Marriage / Relationships

The Surrendered Wife: Relinquish the Chore of Managing the Finances

(GBG Surrendered Wife Book Club)

The Surrendered Wife Chapter 6

For greatest intimacy and less stress, let your husband handle the finances. Before you talk to him about it, read this chapter thoroughly and then go back and follow each of the steps.

If you’re thinking you’ll surrender in every way except financially, think again. You will miss out on some of the greatest benefits of surrendering if you skip this part. (pg. 89)

This is a really big chapter (near 20 pages) that takes on a heavy subject. The premise is simple- turn over control of the money to your husband. However, a simple premise doesn’t always translate into easy execution. This is a really difficult step and so Laura has provided a lot of suggestions and even steps to help us move from being in charge of the money in whatever way to relinquishing control of it.

What This is About

Giving up control of the money is scary because often we see money as giving us a sense of security. If there’s enough money- and we know where it is- we can assure ourselves that we will always be comfortable, that we can handle any emergency, that we can pay for any services- whether it’s a haircut or a divorce attorney. So, what happens when you give up control of the finances? You are in the most vulnerable position of all because you now have to depend on your husband to keep you safe and comfortable. The result? You will have to trust him with all your might. (pg. 91)

For a man, there’s nothing more conducive to intimacy than feeling proud and masculine. He’ll never feel that more strongly than when he is protecting and supporting his family (if you don’t have children, you are his family) by spending, saving, and investing. Therefore, when you give control of the finances to your husband, you take a powerful stride toward being more intimate with him. (pg. 91)

 

What do you think of this idea? What do you think of the suggestions she made to help us ease into this?

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24 thoughts on “The Surrendered Wife: Relinquish the Chore of Managing the Finances

  1. I understand the reasoning, but my wife is the better money manager. It may be true that I need to develop better stewardship qualities when it comes to finance, but I have plenty of other plates to keep spinning so this works for us for now. That may be the case on other marriages too, especially among very busy self-employed men who can barely keep up with providing services to clients let alone being bookkeeper, accounts receivable/payable clerk and household finance manager. There is always another side to consider with any process.

    • If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

      I have done what the author has suggested begrudgingly thinking it was nonsense and nothing would change and I’m fine with it anyway, but it was a huge difference. It wasn’t broke but it was improved on. Do what you’re gonna do!

  2. Well, this chapter is eye opening. I manage the fiances right now. My husband works full time and is in school, so I thought I would “help out.” I’m good with money, I like paperwork, I love managing accounts. However, after reading this. I’m done with it. I think it will be very challenging for me to tell him, “I can’t do this anymore” because he knows I’m good at it and he is so busy. But she is correct, it interferes with intimacy; I felt this keenly when I took on the chore.

    • I don’t want to sound unkind, but, I thought the whole thing was to be a support to one’s husband. How is it either helpful or supportive or loving to suddenly declare, “dearest, I know you’re so busy working fill time and going to school and everything else you do, but really, even thought I’m good at managing the finances, you should do that too. Because it would be better for me.” The things that interfere with intimacy are those things that we allow to interfere with it.

      My husband worked nearly 60 hours per week – then he would come home and do all the things he needed to do there. And then he would sit down and pay bills and do the budgeting and the like. Until one night I said to him, “this is ridiculous – it’s 3am and you’re dealing with the electric bill. Enough. I will take care of the bills. You have enough to do.” And we had plenty of intimacy that night and many other nights. It was the easiest transition ever and it took a huge load off him.

      • Maeve, if it works for you it work for you. No need to get defensive. This is hardly us here at GBG saying “you absolutely must do this without question and if you don’t you are a bad wife”

      • Maeve, I hear what your saying. I started managing the fiances because I wanted to be helpful. Because I wanted to take a burden off of his shoulders. However, upon reflection, it has added more problems than it solved. I’m handing over the check book (again) because it will be better for us as a couple not just better for me. This chapter just reaffirmed my feelings. You stated, “The things that interfere with intimacy are those things that we allow to interfere with it.” Perhaps, but if I can do away with an obstacle that is clearly hurting our intimacy I will. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help my husband in other ways.

    • We saw a big change when we did this. This topic is a touchy one and people’s reactions to it are always telling. I held off on this one thing when I read the book (even though she said not to) but once I turned it over to him A LOT changed. I want to write a blog post about this soon. But there are a lot of misconceptions- like I do “handle” some of the money, it’s not as if you hand it all over and that’s it, you never see it. But I won’t bore you all with it here, like I said I want to do my own blog post on it.

    • Mrs. KTC, I would only add that you should be respectful when informing him of this. Don’t simply tell him “I’m not doing the finances anymore.” I’m sure you already know that, but it never hurts to repeat such things.

  3. My husband handles all of our finances. He pays the bills and designates a certain amount for groceries, but if I go over by a reasonable amount he’s OK with that, especially if I spend extra on a special cut of meat that he likes. He doesn’t mind if I take a small amount of spending money ($20 a week), but I usually spend less. He also doesn’t mind if I get my hair cut and colored every six weeks.

    The bad thing about our system is I have little knowledge of our financial situation (how much is in the bank, how much overall debt we have, what bills are due when, etc.). If he were to God forbid be seriously injured I would have no idea where to start.

