Your Provider: Puffed up or Pooped Out?

Lysa TerKeurst

I've met millionaires whose wives are dissatisfied with the way their husbands provide. I've also met people who live below poverty level, and yet their spouses seem content. What makes the difference, and how can a marriage escape the money problems that plague so many relationships? The secret lies in perspective.

In Philippians 4:12 Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Then in verse 13 he gives us the secret: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

The NIV Life Application Study Bible commentary says:

Are you content in any circumstances you face? Paul knew how to be content whether he had plenty or whether he was in need. The secret was drawing on Christ's power or strength. Do you have great needs, or are you discontented because you don't have what you want? Learn to rely on God's promises and Christ's power to help you be content. If you always want more ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance. He will supply all your needs, but in a way that he knows is best for you.... Paul was content because he could see life from God's point of view. He focused on what lie should do, not what he felt I he should have.

Keeping our perspective like Paul's will help us not to pressure our husbands or question their provision. Now that we know how not to "poop out" our provider, how do we help puff him up and encourage him in this role?

I was interviewing a couple of men on Wednesday night before our church service began and asked what encourages them in their role as provider. One was quick to respond, "When my wife greets me at the door after a long day at the office dressed in a way that lets me know she's thinking about the same thing I am." The other man said, "What encourages me in my role as provider is when she tells me that she thinks I'm smart. In times past she's said she loves the way I handle things and that she thinks I have a good business sense. I don't feel very smart, but knowing that she thinks I am lifts my spirits."

His words challenged me. When was the last time I told my provider I think he's smart? Or that he's a great provider? I think most husbands would benefit from hearing these words. Maybe too many husbands instead have heard words that deflated and discouraged them: "Why don't we ever have enough money?" or "If only you were a better money manager," or "It sure would be nice to live like the Johnsons; they never have to worry about money," or "If only you'd finished your degree, then we'd have more money and we wouldn't be in this mess."

Every weekday my provider heads off to a world full of people waiting to beat him up. Customers aren't satisfied. Managers question performance. Bosses beat on the door wanting to know why the bottom line isn't improving. Computers crash. Workers quit.

Some of you ladies may say, "I work in an office with the same kinds of stresses you just described. What about me?" Or others of you may say, "I'd trade places with him any day of the week. I face screaming toddlers, dirty diapers, piles of laundry, and soap scum."

I know you might feel this way because I've had those same feelings. But we'll never get anywhere having our pity parties. Our marriage will never improve if we think only of ourselves. We will, however, make great strides if we seek to lovingly give to our mate.

So Here Is My Puff up Your Provider List

* Send a thank you card to your husband's work address telling him how much you appreciate all he does.
* Ask him if there is anything you could do for him today that would take a little stress off of him.
* Tell him he's smart.
* Call him in the middle of the day and tell him that you are thinking of him and can't wait until he gets home.
* See how much money you can save this month by cutting back on groceries, clipping coupons, making fewer trips to places where you find you spend too much money, and eating out less.
* Make it a point this month to determine not to complain about money or the lack thereof — not even once.
* Try greeting him at the door dressed in a way that tells him you've been thinking the same thing he has all day.
* What are some other practical ways to puff up your provider?

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