18 responses

  1. Julie
    January 6, 2014

    What a tough situation. But I do believe us telling our husbands to do anything in not only not biblical, it will probably do more harm to our marriages than having to go through a bankruptcy.

    I do think we need to pray with out ceasing. I do think we need to have a serious conversation, several times possibly. I do think we need to have our husbands talk to our church elders if it’s gotten really bad (hopefully in a let’s go talk to somebody at church about this and only an “intervention” if it has gotten really serious). And I do think we need to continue to be frugal. And most importantly we need to continue to follow our husbands leadership. We choose him and agreed to follow when we said “I do.” Sometimes our husbands will make wrong decisions, even ones that bring us pain. But in the end they will grow from that. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to head off the pain/wrong decision when we see it coming with prayer and sharing our concerns. But in the end it is not my job to tell my husband what to do or how much money he can spend. He is the head of our household, for better or worse.

  2. Amy
    January 6, 2014

    I don’t see how you can do anything Biblically other than pray without ceasing. God in His divine power will be able to do a lot more convincing than a wife can. Pray that first and foremost, your heart as a wife will be gentle and submissive, being selfless. Then pray that God would change his heart, and the circumstances.

    One question to check your heart about, is there resentment about the money or about the time spent on video games? I’ve known more than one friend of mine who has been so upset about the money her husband spends on video games, but the heart issues was really that she was envious of the time spent with games rather than her.

  3. happywife
    January 6, 2014

    I have to agree with Julie and Amy here that there is really nothing a wife can do other than pray and release her husband to God to work. Yes, you can sit down and have a serious conversation and request to work on a budget together, but if he isn’t ready to be submitted to a budget, he isn’t going to stick to it, and it isn’t a wife’s job to control her husband’s spending. You can also voice your opinion about a potential purchase, but you can’t make the choice for him. He’s his own person and when we make demands or tell him what he can or can’t do, we aren’t respecting him as a person. He has a right to choose to live his live the way he chooses… yes, even at the expense of his family. .That is his choice.

    The wife mentioned in her question that there is a video game addiction. My experience with my addicted husband (alcohol) taught me that my best efforts to control the situation were no match over the control the addiction had over my husband. I had to wait and allow my husband to hit bottom and decide for himself that he wanted to be free. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t easy, but surrendering the situation to God was the best move I made. When we try to intervene, we actually prolong the addiction. That isn’t to say that a wife doesn’t set boundaries for herself. One of those boundaries in this situation could be to put her own income into an account to manage on her own. But we must always remember that the only person we have any control over is ourselves.

    I’m also not quite sure about the idea of getting elders or pastors involved. Yes, I realize it is biblical to confront believers in their sin, but you really need to pray through this and make sure that God is leading this. You could end up humiliating your husband and pushing him further into his irresponsibility. Not to mention he may quit going to church. I just keep envisioning dragging a naughty little boy to the principal’s office. That is very likely how he will feel. Please seek God’s leading before doing this.

    • happywife
      January 6, 2014

      I want to come back and clarify that I think your advice in creating a financial plan, how to communicate, and allowing for disposable income is all very sound advice. But he has to be willing to move forward toward a financial plan or the they will both be frustrated. And the fact that she is writing to ask this advice (as well as her scenario about the phone) makes me suspect that he isn’t on board which is why I focused on the fact that you can’ t control or change your husband, but have to allow God to work.

      • Julie
        January 6, 2014

        God works most often through Ordinary Means. By that I mean, that while we pray “Give us this day our daily bread” we also understand that we must go and earn it. When we pray for God to work in the man’s heart (and hers as well) that doesn’t preclude taking other Biblical steps toward accountability.

        Sometimes, rather than waiting for him to hit bottom (potentially a very, very long fall), it’s better by far to bring the bottom up to him.
        Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

  4. Julie
    January 6, 2014

    Kind of late to shut the barn door after the cows have gotten out, but really this is an issue that should’ve been addressed BEFORE marriage. My husband and I could fit that scenario nearly perfectly (without the video game component) were it not for pre-marriage financial counseling. I firmly believe that has saved our marriage many times over! We’re still now 100% on the same page, but a lot closer than we would’ve been.

    But where they are now, there is a LOT she can do. First and foremost pray about the situation – for God to be glorified in their handling of money and their marriage.

    Along with Sheila’s wonderful suggestions, there are other avenues this woman can pursue. I whole-heartedly disagree with the “all you can do Biblically is pray”. The man is sinning. There is a Biblical process available to the wife, found in Matthew 18.

    Further, she could quit her job. If it’s completely his prerogative how the money is spent, then it’s his job to earn it. Stop working and let him bear the full responsibility of his decisions.
    Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

    • Julie
      January 6, 2014

      Oops, typo. That should say “still noT 100%…”
      Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

    • Allison
      January 6, 2014

      Julie,
      I’m not sure if he is sinning. There is a difference between sinning and not making wise decisions. Also, God does not tell us to submit to the perfect husband only. He tells us to submit to the husband we have, unless he is asking us to sin. I don’t see how this husband is asking his wife to sin, so therefore by quitting her job she would therefore be the one in sin. I do believe prayer and being obedient to God are the most useful things she can do. God’s wisdom is different than man’s wisdom. I know it’s hard for me to understand and it definetly goes against the culture.

