We’re broke – A male perspective

Some friends of ours are really struggling financially. We are. A lot of people are.

Here’s a man’s take on this situation.

“I am the provider for this home. We are broke. Therefore I am not doing a good job. Therefore I suck. Therefore I am a loser so kill me baby. Therefore…

angryWhen a man is not producing, he often feels angry. Many times that anger is turned inward and soon after outward. Often the first to feel and bear the full weight of his anger are his family.

In conversation with our friends, the wife relayed to us that she told her husband, “I can’t stand being broke AND being treated like crap. I can live broke if at least you love me and treat me well.”

Men, I am a man who has experienced the weight of brokenness. I have also handled this financial deprivation in an unhealthy way. I have felt inadequate as a provider and allowed those feelings to brew into anger. That anger leaked into my home. My wife was often the recipient of my anger. Her load was intense. No money + an angry husband = tough times for any lady.

Things are changing now though. A few things that have helped me handle the financial tough times with a bit more grace:

  • I pray with Sherri almost every night. It’s pretty hard to assume the role of spiritual leader at night when you’ve acted like a jerk all day. During our prayer times, I often confess and ask for perspective and strength to deal with the pressure of the day. It has helped.
  • I try to laugh every day. Sometimes it is a bit forced, but even forced laughter is better than no laughter. AND when you start laughing it gets easier. Force it if you have to, but laugh every day!
  • I have made a decision to not spend a lot of time worrying about what I can’t change. It won’t help and it will hurt if I do worry so I’ve decided not to worry.
  • I stay on top of our finances like a fly stays on a rotten piece of chicken. I review our finances a couple times per week and know what is coming and going.
  • I have had to make decisions about what bills MUST be payed and what bills can wait. I disdain not paying every bill on time, but when times are tough you must make choices. Make choices and live with the consequences.
  • For every cut we’ve made in our budget, we’ve sought to replace it with something meaningful, fun, and free.

Men, know this, you ARE the provider for your family, but you provide MORE than money. You also provide love, laughter and leadership. Don’t let your family suffer the pain of financial loss AND the loss of husband/daddy.

You may not be able to change your financial situation right now but you CAN change your attitude and the atmosphere in your home!

Let’s talk:

Ladies, I’d love to hear your feedback on this. Tell us men how you feel and what you need from us when things are tough financially.

Men, let’s hear how you’ve succesfully navigated financial duress.

9 thoughts on “We’re broke – A male perspective

  1. Great post Paul. We’ve been in this broke situation for awhile even with my husband being employed. We got stuck with a huge financial loss 18 mos. ago and Doug going back to school and aren’t recovering.

    I don’t think we ladies really grasp the pressure you men feel to provide for the family. Granted it doesn’t dismiss treating your family poorly. However, we can also make an effort to not complain about money, worry, talk it down to the kids either. I know that dragged my husband down even farther when I would complain–even though I wasn’t complaining about him but just being frustrated with the situation. Since some of the tightening comes from a decision we made for Doug to pursue a different career, he feels the pressure all the more–even though we know it was the right thing to do.

    We also have to make decisions on which bills to pay and when. Even had to make a payment plan for paying medical costs from Doug’s surgery last year. I think if Doug could fully understand that God is in charge of supplying for our family and will, it might ease the tension a little. Hard to do though when its staring you in the face everyday.

    We’re there with you. Keep pressing on, brother and family!

  2. Dude, I’ve thought the same thing several times in my life! If we’re broke, then as the provider, I suck! I finally got the the point to where I realized I was taking too much credit as the provider! I realized that God IS and WILL ALWAYS be the provider of our home! He’s gifted, called and enabled me to get off my butt and work, but ultimately He is the one who provides – I’m the one who needs to be content with what he provided!

  3. Paul, you know me- I’m a woman 🙂

    My husband and I are in this exact situation right now (I sent him your blog link- very good!)

    We need to incorporate prayer more into our stressed our lives, prayer together

    We’re both on commission, the economy sucks…we have God and each other but that’s often hard to remember in hard times.

    Keep up the great work. You are in a powerful, life changing ministry. Thanks for reminding us of what’s important.

  4. Follow up to my recent reply.

    What wives need in this economy:

    We need to know that God is first in your lives, that you will turn to Him when you are weak, tired and angry (we can’t change what’s going on in your head, however much we would love to!)

    We need AFFECTION- when things are hard, guys tend to withdraw, internalizing everything as their fault, but not reaching out to their loving wives who try to speak Truth to their hearts

    We need you to TALK- I’m sure Sherri would agree. Don’t stuff your emotions., outside of us who are you men going to talk to, other than your spouse about embarassing, troubling, intimate issues? That’s one of the reasons God gave you to us, so you don’t have to walk the craziness of life alone- you have US, your wives!!!!

  5. What’s Broke? Paying MY bills? Doing what I want when I want? The World says broke is when money is tight. I am over this. I am over the conforming of worrying about this. This has taken a lot of practice and wisdom from above. God has taught me to live in a second, then a minute then an hour then in a day then in a week and so on. I have learned that I am not in control and really all I can be responsible for is HOW I REACT to the circumstances of my life. No matter what happens, I can enjoy a breeze, marvel in the beauty of God’s creation – the sky, a tree, mountains, a bird etc. I can love my wife , my kids, a friend. I can always spend time with God, I can serve others. There are so many ways I can respond to the weight of being broke, but I am learning to respond like the Apostle Paul – I am learning to be content and in that God is showing me that unlike in this world, in His kingdom I wealthy. I have health, I have a great family, I have more friends than I can possible invest in. I am a member of a great church, I live is a wonderful country, And most important, I am literally walking in my eternity that not to long from now will no longer require exchanging goods and services with money….That the God of the universe has more thoughts of me than the grains of sand. Just a thought.

  6. Hi Paul!

    I really enjoyed this post… your transparency in sharing the male perspective.

    I think even when families aren’t struggling financially, many men work hard, hard, hard, striving to “move up” and “earn more”. Dave and I have talked about this quite a bit. I’d rather have more of him than more money! And I know a lot of wives who feel this way! Husbands need to know it!

    Thanks for sharing! Tell Sherri I said hi!
    Stephanie

  7. Paul—I hear your anger…We have struggled for almost 7 months now ..being in the business I am in when jobs slow down less people need childcare. My daycare has been down on numbers for almost 7 months and our taxes keep going up thanks to our great governor…We go day by day each month when it is time to pay the bills I pray before I pay –somehow I don’t know how But they all get paid eventually…There have been times when we only had small amounts of money for groceries but we are getting by..I know in my heart if we keep the faith and keep on tithing we will be blessed and things will break loose again for us. Praise God he is still in control..Love you guys and miss you ..We are praying for you all…

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