I´m reviewing today the book, A Wife After God´s Own Heart. I already read this book two years ago but today, I felt like I need a review. As I came to the Money Matters, Chapter 5 of the book, there are several questions that arise in my head.
Author Elizabeth George pictured a supposedly ideal scenario – the husband works hard to provide for the family, and the wife supports her husband by being wise, thrifty, and skillful finance manager.
Now I don´t have any problem with this perfect set-up other than the thought that the author shaped her advice from Biblical texts related to money and finances (which are all wise, anyway) and made her´s and her daughter´s marriages as examples – both women are/were full-time wives who managed their husband´s income quite well.
But not all marriages fit in the same box. Other marriages which belong to different demographics would require additional, if not unique, advice and tips.
Wives as Money Managers
Before I tackle these things in my mind that bother me, let me just quickly go through the good points that I picked up from this book´s topic.
- You, as a wife, are to contribute much to your husband by the wise, thrifty, diligent management and oversight of your part of the household budget.
I agree one hundred percent. Wives are the ones who generally oversee the household affairs and budgeting from grocery shopping, house repairs, clothing and gifts. If you´re a new wife and the idea of suddenly becoming a finance manager of your household is overwhelming, this book gives you a step by step guide on how to develop the skill, starting with prayer.
The author suggests that it´s wise for wives to delicate a place at home which will serve as the finance department office. Here´s where you do the recordkeeping, filing, and organizing of files and receipts.
To my amusement, George said two sure ways in helping your husband in the finance managing is keeping your checkbook up to date and checking your bank balance daily.
This latter advice would work if your husband is the family´s sole bread winner and you have a joint account. What about for couples who both earn and have separate bank accounts? What´s the perfect paradigm for them?
In many (christian-christian) intercultural marriages, joint accounts and wives being the master of finances aren´t the typical set-up. I know several Asian women as well as those from Dominican Republic married to westerners who have no direct access to their husband´s bank accounts. Usually, their husband pays for everything that the family needs and they are given an allowance which these wives can spend for their personal needs or send as an extended help to their loved ones back home.
I even have a Latina friend whose German husband does not pay for her clothing or personal needs although he pays for the house rental, food, and electricity bills. So she has to work three part-time jobs in order to earn her own money, buy what she wants, and send help to her family.
Another Filipa-German couple I know has unique financial issues. They have no children, the husband works full-time while the wife works part-time. Together, this couple´s monthly income should be more than sufficient for them. But the husband is an impulsive shopper, he tends to buy many things that they don´t need (at least that´s how people see from the outside). This couple has no savings and they always run out of money every end of the month.
If you are in these unique situations, how would you support your husband well in the financial department?
George said in her book, use that communication skill, talk to your husband and discuss about your financial goals. But what about if you two have different financial orientations?
Wives as a Good Support
- You contribute even more by heartily supporting your husband (versus nagging, whining, and complaining because he´s always at work or always tired from the demands of his job) as he puts forth the effort – and hours – to do his part in providing for the family.
George mentioned in her book that she used to whine for the long hours that her husband spent working and the many jobs that he had. But she later on learned that if her husband is to provide, she might as well make life easier for him with joy, support, encouragement, effort, creative planning, and wise scheduling. She and her family reaped the results of her husbands´ sacrifices – their home mortgage got paid, they enjoy full medical benefits, and sufficient monthly income.
In my opinion, each wife has different ways of showing support. Some wives prefer to work too so they could help increase the family´s income and their husband need not spend too many long hours at work. Many modern wives found creative ways to earn from home so they still earn while looking after the kids.
Some have even resolved to practicality. If the wife sees that she has more opportunities in the work market than her husband, and if the husband agrees, they switch roles. Wife works while husband takes care of the kids.
The wife of my husband´s colleague earns more than her husband, they have three kids, they have no nannies, they split the house chores, and they have a harmonious marriage.
Bottom line is, whether you´re a full-time housewife who supports your husband by making life easy and peaceful for him, or you’re a working wife who shows support to your husband by helping bring in the dough, as long as you continue to honor him and manage your family´s finances in partnership with him, you are a virtuous wife.
What are your thoughts? How can you, as a wife, be a good financial manager and support to your husband?