My husband “does the bills.” It was decided that he would during the initial attempt of trying to conjoin our bank accounts prior to marriage.
Excited at such a significant representation of unity, our premarital giddiness waned as the dignified teller kindly yet matter- of- factly shared that my personal account was overdrawn to the tune of $270.00 and would not be able to be closed until it was in the black. Waiting patiently while I pulled out my checkbook registry-it didn’t seem to matter to her at all that according to my figures I had well over one hundred dollars to contribute to my new joint account.
Graciously, my husband-to- be discreetly dealt with the issue. He paid the debt I owed and never spoke of it again. It was clear however, with my apparent weakness in the area of checkbook balancing, that he should be in charge of the family finances.
Since then, I have gotten into the practice of not even really looking at the bills. When they come in the mail I simply place them on the computer desk to be dealt with by my husband as he sees fit. After fifteen years of marriage it has become the routine.
Past the years when finances were so tight that bill paying time caused nausea, tension and called for mutual encouragement of one another that God would see us through; bill paying itself has now also has become routine. At least I thought so until one day, from his bill paying spot, my sweet husband sweetly called my name. When I walked into the room, in his hand he held up a single bill, upon which I recognized the logo of our cell service provider. After fifteen years, even without a word, I recognized those defining features of frustration etched across his face. I sat down on the bed prepared to be his source for venting about the cell phone company, the mistake that they had made and how he was going to have to deal with fixing it.
After a moment of silence and a deliberate deep breath he said in a steady, calm voice “our cell phone bill shows that your telephone number went over our limit by 250 minutes.” While I sat there, frozen in that deer in the headlights stance, immediately the awareness of talking on the phone a tad more than usual in the past month started to resonate within me.
Realizing the dire financial consequences of such carelessness, I cautiously met with his eyes prepared to offer an apology and acknowledgement of my complete irresponsibility. He had every right to be angry. Seeing that I was about to speak, he held up his hand to stop me. I kind of braced myself to prepare for whatever he had to offer. With kind eyes and a soft but serious tone he said “let’s try to be more careful about that…okay?” What else could I say but ….”okay.” He then turned back to the computer screen indicating our conversation regarding the matter was finished and I was “off the hook”.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating my husband’s response of goodness and graciousness. He could have reacted so much differently. I knew the magnitude of the mistake made. Had he responded any other way I might have become defensive or made excuses. And yet, his kindness of response to me did not cause me to dismiss the seriousness of my mistake. The goodness and grace of his response served only to magnify my desire to never make that mistake again.
God’s grace has that same affect on me.
Father, help me to respond to others as you have responded to me.