As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we teach the value and blessing of paying tithing. We often quote the scripture in Malachi 3:10 about the blessings of heaven being poured out so there is not room enough to receive them. Who would want to pass up on that promise?
We share faith-promoting stories of when paying tithing somehow made money last for the month or an ancestor who didn’t lose their farm because they paid tithing. We see the payment of tithing as a safety net for our lives.
Tithing is an integral part of membership in the church. In fact, “Are you full tithe payer?” is one of the relatively few (15) questions asked when you want to get a recommend to attend the temple.
So what happens when your spouse doesn’t want to pay tithing anymore? What does that do to you? How do you handle it emotionally and spiritually?
When your spouse chooses not to tithe, you may see it as “another thing” he’s deciding not to do regarding the church. You may worry about how it will affect you. You may be fearful of the consequences and angry at him for making a choice that you think affects you. While these thoughts and feelings may seem legitimate, what do they cause you to do?
Do you try to coerce him into paying tithing? Do you make side remarks about how if he’d paid tithing this wouldn’t have happened? Do you guilt-trip him by citing the blessing he and possibly the family are missing out on because he won’t pay tithing? Are any of these actions productive?
He’s still not paying tithing; now he’s annoyed with you; you still feel angry and fearful. It’s a lose/lose situation.
To look at this situation another way, I first want you to understand that, although I am not a spokesperson for the church, based on my experience and understanding, you are a full tithe payer if you pay tithing on the money you earn. Heavenly Father knows your heart and your desire to tithe. You cannot force your spouse to tithe the income he makes, but if you earn a separate income, you can tithe yours. If you don’t, then you are a full tithe payer because 10% of zero is zero.
So, in my opinion, you can let go of the fear of not receiving the blessings of paying tithing because you are not responsible for his choices.
With that concern gone, how are you going to deal with your husband’s choice emotionally? Being fearful and angry doesn’t seem to work.
What else could you think about your husband’s choice to not pay tithing?
He’s doing what he thinks is right
I can understand how if I believed as he did, this decision makes sense
I appreciate his concern about paying tithing. It often doesn’t make logical sense even though I have a testimony of it.
If you chose a thought like that, you could feel compassion, understanding, maybe even love.
From compassion, you will make very different choices than you would from anger. Compassion will lead to kind words, open discussions, expressing love, and understanding.
As we enter this tithing settlement season, I hope you can approach it with compassion. You get to make your choices, and your husband gets to make his. If you have practical concerns like having the children there (if he still comes) and having them discover that he’s not a full tithe payer, maybe you can talk to your bishop privately first and see how best to handle the situation. Perhaps it’s time to talk to your kids about where dad is in life and personal responsibility for choices.
Although the situation isn’t what you hope for, it doesn’t need to turn into a crisis. You can approach it with understanding and compassion and help your children to learn through the experience as well.
I wish you the best and that the Lord will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The blessings are coming; now you go increase your capacity to receive.