Have you ever struggled with the difference of the way you and your spouse view shopping? Yesterday we experienced a situation with our daughter and her husband while shopping. Before leaving, the two of them had confirmed which each other that they had enough money to purchase new Cross Fit shoes for both of them as well as some workout items for her. With the “plan” set, the 4 of us headed up for an hour and a half drive to the outlet mall!
Our first stop was the Reebok store. There was a great deal on shoes; buy 2 at the regular, discounted outlet mall price and get the 3rd pair free. Tim got a pair as well as Katie and Darryl giving them a smoking deal when the total price was split 3 ways. Everything was going great at this point.
Then we went to the Nike store. Of course there were great deals there as well. Katie selected 4 pairs of shorts and 2 tank tops for working out. They were items she needed. Now, let me set the stage. Katie is an extremely low-maintenance girl, plus she is very thrifty. The other side of the coin is that she is not necessarily the one who is budget minded; that would be Darryl’s nitch.
When they got to the cashier, Katie could sense that Darryl was stressed. Tim and I had no idea what was going on, however when I asked Darryl if he purchased anything he said, “naw”. He said there was a pair of shorts he liked but didn’t get them. I asked if he wasn’t sure of them or if it was a money thing. He confirmed it was a money thing. That is when I could sense a “situation” brewing. I backed off.
Tim wanted to go out to dinner. I asked if we could pay for the kid’s meals as I figured there was a stress in the financial situation plus we just love to cover those kinds of things when we can with our kids. We ordered our food and then Darryl got serious asking for our advice.
Simply put, he shared that he was struggling with the spending of money even though they had the plan and had plenty of money. Katie began crying and it was breaking his heart; but none the less he was seriously struggling with the anxiety that was filling his spirit. Logically he knew he was wrong; but he could not seem to get his emotions to connect with that thought.
The conversation was filled with Tim sharing his identifying with where he was at and how he struggles still with it. He then shared how he had to re-think shopping. It was a relational experience as well as a logical deal. We discussed these principles:
1. To trust that Katie knows their needs and their financial situation; and that she desires to honor Darryl. This is a result and benefit for a husband who values his wife and believing that she is on the same team with him.
2. Also, remember that husband and wife are one. How easy is it to purchase stuff for you…so now purchasing for her is just more buying for “yourself”.
3. Knowing that she is more important than money. (relational)
4. And while it is healthy to have a saving’s plan; money is meant to be spent.
5. Continue to communicate before, during and after about not only the plan but the emotions that are going on inside of your spirit.
6. It is a process which takes discipline and a quest to care about other’s needs just as God cares for our needs. Often God even goes above and beyond what we need by blessing us abundantly.
Then we discussed how if he continued to operate in a manner of anxiety and division over the spending of money that these things would begin to happen:
1. She will not want to shop with him anymore; losing out on the oneness in all things together.
2. She will begin to sneak by purchasing needed items so as to not hear “it”.
3. When he has children, the kids would enter into watching a division of mom and dad over how shopping is done. This will put an unbelievable stress on the marriage.
4. Sometimes, a wife will become so callused that she could care less about the finances and spend to fill the need in her spirit that should be filled by the leading of her husband to Christ-likeness.
After we discussed this, you could see the freedom in Darryl as he began to understand more clearly how to continue to work on this issue. I cannot tell you how impressed Tim and I were of his heart trying to see what God was trying to show him. How rewarding is it for us as parents to watch our son-in-law care for our daughter’s spirit. I hesitated in the car on the way home because I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I had to share with him how he made me feel. I was so moved to see him be so transparent and vulnerable in his quest to Christ-likeness; and how it really made me feel like he was truly part of our family because of this.
Fathers, please never minimize life’s situations like “shopping” to learn Christ-like lessons. I am so blessed for my father who has shown me, my husband and my kids what a quest for being like Christ looks like. My dad isn’t perfect; however, he has always resolved issues and pursued being like Christ. Now he has left a legacy even with a man, my son-in-law, who has entered our family which will impact my grandchildren. Talk about encouragement!