What If Every Conversation Was Not a Fight?

Hello, my dear sisters in faith,

Ah, spring! There's something truly rejuvenating about this time of year, isn't there? As the earth reawakens, blanketing our surroundings in vibrant colors and lively sounds, it naturally invites us to do some rejuvenating of our own—not just in our homes but in our financial lives as well. It’s the perfect time to dust off our vacation plans, take a fresh look at our budgets, and perhaps most importantly, engage in those crucial yet challenging conversations about money. It’s a struggle to find the right words and moments to discuss finances. It can be tough, but I've learned that with a focused approach, these talks can lead to growth and healthier communication. 

Just like many of you, I’ve faced my own challenges in discussing finances with my husband. It can feel like navigating a dense fog, where every step needs to be taken with care. Yet, as the world around us awakens in the bloom of spring, it also invites us to renew our approach to these discussions. I’ve come to see this time of year, with all its reflections on the past and hopes for the future, as a beautiful opportunity for personal growth.

It's a season that reminds me of God’s promise for renewal. So, as we step into

this season let’s do so with grace and grit. With Christ at the center, even the most challenging of conversations can lead to a path of understanding and deeper connection.

Question: My husband & I cannot discuss finances without a fight, he says things like “Ok, you win.” Is this a control thing?

LeAnne’s Response:

Dear Beloved Reader,

Thank you for your great question. Discussing finances in marriage often feels like navigating a minefield blindfolded. It's tough, especially when conversations seem to end with “you win,” leaving a bitter taste of unresolved issues. It’s understandable how this can feel like a tug-of-war, perhaps even hinting at deeper control dynamics. Every challenge presents an opportunity for growth, both personally and spiritually.

In marriages, especially ones facing rough waters, financial disagreements can quickly escalate. It’s not merely about the numbers; it’s about what those numbers represent – security, dreams, priorities, and sometimes, the unspoken fears. 

When your husband says, “you win,” it might be his way of stepping back to avoid further conflict, signaling a breakdown in effective communication. It’s essential, though, to view this through a lens of compassion. Could there be underlying concerns or fears he's not expressing?

As a wise woman, it is vital to stay alert to the red flags of covert and coercive control, which can manifest in subtle ways during these financial discussions. If you find your opinions consistently dismissed, your financial independence restricted, or feel a persistent sense of fear about bringing up financial topics, these could be signs of a deeper issue. God calls us to relationships of mutual respect and love (Ephesians 5:25-33), not control and domination. Recognizing these signs early can be the first step towards healthier conversations and establishing boundaries that protect your well-being and dignity.

God’s word teaches us about the unity and partnership in marriage. Ephesians 4:2-3 urges us to be “completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” This passage is a beautiful reminder for us to approach our marital discussions, including those about finances, with humility, patience, and a spirit of unity.

So, how do we turn financial discussions from a win/lose battlefield into a building block for a healthier marriage? It starts with setting a time to talk when both of you are calm and not distracted. Enter this conversation with prayer, asking God to guide your discussion and to open both your hearts to understanding and compassion.

Practice active listening. This means truly hearing your partner’s concerns and viewpoints without planning your counter-argument in your head. Sometimes, mirroring back what you’ve heard can also help your partner feel truly seen and heard. As you model for him, he may learn to pick up what you are putting down! 

The journey toward mutual understanding and peace in financial discussions can also be a path to deeper spiritual connection. Involve God in every step of this journey. This is what I have been learning and practicing… Before each conversation, come together in prayer, not just for the resolution of financial disagreements but for the strengthening of your bond as husband and wife. This act of faith lays the groundwork for grace-filled communication and brings God’s wisdom into your hearts.

Set yourself up for a fresh approach. Lay a foundation for these discussions not as adversaries but as partners working together under God's guidance. Reflect on the wisdom of Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” There is strength in seeking wise counsel, so consider consulting a financial advisor. That was a key for me to find more of my voice. This advisor can offer not just financial guidance but also help navigate the emotional and spiritual complexities of money management in marriage.

And when conversations take a turn toward tension, take a moment to pause and remind each other of your common goals. 

Remember, financial stability is not just about the present but building a legacy that honors God’s blessings. Your marriage is a testament to your faith, and how you handle finances is a part of that testimony.

In those moments when you feel overwhelmed, recall the promise in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This journey you're on together is not just about balancing the books; it's about cultivating a marriage that reflects Christ's love and unity, even in the face of challenges.

