When Husbands and Wives Don’t Agree

I have had the privilege of answering questions and counseling thousands of people over my career. One question that I get a lot is: “My husband and I have such different views about money. I want to budget, increase giving, and save.  He doesn’t want to do any of those.  I don’t bring it up much because we can never agree. What do I do?”

First of all, this is a very typical problem. A lot of women have a greater sensitivity to financial needs than what their husband does.  Especially if they pay the bills, they see everything going out, they don’t necessarily see things coming in.  A lot of times men are really uncomfortable about talking about money because they really don’t have a good handle on it.   

Let me share a personal illustration with you to maybe make the point.  When my wife committed her life to Christ two years before I did, and she suggested tithing, it was a tremendous threat to me.  I did not want to talk about it; I was on a success track.  I literally even threatened her with divorce when she wanted to bring up that particular topic.  Well, over two years, she lived out I Peter 3.  In other words, she became a compelling witness to me of the joy, the peace, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. So compelling, that I had to deal with it.

My only counsel to wives who have husbands who won’t talk to them or won’t listen to them, is twofold. First, can you bring in a facilitator, in other words, a counselor perhaps or somebody that could help you facilitate that conversation?

Or, second, understand that God has put you in a position to be a sweet aroma to him. It’s not necessarily a financial issue – it is more a wholeness of heart, a sweetness of heart, it is something that becomes compelling out of the way that you deal with him. You’re going to have to let go of some things that are causing you insecurity in order to trust God that He’ll work in the heart and the life of your husband. I didn’t say it would be easy, but I do know that in my own case, it caused me to come to Christ because of the way my wife responded to a money challenge that we had in our marriage.

Finally, although money is the outworking of the problem mentioned in the question above, I am certain that in these situations, the deeper communication and trust issues are more painful than the surface level dollars and cents issues. I would encourage you, when you find yourself in a situation like this, to find your hope in your relationship with Christ and to depend on His guidance. Additionally, continue to seek the guidance and support of your church and believing friends as you seek to honor your husband and to honor God simultaneously with your financial decisions.