Dear Lydia: Submission and a Financially Irresponsible Husband

Written by  "Dear Lydia" Thursday, 19 July 2012 03:49

Dear Lydia,

My name is Sue and I have been a disciple since August 1998. I have been married since 1993, but my husband is not a disciple. Since I was baptized, I have struggled with submission to my husband. I go from one extreme to the other. I will explain: I am the main money provider for our family. Before I became a disciple I was managing our finances. After I was baptized I tried to share everything with my husband and it was difficult for him to understand the contribution I was making to the church.

I stopped sharing the management of finances with him when I realized that he was using some of our money for an extra-marital affair. Once he even forged my signature in order to withdraw money. At that time (1999), sisters recommended that I should be wise and protect our finances for the family. I still inform him about the financial situation, but I manage as I see fit. I also realize he is not wise in the management of money.

In 2008 he was elected as president of the non-profit in the bank where I am employed. He doesn't get a salary but he has a budget for undertaking activities for the non-profit. I had mixed feelings when he was elected. I was happy and proud that people recognize his great qualities of caring for children, but I was worried that if something went wrong in his management of the resources I would be in trouble with my company. Recently he was accused of mismanagement of the financial resources of the association. He was given the opportunity to justify some expenses that are considered as personal expenses.

In this particular situation I am struggling with the scripture in Ephesians 5:21-24

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

[22] Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. [24] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

What does "in all circumstances, for everything" mean for me? I have expressed my compassion to him and have assured him that whatever happens from the results of the investigation that we will solve the problem together. At the same time I feel that I have the obligation to help him see his mistakes, his lack of wisdom and the fact that he never allows me to give him advice. Proverbs 31:12 says that the woman does good to her husband every day of his life. I am wondering what this scripture means in this particular situation.

I look forward to receiving your kind advice on how to deal with this situation.

Dear Sue:

You have been put in a very uncomfortable situation, haven’t you? It sounds like you have been a faithful wife in difficult circumstances with your husband. I refer you to Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:1-44. She had a foolish husband who also put his family in peril. She figured out a way to prevent the destruction of her family by dealing with King David in a humble way.

Let’s look first at the Bible’s direction about marriage to non-Christians.

I Peter 3:1-2 tells us that women married to unbelievers should not focus so much on what to SAY to their unbelieving husbands but on how they as Christian wives should BEHAVE. You are to be an example of purity and reverence.

Our focus is to have a quiet and gentle Spirit that shines through in all circumstances.

I noticed in your letter you indicated the desire to instruct him. “He is not wise in the management of money” and “I feel the obligation to help him see his mistakes, his lack of wisdom and the fact he never allows me to give him advice.”

I can assure you that at this point in his life he is not open to taking instruction from his wife. It will not do him good but most likely produces resentment, defiance or some other sin. The best thing you can do is quietly go about taking care of your family money management while answering any questions from him with honesty and humility.

Regarding your concern for your job. If you see that he is going to be charged with fraud or found guilty of mismanagement you should speak to your employer and make it clear as Abigail did (verse 25) that you were not involved in the mismanagement of the money. If possible also commit to making the mismanagement right. By this, I mean repaying the money considered used incorrectly.

Ephesians 5: 24 says that we are as women to be submissive to our husbands in everything. It also says in verse 21 to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. Verses 15–17 states “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Our goal as Christian women is to obey Christ and be surrendered to him as our Lord. We can be full of grace, submissive and loving and still do the opposite of what our husband want us to do because we are being obedient to Jesus. It is very important to be familiar with the entire New Testament so that when the directives in one scripture confuse us we find the answer to our confusion in another. Sue, you can be a submissive wife and still do the right thing out of reverence for Christ and understanding the Lord’s will regarding your husband.

It is good that you are a woman who seeks advice from others in your local congregation. Just always test advice with the word of God.

Please greet the other sisters for me with a holy kiss. Grace and peace to you, and to all who love our Lord Jesus with an undying love.


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