My Husband Doesn't Financially 
Provide for Us

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
Right now, my heart is heavy, I know God is in control and I know He has my life safely in His hands but I just want your advice. I am a working mother because although my husband is a college graduate, he has not been able to provide for the family. Before he entered into ministry, he was in one part-time job or the other. I know he applied for jobs but he was not able to land one that provided for us. As time went on, he started a small business where he worked very hard, but things didn't really pick up. During this time his calling to full time ministry was getting stronger, which meant I would have to carry the financial burden of the home again.

Sometimes I am OK with all of this, but sometimes I get very bitter. I see other women whose husbands work and they are able to stay home with their children. I couldn't. I have often asked, "How long, Lord?" It is like my life is just to have kids and keep the home going financially. I could have walked out of our marriage many times but I have just believed God will see us through. Many times I have cried before God and talked with my husband about how I feel, but we are still in the same shoes. 

My husband is a wonderful father and a good pastor who helps people, but in the area of finances I am having to carry the load. Please pray for us and my son, who can be a challenge. Sometimes I am concerned for him in that he doesn't have a good role model in terms of men providing for their families, but I can only trust God to help him.

Chuck's Response
I was sad hearing about your financially irresponsible husband. He is clearly out of God's will. Here are the biblical priorities for a husband.

  • His relationship with Jesus Christ I know lots of "church" leaders that really don't have a very close relationship with Jesus Christ. They work hard at being religious and doing church stuff, but fail miserably at being the cornerstone of the family.

  • His wife
    Ephesians 5:25-30 says ... "And you husbands show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ showed to the church when he died for her, to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism (spiritual) and God's Word so that he could give her to himself as a glorious church without a single spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, being holy and without a single fault. That is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves, For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself a favor and loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just a Christ cares for his body, the church, of which we are parts 
    The church has been giving out a lot of false information over the past 2,000 years or so concerning what submission and headship mean. Most of us have been taught that submission is something a wife does, and leadership or headship is what the man does. The problem is that Ephesians 5:21 says men should submit. It talks about mutual submission under God, equality, teamwork. Then Ephesians 5:22 says "wives submit" but the context is a discussion as to how wives and husbands feel loved and the roles in which they would be the happiest.

  • His kids and grandkids
    I Timothy 3:2, 4-5, 8 says ... "For a pastor must be a good man whose life cannot be spoken against. (4-5) He must have a well-behaved family with children who obey quickly and quietly. For if a man can't make his own little family behave, how can he help the whole church? (8) The deacons must be the same sort of good, steady men as the pastors."

  • Making a living
    2 Timothy 5:8 says ... "But anyone who won't care for his own relatives when they need help, especially those living in his own family, has no right to say he is a Christian. Such a person is worse than the heathen"

  • Ministry
    The above verses and others imply to me that a man shouldn't be asked to even sweep out the church until his home is in order financially, emotionally, and spiritually. How can he serve the church family if the needs of his own family are not being met?

I don't think the church is taking a close enough look at Matthew 20:20-28 when the mother of James and John asked Jesus if her kids could sit up front with Him when He came into His kingdom. I'm sure He was polite to her, because that's what moms do, look out for their children. But later, He took His disciples and followers aside and said in effect, "That's what the Kings do, that's what the Gentiles do, that's what the Romans do. They have to be up front, in charge, the head. If you want to be the head of a family, head of a church, head of a business, head of a mission, then become a servant. And if you want to become the greatest leader in the world, then become the greatest servant in the world." He then referred to Himself saying that He was the greatest among them, but He had come to wash feet and die.

The first book that my wife, Barb, and I wrote together outlined how I had gone ahead of her in a number of investments that she did not "feel" good about. I was taught that the man made the final decision if we couldn't agree, so I went ahead with my projects ... but all of them exploded in my face, and we lost a great deal of money. I had gotten off Barb's team. Marriage is a covenant partnership. If Barb has the Holy Spirit, and she does, and if I have the same Holy Spirit, and I do, would the Holy Spirit tell Barb to do something and tell me to do just the opposite and break up our team? I don't think so. It wouldn't make sense for Him to do this. I like Genesis 2:18 that says the woman "completes" the man ... and together they become one flesh, a team. If a couple doesn't agree on a decision, I believe that God is saying wait. I don't think He is honored by having either one of the partners do it their own way against the wishes of the other. God is not asking women to be doormats.

As for you working, I know my suggestion is risky, and for sure don't do it unless you have God's peace, but I would give him a deadline when you are going to quit work and come home. Maybe Oct. 1 or whatever, to give him some time to find something. The risk is that he would continue his disobedience and you and the kids will be hurt financially. The problem is that as long as you keep bailing him out, why would he want to be responsible? This sounds harsh, but this seems to be your only alternative as far as I can see. I would be happy to talk further if you would like to. Thanks for reaching out.

Chuck Snyder



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Updated 05/24/2005