Finally, dear sister, remember that transformation takes time.

Be patient with each other and with yourselves. Celebrate the small victories along the way, and keep walking your talk, with your eyes fixed on God. He is not just the ultimate source of your provision but the foundation upon which your marriage can weather a storm and emerge stronger.

As we close, know that your marriage has the potential to be a powerful witness to God’s grace and provision. Lean on Him, lean on each other, and step forward in faith, knowing that you are never alone in this journey.

God walks with you, and so does your community of faith. May your conversations about finances become opportunities to deepen your trust in God and each other, drawing you closer in love and purpose. One step at a time. Your voice matters.

My friends, how do you set yourself up for more empowered conversations? First with yourself, then, with others.

5 Comments

  1. Ellen J. on May 9, 2024 at 8:57 am

    I am assuming that the above beautiful essay does not apply to a husband who is a covert narcissist. I can’t bring up anything: no talking points on any topic ever without paying the price of his wrath. I have been married 38 years. It is a quiet, superficial life of radical acceptance in the home, but I have been building a life outside the home for a good number of years for my joy and hopefully in praise of God. I did not deserve what he has meted out to me, and now, with our estate, he is wanting to do the bare minimum by me. I would love to discuss the estate, especially since he is a liver transplant recipient going back 13 years this September and living with stage 4 (chemo-suppressed) neuro-endocrine carcinoma since 2009. The hourglass is low. The medical professionals are so pleased how they have kept him going, but we are getting. I wish they knew what they have preserved. Years back, I tried to discuss it with the oncologist and was told, “well, you can divorce him.” We have three adult children (32,34,36), and there are three adult children (48,50,52) from his previous marriage. The 48-year-old daughter is toxic and his narcissistic fuel. I am fortunate that my two daughters really understand, and my son mostly understands but not to the same depth as the girls. I have asked God to take care of me, and somehow, I know he will, but the lamp unto my path only shows one footstep at a time. I pray often for more trust while I simultaneously am vigilant. I just met this week with an excellent lawyer who understands the situation and is helping me formulate an estate plan (trust) for myself. It’s a tough financial hit but will in the end be worth it. The house is joint, fortunately. Living with a toxic, verbally and emotionally abusive spouse who is also physically unwell has taken so very many hours of my life that could have been devoted to another life that I would think God wanted for me.

  2. Donna on May 9, 2024 at 9:18 am

    Doesn’t matter how how soft spoken, kind, patient, loving, understanding. It does not matter. It is all out WAR. EVERY conversation and especially money. He says he doesn’t care about money!!!??? WHT a joke. He cares way too much about it. He loves to spend it. Alot if it. All of it if he can and then ask me where our money is!

  3. Colleen on May 9, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    We have always had our separate accounts and shared our bills. My husband has managed our rental property and when I asked to save a week for good friends to use his response was I manage the beach house and you don’t know what it takes to run it. I also have no access to that account nor his business account. Since we have separated I have asked for all accounts and absolute transparency. He has always been secretive about his accounts. This is not mutuality in a marriage. I am finally waking up.

  4. Kelley on May 13, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    I do not share accounts with my spouse since 2018 – when he wiped out my business account because he felt it was “owed to him”. He has opened numerous credit accounts solely in my name and thinks that is his “right” He had not contributed to our household in 10 of our 12 married years and last December he rented his own apartment (I had no idea) and did not move out until March. He also set up his power account in my name. He now wants to come home because his says he mad a mistake. This is his 3rd time leaving (the first two times he went to live with one of his sons). He is on disability and while he “claims” terminal – his health is as bad as it is because he refuses to do anything but pop pills and lay in bed. But on a daily basis I get texts or emails that tell me what a horrible Christian I am and that I must follow a different Jesus than him. And that I am breaking our marriage covenant.
    I am currently dealing with almost crippling anxiety and trying to protect my mental, physical, emotion and spiritual sanity.

    • JoAnn on May 20, 2024 at 2:21 pm

      Kelley, This is a week late, but I hope you will see it. What you describe is not a marriage. Your own health and well-being are at stake here, so you need to make some decisions in your own best interest. Letting him back into the house is not one of them. You can’t be responsible for the self-destructive decisions he is making. He got his own apartment, so let him stay there. Establish your own bank account that he can’t gain access to, and get rid of those credit cards. If those accounts are in your name, then you have the legal right to cancel them. He is robbing you of your finances and your health. Please, get some legal help and take care of yourself. You don’t have to take this “lying down.”

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