Good morning friends,
This weekend I had the awesome privilege of speaking at the Winsome Woman’s Conference hosted by Excellent Living and Cheryl Martin, as well as speaking Sunday morning at Louden Bible Church in Louden, Virginia. I was blessed beyond measure by the sweet hospitality and teachable spirits of both groups.
Last week I sent out a newsletter titled, “What Kind of Legacy Are You Leaving?”. If you didn’t receive it, it’s because somehow over 4,000 e-mails addresses were erased from my data base. Not good news. We are currently trying to retrieve this information, but if you want to be sure you’re on my e-mail list, please sign up again on my home page. If the addresses are retrieved, the data base will eliminate duplicates. We just don’t want you to miss anything new that’s coming out.
In the next few weeks, we will have a Pinterest Board on my new book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope” (for more information go to http://amzn.to/11YxDRz). I also will be posting weekly videos on my home page starting next Monday with the topic, What’s the difference between a disappointing, difficult and destructive marriage?
Today’s question is from a male reader. He wants to know what’s fair.
Question. I am searching for Biblical truths in regards to an emotionally devastating situation in my marriage of 14 years. In short, my wife has called our marriage to an end if I do not include her name on all assets that I and my forefathers have worked for for the last 100 years. We both are re-married, both had children from previous marriages and we have two children from this marriage. All of my ancestors have passed on, and the legacy of real estate and investments from them plus my life's work remains in my name solely.
My wife feels entitled to tap into these assets for funding her children through school and to purchase cars for them. She feels that the unity of marriage should be one, including all banking accounts and family assets. Does it say in the Bible that love has to be tied in with tangible assets to be true or does love flow to and from freely without strings attached
Answer. It is always a bit more difficult with second marriages when one or both persons bring into the marriage significant assets accumulated before the new marriage that they may want to leave to their biological children or share with siblings from their family or origin. For some couples, a prenuptial agreement is drawn up that spells things out more clearly ahead of time but also provides financial security for the new spouse.
However, you’re asking if the Bible says that love has to be tied with tangible assets to be true. Let me quote it directly. 1 John 3:16,19 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him. Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Biblical love is far greater than free flowing positive emotions going back and forth. Biblical love is demonstrated through tangible actions. In other words, Biblical love acts in the other person's best interests, even if it costs you suffering and sacrifice.
For example, a husband gets up in the middle of the night to take care of his sick wife. He does so because he loves his wife more than he loves his sleep and he is willing to sacrifice his sleep to help his wife. He doesn't just say “I love you but don't bother me, I'm sleeping”.
That said, let me ask you what is in your wife's best interests here. What would happen to her if you died unexpectedly? She would not inherit your estate. It would just go to your children. Is that what you want? What would happen to her? Would she be taken care of?
What about her children? Do you love them? Is it in their best interests to provide money for their education? Is it in their best interests to help provide a car? If so, then why are you not offering to do this—generously– since you have the means to do it? God is extravagantly generous with us. He leaves us an example to follow. (There may be reasons why it's not in their best interests right now though. For example, if they're irresponsible or lazy, it would not help them to continue to financially support their laziness and irresponsibility.)
Ask yourself this, is it in your wife and family's best interests to have her name on your family assets? If not, why not? (And there might be some legitimate reasons for this, I don't know.) If so, why are you hesitating? She indeed may feel unloved and unprotected by your resistance and selfishness.
I don’t support your wife giving you an ultimatum by telling you that if you don't put her name on the assets she's ending the marriage, but perhaps she is feeling that you say one thing, like “I love you,” but your actions show something entirely different, like “I love ME and MINE more” If that’s true, that would hurt any woman and make her feel unloved regardless of what you say differently.
Friends, what do you think? What would you do if the situation was reversed and you had the family inheritance and properties? Would you put a second husband’s name on it and share it equally? Why or why not?
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My husband and I share equally, but sometimes it’s still stressful and there are feelings of things being unfair. The closer we grow together the more we want to do for each other and the less we worry about fairness.
