As I filled out the deposit slip at our local bank I came to the blank for name on account, and though in actuality my name was listed first, I wrote it on the piece of paper with my spouse’s name proceeding mine. Call me old fashioned, I suppose. I mentioned it to my aunt in the passenger seat, and she recollected on an era when she wrote her name as Mrs. Roy Shirley. Times certainly had changed.
Although old fashioned, in a sense, I am proud of how far womanhood has come. I am proud that God raises up strong women to do mighty things for His kingdom. Historically He’s always been capable of such, but rather it’s just been more easily accepted in society the past 35 years or so. I’ve always been very independent, and it made me feel good that when I found myself thirty years old and newly divorced that I could pick myself up, have zero debt, and buy a house on my own without the help of a man. I bought a big house! Why? Because I could!
When I got remarried, in fact, I was still the same, independent woman. The mortgage was in my name, I was the primary breadwinner, and when we had our first child I had no trouble saying, “you stay home with the baby. It only makes sense.” It was my house, my banking account, and my car. But I can recall a time early in our marriage when my husband asked me if he could put a monthly game subscription on the debit card. Although I really appreciated him asking, for some reason it made me feel sad. It didn’t feel right. He was working minimal part time so he could watch our child so we wouldn’t have to put her in daycare. We were making important decisions as a family, so wasn’t it about time we had a joint banking account?
I know a lot of married couples who decide to keep their money separate, and each partnership is free to make the decision that’s best for their relationship, but this is what works for us. Back then I realized it was okay to share. Despite my divorce and feelings of betrayal, I could trust a man again, not just into my heart, but also into my finances. I could drop my guard and allow myself to depend on someone besides my own strength and resources. I could even let him take the reigns for our family. I suppose in some strange way that was something my heart wanted all along.
So his name went on the checking account. We began to share our finances, we shared our dreams, we shared our bills, and when tough times hit we shared our debt. Before our first child was a year old the desires of my heart began to change and the shape of our family ideal did too. I shifted into the role of caretaker for the children since that’s where my heart thrived, and he moved into the position of breadwinner where he could feel more comfortable as well. The amount of bank deposits from each of our jobs changed, but the idea of a shared income did not. It was our money, and no matter who’s bringing home more bacon, it remains our money.
We communicate our spending to one another in a comfortable way, and in this manner no one feels like they’re asking permission. Before big purchases we discuss the decision, and when funds are low there’s a joint effort to use resources wisely. There’s no his or hers, yours or mine, but there’s definitely an us. And that’s what works best.
I figure if you’re going to share a bed with someone you might as well share a checkbook. If you’re going to have the same collective hopes and dreams for the future of your family you might as well both be on the car note. If you’re going to commit to be one flesh then you might as well be of one accord when it comes to spending. And that’s why in this house the money is ours.