How can self-rejection lead to financial trouble?
When a man struggles with self-rejection or a sense that his wife is rejecting him, his attitudes affect every aspect of his life, including his marriage and finances. The following progression traces the damage that inferiority brings and offers insights for overcoming it.
Inferiority leads to insecurity.
When a man does not understand and accept unchangeable features, whether those unchangeables are his own or those of his family members, he develops deep feelings of inferiority and resentment. The resulting struggle hinders his ability to lead his family in the ways of God.
His failure to lead prompts feelings of insecurity and resentment in his wife, who longs to be able to depend on him for wise and consistent leadership in their marriage and family.
Extravagance fosters fear.
A husband who does not accept himself often attempts to improve his self-image by investing in expensive clothing, cars, furnishings, and other status symbols. In order to purchase such items, he may go into debt. His wife might not sympathize with his “need” to go into debt for expensive items, and although she accepts his gifts and provision, she develops fears and insecurity because of the debt that comes with them.
Wrong priorities develop divided loyalties.
Motivated by his need for approval, the husband commits himself to reach certain financial goals. In order to reach those goals, he allows or even encourages his wife to begin working outside the home.
His wife goes to work and finds herself in two competing worlds: home and the workplace. She finds that her personal needs (that her husband did not meet) can be partially fulfilled through the satisfaction her job brings and the income it generates.
Feelings of rejection lead to resentment.
The husband’s feelings of inferiority increase as he relies more and more on his wife’s income to help provide for the family. As his self-rejection increases, he now rejects his wife and children in an effort to make them help bear the blame for the frustrations they all are experiencing.
His wife reacts to his rejection. She harbors a growing resentment about the tight budget they must follow because of his unwise financial decisions, and she begins to look for fellowship and encouragement from sources other than her husband, who has greatly disappointed her. The wife’s self-pity increases, and her disappointment in her husband turns into disgust toward him, and she further condemns and rejects him.
Reaction paves the way for separation.
Financial pressures increase the husband’s stress and feelings of self-pity as well, tempting him to be quick-tempered and irritable. He also reacts to his wife’s independent spirit; he expected his wife to have patience while he worked through his problems. However, their problems only become more intense and more unbearable.
His wife completely loses confidence in his leadership as she sees the pressures mounting. She tries to give him counsel, but she does not understand his deep need for a sense of self-worth—in God’s eyes, in his own eyes, and especially in his wife’s eyes.
Convinced that her husband is proud and stubborn, the wife decides that she must look out for her own interests. Both spouses have become convinced that the other partner is responsible for the conflicts and problems in their marriage and family, and both become more and more selfish and demanding.
Self-acceptance leads to freedom and new beginnings.
All too often, this sequence ends in separation and divorce. A couple who is struggling financially should look beyond the numbers and discern if there are other issues that need to be resolved. For example, the husband must realize that success and material possession do not determine his worth.
As the husband learns to accept God’s design in his life, he can walk in freedom from inferiority and self-rejection. Consequently, he will not be driven to improve his worth by living beyond his income, and sharing these insights with his wife will give them a starting point for restoring their relationship and finances.
His humility and meekness will woo his wife’s heart more powerfully, passionately, and permanently than any of the gifts he bestowed on her previously, because she will recognize his willingness to assume his role as the leader of their family. God will pour out His mercy on both of them as they seek Him first—together.
This material was adapted from page 46 of the Men’s Manual, Volume II.