I had this problem in my last relationship. I became very resentful that the man I loved would not include me in his financial decisions.
Leslie, thank you for that insight on why I was feeling this way. I knew it wasn’t about the money, but because I wanted to know that my opinion mattered. I brought it to his attention one day as lovingly as I could. I shared my home, my cars, my money and my children shared me with him and his children (I love them dearly). With time I began to see other selfish tendancies; soon he left the relationship.
We weren’t able to communicate our real needs and it made it all appear superficial when it wasn’t; it was clearly much deeper than that.
mmm … I’m wondering if there’s something else going on in the marriage … and talking about the money issue is easier than looking at the real heart of the problem.
As Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” Matt. 6:21, Luke 12:34
“The two shall become one flesh”Matt 19:5, Mark 10:8, Ephes. 5:31
I utterly disagree with the wife’s ultimatum of leaving if demands aren’t made. I appreciate Leslie’s comments about it.
I utterly disagree with a man who attributes the work of his forefathers without saying “foremothers” as well. I believe, site unseen, he wouldn’t have what he has without the stewardship of amazing women in his family.
Lemme share a little backwoods front porch wisdom with you. Offer
a) restate what her complaint is so she knows you were listening. Nicely.
b) Tell her you get it and if it were you , and it was all hers, you would be feeling the same thing.
c) Ask her what she really wants – is it rights so if you die, she can inherit it? Is it a car for each kid, and expensive educations for everyone? Get very very clear on what she wants. I can almost guarantee you she does want a few things but she also wants you to understand her.
d) When you hear what she wants, counter offer in the best way possible. “I want the kids to have an education too, so can you and I work out how we can offer it to them. I want the kids to have one car for all 4 of them, so they can share. I want you to have 50% but I’m worried that x, y, z. If I do this, can you promise me in writing that x, y, z? If I do this and you leave me, do you agree that it’s null and void? If I leave you, I will give you 25%?
I don’t mean to sound trite, but if you’re really wanting “Biblical truth”, it’s in many verses. If you want practical advice, it’s yours. Truth is, you trusted everything to this woman and she ‘s bowing up because YOU are. As the leader, you make the bridge. You ask God to make the way clear. There’s no judgement because her sin matches yours. Will you guys get on an even playing field and meet God in the middle?
And for pete’s sake- make it a Win-Win for you both. It will come from NO ONE being right, from you really hearing her heart, and watching God show up.
And will you let us know what happened when you decide?
All the best!
Leslie: It is a blessing to me knowing that you’re out there speaking up and hopefully changing hearts and minds in the church. In the sermon last week my pastor said that verbal taunting is not abuse it is mocking and therefore not the same. I’m kind of thinking he has no experience and therefore knows not what he says.
As for this gentleman. Of course, he should share with his wife. I don’t personally believe in prenups, but I have no problem sharing and getting an A in sandbox either.
He took on a wife and children when he married for the second time. He owes them just as much of himself as he did his first family. Otherwife, he should not have married. Financial decisions should be made together; jointly deciding what the children are deserving of and what they are not is what parents should do.
I also agree that the wife should not have threatened him the way she did. In a perfect world couples would have discussed this before the marriage. Unless she is a drunk who will spend it all of his legacy at the casino, why shouldn’t she be a part of all of him, his wealth included. He can always put money in a trust as well for the future to protect his other children and continue to take care of his wife and new family in case of his passing. I don’t believe you make vows to just a new spouse in a second marriage. You also make vows to those that come with the package. There is no more yours and mine, there is only ours.