    I’ve mentioned this to him several times and suggested that we go over the budget together. He hasn’t been adverse to this, but he hasn’t set up a time either. I worry that it really could come back to kick us in the @SS at some point.

    Also, it’s gotten to the point where it’s been years since I even went to Wal-Mart by myself to buy things we need for the house. I’d like to have some kind of a household budget where I know that I can spend $50 to replace old, frayed bath towels or buy a new set of sheets without worrying about it. Without having any knowledge of our finances I don’t feel comfortable doing this.

    • This is interesting! Like I said I need to get on my post but this is not how it works for us. We do the envelope system where I have a slot for groceries, car stuff (gas, cleaning, etc), household needs, extras, and family fun. Each month he hands me money to distribute among these. I am in charge of this. If I go under budget for the month, I keep that money there just in case. But let’s say something breaks and we need x or y or z, I just tell him and he tells me what I can spend. This is rare, though, because I already have everything I need for the most part right there accounted for out of our home and extras budget.

      • Do you use an actual cash system, or do you use the envelopes symbolically to budget and track spending?

        I use our debit card for everything, but my $20 spending money which is cash if I take it. I could see using cash at the supermarket but it would be a pain to use it at the gas station where it’s easier to insert a debit card, pump and go.

        Also, I tend to like to stock up on cleaning products and food items when they’re on sale. This will sometimes throw off the grocery budget somewhat and it took a long time for my husband to understand the benefit of buying 5 bottles of Tide when it’s on sale for $4 versus paying $9 if I wait until we run out and have to pay regular price. Ditto for stocking up on Pantene shampoo when I can get it for $1.50 a bottle on sale with a coupon versus $4 regular price. Can you disrupt the budget to stock up when it makes sense to do so?

      • Yes, we use a cash system. We do this for budgeting reasons not surrendering reasons but it helps both. Win-win.

        “I could see using cash at the supermarket but it would be a pain to use it at the gas station where it’s easier to insert a debit card, pump and go.”

        Our gas stations have a money slot, too. But I do understand what you are saying.

        “Also, I tend to like to stock up on cleaning products and food items when they’re on sale. “

        Me too! This would come out of home and/or extras if I go over budget. I just move things around, is all, to answer your question about redistributing. Also, my husband is great about home stuff. It’s my domain, my job. Just like he doesn’t expect me to come in and tell him how to do his job he won’t do the same for me. This is not saying he doesn’t push back or question my decisions but he does understand that he may not “get” why I bought X instead of Y, for example.

  4. That makes sense Margery. We talked about using an envelope system ages ago (it was something our pastor recommended during our pre-marriage counseling) but we never put one in place.

    It would certainly be helpful when it comes to all of those little home needs that add up. In our case, we live in a rural community that’s 1 hour away from the nearest Wal-Mart and 2.5 hours from Target. We probably hit Wal-Mart every two to three months and Target once or twice a year.

    I have to work much harder than someone who lives in the suburbs when it comes to anticipating our needs and relaying this info to my husband so that he can incorporate it into his budget. When you don’t spend regularly on these things they tend to disappear from the budget completely, which is probably why I feel so frustrated at times.

    My husband isn’t an ogre. For instance, he understands that we only have one set of sheets and probably wouldn’t care if I bought another. I just need to know that he has set enough money aside for such purchases.

    • I was always a big believer in the notion that both spouses should be well educated about the family finances – just seemed like common sense to me. But never was I more grateful for this than when my husband left. Because it was just like that – one morning declared he was done and I was quite literally left to sink or swim on my own (and our daughters along with me). And you know, everybody and their uncle care about my situation – but you know who didn’t care? The bank, the utility companies, the insurance company, etc. They only cared that there were no interruptions in payments. And I saw to it that there were none. Having knowledge about your family finances is not a reflection of any lack of faith in your spouse.

      (I hereby get off my soapbox and dump the grouch who has apparently invaded me)

  5. Some passages I’ve been thinking about: “The unromantic mother/son dynamic (where you tell your husband how much he can spend or what he can buy) is the first thing to go when you let him manage the fiances” Makes sense, I always have to fight the temptation to micromanage my husband when it comes to money.

    She also lists three miracles that tend to occur when the man takes over the fiances:

    1.The miracle of perpetual dating – the roles played out within courtship return. Yes, that left when I took over.

    2.The miracle of increased generosity – when husbands manage money, they tend to be much more generous with their wives. True.

    3. The miracle of greater prosperity -When men handle the money, it may give them more stress, but with that stress comes a drive to do better. Also true.

    (Sorry, Margery, perhaps I am stealing your blog post? but I needed to toss these ideas around a bit more).

  6. I like that my husband handles the finances, but then I realized we were spending way too much on food (mostly my fault as I do all the grocery shopping and prepare all the meals). Since actually taking control of this one area and keeping track of it I have gone from spending 800-1200 on groceries per month to 400… And neither of us has noticed a difference in quality of food (in fact it is even better cause cheap cuts of meat cooked for a long time are amazing!)

    But overall he has control. Even if I want to buy a $10 book I ask his permission.

  7. Pingback: Valentine’s Day, Finances, The Surrendered Wife, Dirty Houses, Unruly Kids, and a FitBit | Margery + The Man

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