      • Julie
        January 6, 2014

        He’s sinning by not loving his wife as Christ loves the church – sacrificially. He’s not protecting her or providing for her, and I’m not talking about a lavish lifestyle. This is a couple who already has a kid (or kids), she is experiencing a igh risk pregnancy, and she’s out in the workforce? And that’s not even touching the video game addiction, the bad stewardship (history of debt), and the lack of leadership and discernment.

        Since when did it become unsubmissive to confront your spouse? Love speaks the truth. Love tells a friend that he’s about to go over a cliff.
        Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

      • Allison
        January 6, 2014

        Julie,
        I didn’t say she should confront him in the manner of discussing it with him. I think we as helpmates without a doubt as the Pam says, have a discussion with him. But ultimately, it is his call. Our command to submit is seperate of his his command to love his wife as Christ loves the church. That is to say, we are to submit regardless. We don’t just submit when he is loving us as Christ loves the church. In fact scripture teaches us that even the wife of the unbeliever is to submit and that we are to submit in all things. I agree that that goes against our human nature and even seems downright unfair and maybe even dumb or dangerous. But God often calls his children to do things that go against human nature and even to be faithful in situations that are way less than ideal. He didn’t say we wouldn’t have situations that are scary, or that we wouldn’t have to walk thru the valley of the shadow of death but that we need not fear because He is with us in that valley of the shadow of death.

        I agree that this husband has lots of growing up to do. But remember we are getting one half of the story. It’s quite possible she does to. They seem to be a young couple and I know I sure had lots of growing to do at that age. I don’t believe we get to choose when to be faithful to the vows we made and if we are christians and wives, that does mean submitting (unless of course he is asking us to sin or truly sinning against us). I know the high risk pregnancy thing gives me a great deal of pause also. I know how clueless even to this day my husband is about pregnancy’s though and he is a great man who looks out for me. It’s quite possible he just doesn’t get this. Also, I’m not trying to say this woman is dishonest, but I hear way to many women talking about video game addictions. This man isn’t missing work and even though there are financial difficulties she doesn’t say there is anything else wrong with the marriage. Some guys play golf, some watch TV, some play video games. Addiction is a strong word and I’m sure he likes his video games but if he’s truly addicted he’d be missing work or having more troubles I’d think.

        Lastly, I agree that wives should be at home (especially when pregnant) but not all husbands and a whole lot of women don’t agree with that. If a husband asks a wife to work, I don’t agree with it but again I believe it to be his call. I know that is radical in this day and age.

        I’m sorry this is so long but I wanted to address all of your points!

      • Julie
        January 6, 2014

        I’m married too, and I understand well that each of our callings in marriage (the husband’s to love, and the wife’s to respect) stand independent of the other’s obedience. Where we disagree, and will undoubtedly continue to, is in defining Biblical submission.

        You’re right – we only have one side of the story, and I’m taking it at face value. I’m sure neither party is completely innocent, and good counseling should get to the bottom of that. But I in no way agree that her only Biblical recourse is to pray.

        If her discussion with him yields no fruit she can follow Matthew 18, and involve the church elders. Probably they could both benefit from an impartial counselor and some accountability, and he may be much MORE willing to listen to someone else when he won’t listen to his wife.

        Submission doesn’t mean overlooking sin. Submission doesn’t mean you can only bring something up once. Submission doesn’t mean he’s always right. That does NOT make for a healthy relationship, nor one that glorifies God. God gave us to each other to complement each other. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. She can be a great benefit and blessing to him by NOT continuing to ennable his bad habits.
        Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

      • Allison
        January 6, 2014

        Julie,
        I agree with you that if it gets serious enough that Mat 18 needs to be be acted upon. I just think of that as the big guns! That’s when he’s gambling away the mortgage or not going to work (as far as finiancial things go). I just did not see this rising to that level. I didn’t believe him to be sinning, just young and making some immature decisions.

        I think God wired men to react to submissiveness and “without a word” spirit. Of course not all, there are bad men in this world but this man doesn’t seem to be bad, just young.

  5. Pam
    January 6, 2014

    Sheila, I think you have given excellent advice for this situation. The husband and wife need to be on the same page with the budget, and if there isn’t a budget, they need to have one.

    Yes, a wife should pray that God changes her husband’s heart in this matter and the wife should pray for guidance when dealing with this situation. However, I don’t think a wife’s only course of action should be to pray, just because the wife should submit to her husband.