I have been with my husband for 27 years, and married for 7.I thought he was wonderful! Yet I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, He was very emotionally contained. and I always felt that he didn’t love me enough to ‘marry me’ after all He loved his first wife enough to marry her??? I have fought for my His love, our relationship and our marriage, as well as my right to have a voice and equal financial security for the best part of 27 years also! I have continually blamed myself for everything that has gone wrong in our marriage because no matter how hard I tried, how much I loved him, what I did or didn’t do It was never right or good enough for him! Yet He seemed so kind and gentle and loving in so many other ways! He said he loved me??? I was very confused and have spent 25 years soul searching and suffering a succession of serious depressions and a breakdown taking 10 years to recover! Always looking for THE RIGHT HELP TO MAKE ME WELL. and then … I found God 18 months ago, I found a strength and resilience I did not know I had, I found love and self- respect for myself BUT the biggest shock of all came 3 weeks ago when I found he had been hiding a total of £90.000 from me for the last 5 years since his mum died! He says it’s HIS MONEY FOR HIS RETIREMENT and ‘I’ll be o.k.’ I have always been a good steward of our money because this was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TO HIM! MONEY! Do I think I am entitled to a share of HIS MONEY! YES I DO! we made OUR VOWS TOGETHER!! For richer or poorer! all that I have I give to you! In sickness and in health! We have experienced ALL of these situations apart from the richer! until now! We, like most couples have had our financial struggles, I have robbed Peter to pay Paul on a weekly basis Most of our married life, yet I have always made sure my family have been loved and well cared for. Since Finding God’s love and my dignity, I have found out that the way my husband treats me is manipulative, controlling, and emotionally and mentally abusive! I also found out that MY MENTAL ILLNESS belongs to HIM! in the form of Narcissistic personality disorder! but what hurts the most is that he has orchestrated ALL of my depressions and my breakdown over the years, to keep me under his control! Every time I grew in strength, he did his best to break me! and won every time! How do I know? because I am now getting my memory back! Empty gaps are now being filled with realisations and reasons, understandings and impossibilities that I can no longer deny, reason away or blame myself for any more! But worst of all He’s been doing the same again this time! UNTIL NOW THAT IS. WHY? WHAT IS DIFFERENT THIS TIME? God has opened my eyes to see that MY LOVELY HUSBANDS TREATMENT OF ME IS WRONG! God has opened my ears to hear the VERBAL ABUSE and KNOW THAT I DO NOT DESERVE IT! AND MOST OF ALL God has lead me to find this money JUST BEFORE MY HUSBAND TOOK IT ALL AND WALKED OUT ON ME BECAUSE I REFUSED TO PUT UP WITH OR ACCEPT HIS CONTROLLING, MANIPULATIVE, SECRETIVE, DEVIOUS, DESTRUCTIVE, UNHEALTHY TREATMENT AND BEHAVIOUR ANYMORE! AND YES I HAVE INSISTED MY NAME GOES ON ALL THESE ACCOUNTS! AND HE PAYS OFF OUR MORTGAGE AND LOAN FOR THE SECURITY OF OUR CHILD AND MYSELF! If he leaves I will be penny-less and jobless as MY MENTAL HEALTH is too fragile to have paid employment, I will still have a dependant daughter, a mortgage to pay, a house to run, food to buy, and a car to run so that my daughter can continue her extra curricular sports and hobbies (To keep her off the streets). Am I giving him an ultimatum? YES! IS IT ABOUT THE MONEY? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!what is going to happen to our marriage? our relationship? our future? our life? I DON’T KNOW??? My husband still expects me TO CHANGE ME! While he just SAYS HE’S CHANGED. I Have handed it over to GOD COMPLETELY! I really can do NO MORE!!! I LOVE MY HUSBAND DEEPLY! and I am praying for God to find a way where there is no way, but I am hurt, angry and devastated by my FINDINGS Over the last 18 months! and especially the last 3 months! I am trying to build up my health and strength and stay close to God listening to his guidance and counsel as to what happens next, In the meantime I can truly say that ‘KNOWING JESUS SAVED MY LIFE!’ Now I do not know your situation but I am curious to ask WHY, would you NOT naturally share your assets with your wife and children? if you have made your vows, and you have a loving, healthy, happy, marriage, what is the problem? WHY are you even ASKING THIS QUESTION? And can I also say that FINDING this site 3 months ago has contributed to me being able to stay close to God’s loving protection, as it was Leslie herself that advised me to RUN TO GOD NOW! 3 weeks ago and when I did, God lead me straight to finding HIS money! so thank you Leslie, and all the community that share their lives on your site, It really is a GOD-SEND.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!! Janet
Janet, I’m so glad you’re clinging to God and finding a community of believers to help you through this journey.
