What If My Husband Won't Let Me Tithe?
- Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a Christian married to a Christian. I make significantly more money than my husband. I want to be able to tithe on the money I make and he doesn't want me to. We have plenty of money and no financial burdens or debt. Should I be submissive to my husband on this issue or insist on being able to tithe on the money I make? I would actually like to give more than just a tithe, but 10 percent to me seems like a compromise. You can reword this question as you wish, but I would value your opinion. I would not like my name to be used to protect my husband.
Dear Name Withheld,
In your case I would not make it a big issue. Yielding to him now is the best way to open the door for tithing later.
Jesus taught that tithing is the natural outcome of a heart of love and obedience to God (Luke 11:42).Your husband is acting like an unbeliever in this area and must be treated as such.
Peter advised wives whose husbands were not Christians to win them to Christ by their sacrificial, loving behavior. He went on to say that wives must refrain from nagging and attempting to convince their husbands with rational arguments.
Peter wrote: "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives" (1 Peter 3:1).
Your husband is behaving like he doesn't "believe the word" and is acting like a non-believer! So we follow Peter's advice.
Winning him over "without words" in no way precludes a talk as to why he's reluctant to tithe. At the right time, and in the right way, it's OK to explore with him why he refuses to tithe -- or to allow you to tithe.
He obviously has issues that are worth exploring. Is he angry with God? Is he blaming God for some past hurt or suffering? Does he think that withholding a tithe makes it even? Does he resent the fact that you make more money? Is he, in a twisted way, building up his ego in trying to "control" the family's finances? Does he think that your church doesn't need it? Or, doesn't deserve it? Could he be addicted to spending and buying? Does lack of faith frighten him into believing that God may not provide if you get into financial trouble? Is he bowing down the god Materialism? (Matthew :24)
A frank discussion like this is not designed to get him to tithe as much as it is for him to deal with any internal issues that preclude his giving to the Lord. This not a time for judgment. It is more a time of exploration and perhaps some comfort for the suspected hurts behind his behavior.
Then, at the right time I would let him know that you are going to follow 1 Peter 3:1 and submit to his leadership and that you will keep quiet about the tithing issue. Solomon calls this "heaping burning coals on his head (Proverbs 25:22). Peter probably had this verse in mind as he dispensed advice on this subject.
Tell him that if he ever he decides to let you tithe you'll be pleased and grateful. However, until that time you intend to pray for a change in his heart -- and that you will never mention it again.
You don't have to worry that Jesus is disappointed in you for not tithing. He understands. You're in the same position as David when he wanted to build the Temple and God told him "No!"
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