The circumstances leading to this post are quite interesting though I am not certain if I should bother you with them. However I have been privy to quite a number of conversations on a subject that seems to be touchy to many. As the Spirit leads, I write (from His heart through mine…).
Essentially numerous debates abound touching the issue of money in marriage. To the glory of God He did not deem it mundane or irrelevant such that He left it out of His word. He graciously provided answers to this question as with all other questions we have on just about any and everything.
I am privileged to be surrounded by fellow young people a lot. Some are married and some are yet to be married. However on the issue of how much one is expected to contribute financially to a marriage I have heard different points of views from the different people with whom I have conversed.
This post will focus on two questions viz:
– What is my financial obligation to my marriage?
– How much is enough?
It is practically impossible to fully understand this subject without first understanding what marriage is and what it is about.
As strange as it may sound to some people, God made marriage. He ordained it. It was solely His idea. His creation. This can be found in Genesis 2:18 where God said it was not good for man to be alone and He decided to make a helper for him. This tells us that on any question pertaining to marriage our first resort should be God. This flows from the simple principle that the manufacturer of a product understands it better than anyone else.
We must note however that before God provided Adam with a wife He first gave Adam a job to do (Genesis 2:15 & 19). Adam tended the garden of Eden and named all the animals. He also had close relationship with God. It is important to state here that before God provides a man a wife he must be gainfully employed. He must be utilising his time, skill, intellect in adding value to something for which he is paid (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God does not provide idle men with wives. It is also important that a man be doing God’s work. It is when a man is busy that he needs help with the work. A wife is a helper, God implanted the capacity to help in the wife.
Once two people get married they are no longer two people in the eyes of God but one person. He said this clearly in Genesis 2:24-25. Mark 10:7-9.
Now on the first focal question the primary provider of finance in the home is the husband. It is his God-given responsibility. Times may be changing and novel situations arising but the word of God does not change neither does His standard. The husband is to provide for his wife as he would provide for himself. He is to hold nothing back from her that he would not withhold from himself. She is His primary responsibility. 1 Timothy 5:8.
In Ephesians 5:25, 28 & 33 Paul admonished husbands to love their wives as much as they loved themselves. As much as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Christ died for the church. That is love. That is the standard expected of husbands. To give everything. This command is not limited to finances alone but to everything. He is to give as if he were giving to himself.
The wife is however not exempted from giving of finances to her husband. Though the responsibility to provide finance for the home is primarily the husband’s, the wife is his helper and she must remember this. She is to help him in every possible way including finance if need be. Two people have become one. This is the word of God. Whatever belongs to one belongs to both because they have become one. When one is hurt the other is hurt. When one is happy the other is happy. This is God’s design for marriage. The concept of “this is mine while that is yours” in marriage is not God’s. Hence whatever a man earns belongs to his wife entirely and vice versa.
Many ladies have decided that their husbands will foot all the bills in the home and still provide their material needs and wants while they spend their own earnings entirely on themselves. This is outside of God’s will and is not in line with His word. A wife is a helper by God’s original design. A helper and a “sharer”. There is nothing like “my money, my this my that” in God’s idea of marriage.
Where both parties work and earn money they are therefore jointly responsible for all the financial needs of the marriage.
On how much is enough a man and wife are expected to give their all to their marriage. Nothing should be withheld. As long as one will not withhold a good thing from himself or herself they should be able to do likewise to the other. Luke 6:31.
In addition we are to know the following:
There should be no secrets. No secret expenses, secret accounts, secret debts, etc. There should be total honesty and disclosure. This is in line with Genesis 2:25 where the word says the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed. This is God’s plan. Nothing short of total honesty is good enough for Him. A marriage founded on deceit cannot stand.
It is respectful to inform the other where any expenditure has been made outside of agreed expenditures. It is even more respectful to inform the other before any expenditure is made.
Joint accounts can be maintained by a couple if they so desire and be run in any manner they choose. I have heard many swear that they would never run joint accounts with their spouses on the basis of fear. This should not be. Remember that by God’s plan man and wife are one.
Trust funds can be maintained by a couple for their children. Whatever works for a couple is fine as long as there is complete openness in financial matters.
Budgeting is also very helpful. It provides a guide on how money is spent and how much is saved.
A couple can sort out bills together or however they see fit. As long as the word of God on the subject is known and applied correctly.
Where a wife earns more than her husband the word of God is still the same. Everything she owns is her husband’s and vice versa. Many young men actually pray to earn more than their wives as many tales heard of instances where wives earn more than their husbands are very unsavoury. Many wives become unruly, arrogant and disrespectful because they suddenly earn more. This should not be. Money is not the most important thing in marriage. It should not be the reason why a couple get married. In my personal opinion a man or a woman whom money suddenly changes is actually poor within them. Increase in finances should be a blessing to a marriage not a curse. A husband is a husband regardless of whether his wife earns more than him or not. The roles of husband and wife do not reverse thereby.The marriage is more important than it’s individual components. God enjoins wives to submit to their husbands as unto God and to submit in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24). This is so whether she earns more than him or not. In the same vein husbands are enjoined to love their wives and give themselves to them completely.
However some men are known to be lazy or even preying on their well off wives. This is unacceptable to God. A man must provide for his wife. A man who preys on his wife is a disgrace to God. 1 Thessalonians 3:10. 1 Timothy 5:8. There is no excuse for indolence. A man must work to meet the needs of his family. Nothing short of this is acceptable to God. Though he may occasionally go through hard times he must however not abandon his God-given responsibility and leave it for his wife to bear. A man must lead his home by example. Hard work is a good example.
Some people use finance to divide their families. They give money to their children against the wishes of their spouses thereby pitting the children against the spouse who is then seen as not wanting to give them good things. This is not correct. A couple should be agreed on how things should be done (Amos 3:3). Man and wife are one flesh not man and child or woman and child. A couple should be united against all challenges. Mark 10:7-9.
A couple should be open to giving to God and His work. Everything we have received is from God. We should therefore not find it difficult to give to Him bearing in mind that He does not even need our money (Psalms 50:12). Partners should be able to agree peacefully on what and how to give to God (as they must give to God (Psalms 50:14)).
May God bless you, your marriage, your impending marriage, and your finances in Jesus’ name. Amen.