Thank you Leslie, your comment on my last blog 3 weeks ago really jolted me! And you were so right with your warning about the enemy keeping me from God! I was shocked to discover what God had been telling me when I went back and re-read the scriptures He had given me! and then hH stopped telling me (or rather I stopped going to him) but stayed connected in spirit, so like John In Revelation 1:9 I was in exile because of the word of God … On the Lord’s day I was in the spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice…God began showing me! because I just was not getting it! I was hearing Him but still turning it on myself or refusing to believe the truth! But as God began showing me Hard Evidence over a period of 2 weeks, I could not deny it any longer. I had to face the truth that my Husband was trying to break me but this time he was trying to destroy me! So Thank you so much for your very pertinent jolt to run to God. I do believe you were speaking from God Himself to me that day!I’m not sure where we/I? go from here, because I’m not sure how much of him is genuine, If any??? It’s the subtlety and devious manipulation that has shocked me the most! This is MY HUSBAND of 27 years! It is so hard to believe it myself and I have lived it! And STILL AM Living it! so how on earth would anyone else believe it? My husband is at the moment trying the let’s be completely open and honest with each other about everything now! (Because he wants to know what I’m ‘researching about him’,) He walked in on me as I had married to an emotional abuser on the screen, so decided to look it up himself??? coyly admitted he ‘mentally teased me’ and promised to see the G.P.My husband promises that now he knows it is emotional abuse, he won’t do it again!!! and I need to GIVE HIM A CHANCE!!!But I have promises of vindication and deliverance from God to hold on to and He is far more trustworthy, reliable and worth holding onto than the empty promises of the man I thought loved me. I’m having to disconnect from my emotions to get by, but the Lord is my strength and my comforter! And boy do I need all the strength the Lord can offer me right now. I did cut off my husbands complete blood supply! and I know he is slowly getting more of it back, as I need to talk to him about practical issues and be civil to ease the atmosphere for my daughters sake but I am getting the welts every time he feeds off me! I do know though, without a shadow of a doubt, That It is ONLY the Lord’s WORD that I can trust and believe, and I take courage in the fact that I am growing in Christ as I walk this rocky road! Thank you Leslie
Oh Lord I pray You encounter my Husband on his road to Damascus! In Jesus’ name. Amen!
Jenny, I am so sad and angry that you have allowed this selfish sinful man to define you as not good enough. How dare him. The truest thing about you is what God says about you and you are His precious creation. He made you from scratch and he wants you to be in a relationship where you are loved and cherished, not used and taken advantage of. I applaud you for taking a step of courage and moving on. Just because this man cannot, will not, or does not love you does in no way mean you are unlovable or undesirable. Some men are just takers and he sounds like one of them. It’s time for you to let go and get yourself strong enough for you and your children so that you can be an example to them of a healthy God-centered, not man-centered, woman.