    I have seen the husband/wife relationship compared to the relationship between a boss/employee because the husband is the head of the household, like a boss would be the head of a company. While I don’t like this comparison, I think it can help to explain my thinking in this situation. If an employee sees a problem coming in a business, shouldn’t the employee alert the boss to the situation? That way, the employee can help to make suggestions on how to fix the problem? Rarely do bosses see every problem coming at the business. Bosses rely on their employees to help alert them to any potential problems in the business. In the same way, if a wife sees a problem with her family’s finances (ie, not being able to pay bills, going further into debt), shouldn’t the wife alert her husband to the problem so the 2 of them can work on a solution (ie, a budget)? Why is it not Biblical for the wife to have a discussion with her husband regarding this issue? A husband and wife should be a team and tackle the budgeting and family finances together.

  6. Natalie
    January 6, 2014

    It’s not being a helpmeet to watch your husband “lead” his whole family into debt and deprivation. There is nothing more unhelpful in fact. If this woman is having trouble affording money for medicine then he needs to hear about this in no uncertain terms. Sit down and show him the numbers. Ask him what he thinks about the situation. Share your fears with him. If he responds with a plan to deal with it then get behind it joyfully. If he doesn’t see a problem and refuses to deal with it then you need to get your pastor/elders/his father/etc. Bankruptcy might not be the end of the world, but before you resign yourself to watching your family hit bottom make sure your husband has a very clear warning as to the dangers that lie ahead.
    Natalie recently posted…And the diagnosis was….My Profile

  7. William
    January 6, 2014

    This is so similar to an issue brought up in a recent post by Jolene Engle (3 Aspects to consider re: your future spouse) concerning a health conscious girl and her (opposite) potential husband. Some commentors (this post) were debating the role of the wife in addressing the issue, but the sad fact is that even if/when she tries to communicate and promote change, he won’t comply anyway.
    He is being selfish, immature, inconsiderate, irresponsible. Teamwork and communication have disappeared and a battle of wits ensues. It is so wrong. And the fact that there is an absence of communication over serious health needs is terrible and it shows much deeper relational problems than a video game purchase. They should be talking and praying it over together, but unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to talk something over with his wife! He only knows how to be selfish and irresponsible.
    She needs to be completely honest with him and she also needs help from people in authority over him, i.e. church leaders. Is that instead of her role as a praying wife? Not at all. Even with the counsel of a pastor it will still take God’s miracle for him to change! And he needs to change, no doubt about it.
    So, in retrospect, these issues need to be way out in the open and proven before a couple gets married. My wife and I approach money, health, lifestyle, cleanliness in the same way and yet we still need to keep great communication over those issues. Right now we are working out our diet and we know we have to be in it together, one flesh.
    Thank you Sheila for another great post and advice, especially the word ‘together’! Which, with a Godly focus, is really the answer to so many problems in marriage.

  8. Lindsey
    January 30, 2014

    I had almost the same exact situation. I only had $60 cash to live on the day I went into labor with my first child. I’m still digging us out of debt and my kid is 5 now. I’m natural better at managing money than my husband is, he’s better at maintaining the yard, vehicles, ect. Marriage is a partnership. You wouldn’t let the business partner who failed Economics 101 be CFO would you? So I became our family CFO. We have two checking accounts, one together where he puts his money, but I have access to if I need it, and mine alone, where the money I make goes, a percentage of his pay check, and I pay all of the bills out of it. I made us a budget, along with a debt snowball worksheet. I always make him aware what I’m doing and he usually agrees with me. He has a limited amount of money he can spend each week (the same I get for personal non-family stuff) and if he wants a video game, he has to save up for it, just like I do when I want something. He can lead the family spiritually without running you into debt. We are a family of believers and we do much better with me managing our finances. We wouldn’t still be married now if I hadn’t taken over our finances. I hated him for a long time, but once I got a handle on things it’s like we fell in love all over again. If saving your sanity means having a separate checking account, as long as he agrees, it’s worth it.

  9. Tina
    February 3, 2014

    This subject hits close to home since I found out last month that my husband has been lying, sneeking behi.g my back and spent our life savings in less than a year. And let me tell you, it was a lot of money.
    We have 4 children, 2 under 3, no insurance, no savings, no prospects for the future right now. It has taken a lot of prayer and searching deeply within myself to hold on and not let this be tbe last straw in our much less than stellar marriage.
    I have had to ask very hard questions of my husband but as he has lied to me over and over again there is not much trust there. None really. And i don’t believe a word he says right now.
    I know this is an extreme version of this subject but i also know that this happens a lot and prayer just isn’t enough for those of us hurting from these wounds. Spouses are not always willing to do what is right and we must step uo and do what is right to take vare of our families.
    There is no way I would let my kids go without food, shelter, etc. for the sake of “for better or for worse”. Unfortunately, my husband has shown that he would. It astonisbes me that people would think that this is okay… ever.

    • Sheila
      February 3, 2014

      Tina, I’m so sorry. You’re right–this isn’t acceptable. I’d point you to this post about how to get help when your spouse is really doing something wrong. It sounds like you need it! I pray that you will get someone to help you and to guide both of you through this.

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