The Husband is to Provide Financially.
“Finances? Talk to my wife about that.” This is something I used to say all the time; in fact I still catch myself saying it. Guys, isn’t it just so much easier to let our ladies deal with the finances and just be blissfully unaware? I laugh as I write it. I used to think this way, and I admit… it is very hard to change this mindset. Finances are difficult and stressful so why not let her do it? Well guys, I hate to break it to you, but the husband is to lead in the area of finances. This means that you, men, will be the family’s breadwinner. This will free up your wife to focus on her job in the home as wife and mother. It will also mean that at the end of the day you will be responsible for financial decisions and management. Of course you will not waste the money on flatscreen tv’s and tools…right? OK – It is probably practical to have your wife pay the bills and keep the records, but you must still be involved in the finances. Don’t do what I had a habit of doing, and still do to a point…that is just ignoring the finances until she dropped a bomb on me – “We won’t make the mortgage, or we have no money for gas, or we are out of diapers and there is $7 in the account – you better do something.” If you have been there, you know what happens next, stress, anger, worry, sin “Why didn’t you tell me earlier!!!!????”…all sin, sure I spout off a prayer like I am supposed to do, but I am also thinking that I have to do something, I have to find some money, I have to sell something – why didn’t she tell me earlier…don’t worry about tomorrow? I am worried about today!
Guys you are the spiritual heads of your homes, do not let laziness creep in, in the area of finances. In 1 Timothy 5:8 we’re told
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
A man who makes no effort to provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian. Think on that one for a bit. Providing for your family includes being aware of what is going on with the money, and making sure there is provision for food, rent/ mortgage and so on. This does not mean that the wife cannot assist in supporting the family, Proverbs 31 tells us that a godly wife may surely do so. There are illegitimate times – when the husband is lazy or negligent and wife has no choice but to work, or when a couple has lived beyond their means, racking up debts. But there are also times when a wife must work for legitimate reasons. For instance, if the husband is injured and is unable to work, or if he is laid off. However even in “letigimate” times, rather than having the wife work so much to the detriment of the family, the husband may need to “suck up his pride” and defer to the church for his families need. The work of the Deacons, and showing mercy is another blog post though! Or perhaps the husband is studying for another career, which will enable him to further provide both financially and spiritually. I must clarify that even when he is studying or injured, the husband should always maintain the leadership of the home as the spiritual head. He should still lead through prayer, bible study, and so on even if situations prevent him from providing financially.
If we return to Proverbs 31 we see that providing for the family is not primarily the wifes responsibility; it is her husband’s. While a husband should help with the children(yes this includes changing diapers and giving baths) and with household chores (this includes doing the laundry or cooking sometimes)Proverbs 31 makes it clear that the home is to be the woman’s primary area of influence and responsibility. We could go into a very long theological dissertation on Proverbs 31 and on the roles of both men and women in the area of providing, so I will end with this. If a Christian wife is to live up to the standard of a biblical wife and mother, AND retain a fulltime career she and her husband are going to be very stressed out. Daycare will raise the kids – not the mother. More money will be spent on another vehicle, thus encouraging dad or mom to stay out a few more hours at work and more time will be spent away from home… I personally know far too many women who are stressed out and stretched to the breaking point. When the wife is stressed like this, it falls on the man who likewise becomes stressed. I have seen this time and again. If I am honest, I have been there. Hopefully the wife is working as a choice and not as a necessity. To prevent such stress, husband and wife should prayerfully seek the wisdom to change their priorities and follow the Bible’s instructions on their roles.
I want to clarify here that I am not saying a wife or mother cannot ever have a job unless the husband is unable to provide. With that said, God’s main calling for a married woman is to be involved in managing the home and raising children. If a wife has a job and it does not keep her from fulfilling her primary responsibilities as a wife and mother, then I don’t see anything in Scripture that forbids a woman from holding a job or having a career. I have to clarify again here that a woman must not put her job above the family, just like man should not. If a man works 60, 70, 80 hours a week, he will not be able to be an effective leader or spiritual head, likewise if a married woman is so focused on her career, seeking advancement and fulfillment from her job over her family, if it interferes with her calling to have children, then perhaps she (and her husband) needs to reassess what the roles of Husband and Wife are in teh family.
Hmmm…It seems that I strayed into the roles of mom in this “monday men” post more than I intended to…I guess the fact that I am a single dad this week is creeping into my writing 🙂
Proverbs 31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.