Thank you leslie. This is a late response because of the chaos and trauma he is still creating whilst innocently denying it and promising that he is trying but it’s me that’s not giving him a chance! Also your reply was addressed to Jenny??? When I originally read it I did not think it was for me. But just a quick update, I believe God is telling me now not to bother with this foolish man??? I can’t remember the proverb off hand, plus more scriptures, but I am due to have an operation tomorrow so I am aware I will be helpless and immobile for two weeks, so I need to actually pretend now that I have no plans or thought to make him on his guard and for my protection and sanity. I really don’t know what is going to happen next or what I will do, but recent revelations about the damage he is doing to our daughter at the price of destroying me is more than I can stand! I must protect my daughter. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, and it is so NOT MY CHOICE but a final acceptance that I really do have no alternative. I bought your book emotionally destructive relationships, and he has been reading it??? He says to learn what he is doing so that he can stop, I believe he is forearming his self to cover up and be more discreet so that I will be conned into believing him again. Honestly Leslie, I could write my own book on NPD and emotional and mental abuse just by my experience with him. It really is his personality! his character, his way of life! what I find so hard to accept is that HE REALLY IS WANTING MY SUICIDE!! that is so hard to accept, how anyone could be so callous, calculating, and deceitful to do this to someone they tell they love, regular and act so perfect and innocent on a minute to minute basis, but each and every word or action or even silence, or look is all part of HIS PLAN! How is this possible? This is a big warning for any lady out there suffering like this, BELIEVE YOUR INNER VOICE because it is his lies that cover up and make you believe it is your fault and imagination. I will update when I can but please keep me and my daughter in your prayers, plead the blood of Jesus over us! The enemy is NOT having MY BLOOD!!! I’ve got to do something whilst I have got my sanity, because all the other times, he’s got to me first. In his own words ‘I’ve done you’Jxx
Janet, I pray Jesus protect you and your daughter. Let us know how the surgery goes.
I hope you get my reply? I’m not sure I sent it after the correct reply from you, jxx
I totally relate with you Janet .I have been with my partner for 10 years now and it’s been an emotional roller coaster.He is divorced ..married young and got divorced soon afterwards .In the 10 years we have been together I have asked him when we are getting married and he has told me several times he’s not ready ,or he doesnt want to get divorced again so he doesnt wanna get married ,at the worst of times he’s told me I am not good enough and why would he want to get married to someone like me . It’s painful and everyday I wonder if I will ever be good enough or maybe there is something wrong with me and I try to be good and not bring up the subject for a few years and when i do I get the same responses. I have prayed ,fasted,believed for God’s time but we are nowhere nearer a wedding now than we were 10 years ago. I’ve also had to deal with his cheating having had 3 affairs in the 10 years we’ve been together . Initially I was blamed and the recent last one he did own up to his weaknesses but still blamed the other woman for coming onto him .I struggle with depression everyday wondering why I am not good enough and yet my friends are having weddings .He is a loving family man spends most of the time with the family ,everything is good on the outside but on the inside I am tattered .I have sleepless nights thinking and stressing over my situation. He has refused to go for counselling and refuses to be accountable with his emails or phone , telling me the affair is over so I should just let it go . I have been a housewife for 10 years because he has worked in several countries and I have gone along with him and the kids and he is a fairly successful man owning 3 homes and about to buy a third ..all fully paid for and all in his name even the car he bought for me is in his name.he hides his bank accounts and there is an unspoken rule that I am not to ask or get information about them. I have asked him to make a will for the sake of the children but he is not concerned about it . We can never discuss important issues of finances seriously because I feel like I have no right to anything and he has also shown me in so many ways that all he has is his and I am not deserving or entitled to anything . I am African and we are customarily married however this has more of a traditional relevance than legal . I have been with him from the time he only had the clothes on His back till now and I feel like I have wasted 10 years of my life . My family tells me to hang in there ..one of these days God will answer my prayers but in the meantime I feel used ,taken advantage of ..he already has a woman in the home he doesn’t need to bind himself legally to me . I am still young 32 and well educated and have decided to leave him ..yes with nothing and start afresh on my own . It kills me that I can’t take my kids since I dont have an income yet but I can’t bear to continue living like this ,even for the sake of my kids,in this uncertainty at his mercy . He is very happy and comfortable and secure whilst on the other hand I do not feel like I am loved the way Christ loves the church . I am not appreciated or respected I am an outsider who he tries to hide his money from .Yes he says he loves me so much but I don’t see it . Like Janet said it’s not about the money it’s about being one and knowing we are working together for each other . I feel so helpless and have suicidal thoughts because I feel I am not and will never be good Enough and I have lost so much of myself hoping one day I will be good enough .Yes I am born again and have been a Christian since primary school.Does giving it all to God mean I should continue living like this and believe one day it will happen . I have tried doing that and it has not worked for me . I am scared of being out there alone but I believe that’s the bigger test ..trusting God to take care of me to be my husband and give me back my peace and joy .
