Julian & Barbara Phillips: Opposites Attract, Money Divides
By Renelle Roberts
The 700 Club
She was a jazz singer. He was a TV news anchor who saw her perform at a nightclub.
Julian Phillips remembers his first glimpse of her, “She’s just beautiful! And she just has this presence about her.”
His wife, Barbara recalls, “Julian was this happy-go-lucky guy. I was a little more grounded, maybe? Our relationship was good. We had a good time with one another. We just spent a lot of time hanging out and enjoying life.”
Julian and Barbara married 3 years after they met. That’s when Barbara found out what they didn’t have in common. She says, “We had very different views on money and that’s something we didn’t talk about early on. His credit wasn’t good, so and mine was stellar, so I put him on my credit card. And I saw that he wasn’t good at handling that.”
Julian says, “My passion always was being a reporter/producer/news person, and the money in that field followed it. I was reckless with my money. I didn’t save money. I was hoping at some point in my career, after making a lot of money and doing things, I could get that big mansion.”
Julian maxed out their credit card trying to achieve a lifestyle they couldn’t afford. In the process, he completely ruined Barbara’s credit! “Then I was angry.” Barbara says, “I didn’t feel he took it seriously enough. It was like, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it, you know, we’re going to work it out.’ But I’m like, ‘No, I am worried about it, because this—now my record —is stained as a result of your irresponsibility.’”
Julian recalls, “Now I’m scared because I’ve got this woman. I’ve got this prize. I have to be somebody now that I’ve never been before.”
Julian realized there were deeper roots to the problems he had with money. He says, “She’s going to find out the real insecure Julian and then all of a sudden, things will start tumbling down. I think that there were seeds of insecurity all along for me.”
Barbara chose to suffer in silence but she’d had enough. She says, “I think I should have taken more control and said more of what I felt. I held a lot in. And I think that’s where the resentment came from.”
Julian says, “So I really didn’t know to the extent of how these things were affecting her…she was really thinking about leaving.
Barbara was serious, “You got to grow up and mature and handle things as a mature adult and I didn’t see that in him.”
The couple went for counseling but it didn’t help, and Barbara moved out. She tearfully remembers, “This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. We were supposed to get married and stay together.”
Julian recalls, “I literally didn’t know what to do. I marched myself up 42nd street to Citibank. I sat down and I started to cry. And the manager said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘My wife has left me. And I don’t know how to balance a checkbook. Could you help me?’ It was a very humbling experience.
Julian slowly learned to manage his finances with help from his banker. He tried to drown himself in his work…but always thought about Barbara. “I didn’t know where to turn,” Julian says, “wanting this to work, but couldn’t figure out like what might be wrong. I started seeking answers.”
Julian’s quest led him to church. He grew up going to church and hearing about God, but he says that God was relegated to second place as he sought career success and marriage. Julian was regularly mentored by his pastor and began to pray for his marriage to be saved. He and Barbara maintained a cordial friendship, and he invited her to his new church.
She remembers that day, “It touched me in a very personal way, but I knew that it was about giving your life to Christ. And changing how you live, and developing a personal relationship with Him. From that point on, my life has been different.”
It was powerful for Julian too, “I’ve got this Holy Spirit in me now to show me that there was something to all this being saved. That it was just something more than just pastor, that there was something that I had to see, that I had to experience. That was becoming very real to me.”
The couple began going to church together and eventually renewed their wedding vows. Julian says, “I knew that none of this was by my own effort. I realized that. I realize this is all God.”
Everything seemed perfect, until once again, financial trouble hit. Julian, now a network news anchor…was suddenly fired. The Phillips’ were behind on bills: their car was repossessed, and there was a pending foreclosure on their home. But this time, rather than sinking into despair; the couple turned to God and each other.
“I was completely confident that somehow we’re going to make this work,” Barbara says.
“The fight though still becomes a fight of faith,” explains Julian, “because we’re waiting to see how God is going to manifest.
A few months later, he got a job offer as a communications director for a congressman. Julian says, “I have found that when you’re faced with what seems to be the impossible, He can turn it around.”
Barbara says, “I would say that God has restored my marriage. He has shown me a side of my husband that has helped us to grow together, and has drawn us closer together. I mean, we are best friends. We support one another. So He has allowed us to grow together, and to learn from each other and use that knowledge to make our marriage better.”
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