 says,
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Six months into our marriage, my husband left his teaching job at the end of the school year and could not find another job, the lease was up on our apartment and we were going to have to move in with his parents. Neither of us were too thrilled with that idea. We had just started attending a new church and the weekend before we were going to move, we went to a get together at the pastor’s house to get to know the leadership of the church. We had mentioned our situation to the pastor and the next thing you know, he tells us we can live with him and his wife, rent free, for as long as we needed to!
The next weekend we moved the contents of our apartment into a storage unit and a handful of the things we thought we would really need into the pastor’s 10′ by 10′ guestroom. My husband and I lived there for almost 6 month. During that time, the Lord provided work for him as an electrician’s apprentice, and he worked at night in grocery stores auditing shelves and re-arranging different sections of the stores. The Lord stretched the little money he was making and we never went without what we needed.
Oh it was not comfortable. Because of my health problems, I can only sleep on a memory foam mattress and since our king size bed was in storage, I moved my pre-married twin size mattress to the floor next to the queen size bed my husband slept on in our little room. So, for the last half of our first year of marriage, we never slept in the same bed. We never did feel quite at home, afraid we would disturb our pastor and his wife, we kept to ourselves. It was one of the loneliest time of my life. My husband would be gone all day (and most evenings) and I would be there alone, in a new city where I didn’t know anyone. No, it was not comfortable, but God took care of us. We had absolutely everything we needed. The Lord was faithful!
One thing I think Stormie leaves out (except for the prayer at the end of the chapter) is being a good steward of our money (God’s money!) in other ways than just giving. I think it is important for us to pray that we are seeking the Lord when it comes to spending money, saving money and giving money. God is interested in every detail of our lives; He wants us to be wise in all aspects of our finances.
My next post I will be discussing how we budget, the tools I use to do this, the envelope system and ways you can implement them into your finances. I realize your husband may take care of all of your money, but I think that there is a time to pray, and there is a time to act. Suggesting some tools to help your finances run more smoothly may be exactly what God will use to strengthen your marriage.