Jenny I need to reply to you but I am under pressure at the moment. Hang in there with God but get out of your relationship now!!!! I will reply properly soon. Sorry for delay, It’s chaotic here. jxx
Just as a matter of interest, Have you ever read Job? It was while reflecting on this book that God revealed to me my strongman!
There is clearly a reason why he is holding back. This is his forefathers legacy and inheritance to him. NOT her kids. Where is the father of these children. His responsibility is to his kids. For her to give him an ultimatume just makes her out to look like she’s only after the money and maybe have married him for it. Maybe her kids aren’t deserving of his generosity. I truly believe there is a thin line between submissive and plain being taken advantage of.
We arent there to know all that is going on. I say Don’t put her name on the assets this is your second marriage and as much as we want to put out trust in the Lord that things will be different statistics say there is a huge hchance this marriage will end…. she knows she has two kids with her and will more than likely use them to obtain money from you.
Go with your gut instinct I think thsts Gods way of warning us ahead of time.
Hope it is too bad that you feel this way. I am in a marriage where the same is occurring, except it is not inheritance or legacy. I bring it up to him not because I want his money, but because I do feel unloved. He is not providing for his wife. He does not have to do so for her children but at the very least he should make sure that a wife of 14 years is taken care of. Jesus, the bridegroom paid a handsome dowry for his bride, the church. It’s too bad that is often overlooked. By the way, I contribute to the household and live in a community property state, he would have to give up money whether he wanted to or not. I don’t want it, but note that his money is more important to him. On a side note, my friend and her husband who are not a believers, share finances and property. Her husband put her name on everything. Goes to show where his heart is even though he is not even a Christian.
why did this fellows first marriage end? hope it is not for the same reason as second wife complaint..
I’m a little late with this blog post, but would like to add my 2 cents, because that’s about all I have left now. My husband left me suddenly and with little warning in December after 27 years of marriage. He claimed to be a Christian, was an elder in the church for 15 years, held my hand and prayed with me every morning and evening, and was addicted to a boatload of prescription drugs that changed him into a shadow of the man I married. I freely shared every penny I inherited from my grandfather and gifts from my parents over the years. We used it to pay off all our debts and I divided it equally into accounts for “our” retirement in IRAs and a joint investment account. I often wondered why we always seemed to run through any money left over, but “submissively” went along with whatever my husband wanted. He got half of everything when he divorced me 3 months ago.
If I ever remarry, I will never marry anyone who insists on co-mingling all our assets and is unwilling to have a pre-nup. When someone is passing down a family business, it makes no sense whatsoever for a grandfather’s business to be passed down or broken up to give to a spouse’s children he never met. My grandfather worked hard to survive his teen years after the death of his alcoholic dad, and it’s still hard for me to believe he didn’t turn over in his grave when my ex-husband got half of what he worked so hard to pass down to me.
I certainly feel there should be generous sharing and trust in a marriage. But I’m a little jaded from getting the short end of the stick. Especially in a remarriage, there are many reasons to use caution. I would recommend from my experience that inheritances and businesses stay in the name of a single account of the one with a bloodline. From that account, you can share freely and pass on as an inheritance all you want to your spouse. But if there is a divorce, you will lose half.
The way that wife is speaking to her husband tells me there is something not to be trusted about her request. They do need to get to the root of it. If they can agree for him to help with college and cars, that’s one thing, but if they can’t agree, I don’t feel he is obligated. I would not put her name on everything based on my own experience. The Bible also speaks of not throwing our pearls before swine, and something smells bad about her demands to me.