Morning friends,

Happy Thanksgiving, including our Canadian and international friends. I am thankful for all of you. This is such a warm and generous community and I am so blessed to have you here. I hope to meet all you someday.

Put it on your calendar now. We are having our second CONQUER Conference in October 2018. Be Brave: Grow Strong.  The dates are October 12, 13 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Details to follow in the new year.   

I thought we’d switch topics this week.  I have a few more questions that are begging to be answered on narcissism but I thought we’d put our collective wisdom together for this sister on another topic.

Today’s Question: I need your help. My dad is currently unemployed and only mom works and this has caused a lot of financial strain, as she is over-committed financially.

I am married and recently just got laid off so my husband is the only one working for now. We both come from God-fearing homes and we are both Christians. My parents have indicated that their finances are not going so well but mainly now that my younger sister has to further her studies at a college.  

They didn't ask us to pay her fees or specified where we should help but I figured we can assist with anything we can afford to. I have saved up some money and my husband has a very good job that pays him well. But over the years we've been married I’ve learned that he loves his money so much and doesn't want to inherit burdens from my family as he puts it.

This is a man who loves God and says he loves me but is okay with letting people I love/closer to my heart struggle. We previously had situations where my family needed money so much and he just seems to not be interested.   

When I was still working I used to help where I could. I didn't make a habit of it but when I feel that it’s important they have assistance, then I would help.

I struggle to get past the word that says, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves His Church.” Is this how love suppose to be? I am beginning to question his love for me and I don't know what to do.

Answer: You question your husband’s love for you because he seems indifferent to the financial struggles of the people you love. I can understand that. Let me ask you a few more questions about your situation.

If your parents needed money for food or shelter or medical care for themselves would he still be indifferent and not care about their needs? If so you have every right to challenge his love for you and even his relationship with God.

The Bible says that a man who does not care for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Click To Tweet

And that we are to love with actions, not just with our words (1 John 3:18).

However, I wonder if there is another issue going on that your husband is struggling with. And that is your father. How long has he been unemployed? What has he done to seek employment and to work part-time jobs even doing menial work if necessary to provide for his own family? I’m wondering if your husband feels that your dad needs to step it up and do more to provide for his daughter (your sister’s) college and his family debts instead of relying on your mom and your family to help.  

Or perhaps your husband has observed over the years your parents being irresponsible with their spending habits. He’s watched them live beyond their means, accumulating debt and not saving for their daughter’s college needs. You mentioned that you’ve helped them out before. How chronic has that been?

I remember talking with a girlfriend recently who was battling resentment towards her own parents because of their poor money management. She feared to compromise her own family retirement by helping them because they did not wisely prepare for their own. She was torn between wanting to be loving and resenting that they depended on her instead of taking responsibility for themselves. I wonder if your husband fears the same thing and that’s what he means by not wanting to inherit their problems.

You don’t give me enough details to comment, but sometimes through our compassionate generosity, we actually enable people to stay irresponsible and/or lazy and not own or take responsibility for their own financial needs/problems.

So what is your next step? Here are a few options. First, I think you need to have a heart to heart talk with your husband about why he doesn’t want to help your parents. Listen to what he says. Perhaps his concerns have some merit and he isn’t being a cold-hearted, uncompassionate man but he doesn’t want to enable more irresponsibility on the part of your dad by regularly bailing them out. However, his lack of concern for your sister troubles me.

One suggestion you might make is that you both forgo Christmas presents to each other this year and give the money you would ordinarily spend to help your sister with her college expenses. His response will give you a better indicator where his heart is.

If your parents are in this place through no fault of their own and they are also working hard themselves to resolve the situation, I think it’s time for you to be more assertive in communicating how important it is to you and to God that you help your parents. You said you are financially able to do so without a lot of personal sacrifices. If he continues to resist or refuse, then you may need to find employment yourself so that you can help them.

But even if they are in this place because of their own mistakes, you will probably still want to help them because you love them, especially if they start to need financial help with the basics of food, shelter and medical care. But you may also have to enlist the help of a social worker to get the state aid, low-income housing and other things to lessen the financial burden on you. Don’t feel that you need to keep them in the standard of living that they are used to. They too may have to make sacrifices, not just you.

Second, I think you need to have a tough talk with your parents, especially if the root cause of this problem is their own poor money management and chronic underemployment. If they don’t change their own habits and patterns and they depend on you to fill in their financial gaps, you will inherit a huge problem. That will only continue to drain your own financial stability as well as put a strain on your marriage. You need to stop that from happening as best as you are able.

I know this is going to be a question that others who have lived through this will want to help you with as well.

Friend, what would you do if you were in her position? Those who have been faced with this very thing, what gave you clarity on what your responsibility should be to your parents? Towards a younger sibling?

65 Comments

  1. Barbara on November 22, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I’m sorry but I disagree with helping a sibling thru college. I come from a poor family and worked hard my entire life. I never went to college and nobody offered to pay my way thru college. College is not a necessity, nor does it have a time from for when one must complete their degree. My husband joined the Army at age 25 and was in for 11 years. When he got out and couldn’t find a decent job he went to college, worked part time cutting grass and maintaining the local park and in the winter he had his 1st crack at retail at the local BP. I also worked and we had 2 children in school. I came from a family of 8, my husband a family of 10. While his parents actually had saved a nice amount of money and mine chose to give to the 3 younger siblings. While I helped a dying brother my sisters were concerned about the brand of clothes their children wore to school. Not one family member gave us a penny. We learned early in life the difference between necessity and wants and to be responsible for ourselves. Not only were we on a tight budget while my husband was in college but we had to continue afterwards to pay back the debt accumulated while he was in college. Thats right we paid our debt, we didn’t file bankruptcy. We made a lot of sacrifices to pay our way thru life and our children have learned to do the same. My son chose not to go to college and is a very successful hardworking man. My daughter took college classes during high school and lived at home for 2 years and worked thru college for her Bachelor’s degree. Later she went back for her Masters Degree. She is just now starting her family and really hasn’t used those degrees enough to pay for them. Her husband has also made the sacrifice and joined the Air Force to support his family. I am so tired of people thinking that because someone may appear to have more than them they are entitled to some of it. NO they are not, go to work, apply for the appropriate government programs. If you don’t qualify then you aren’t managing your money. My 3 younger sisters are in their 40’s and still don’t know how to manage money and are always looking for someone else to pay their way. They do not do without, nice homes, nice cars and new clothes. Now their children are following their parents lead. Sorry for the rant I am just so tired of those who feel entitled.

    • Lilah on November 22, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I agree. The answer lies in “my patents.” It is the parents issue, not the writers. I guess her parents should have planned their life better. I wonder if the writer has been trained to think she is responsible for other people’s problems.

    • Nancy on November 23, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Hi Barbara,

      I had similar thoughts about college, but didn’t take time to articulate. It comes down to, like you said, what is a need versus a want.

      Part time education is an option, too. So is accumulating credits over time.

      • Melissa on December 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

        I have definitely been thru this with parents and husbands1
        1. Husbands frequently do not feel need to support parents, AND don’t understand ways to help you thru your anxiety even if the answer is still no.

        2. God may indeed be protecting you and your finances thru your husband’s decision.

        3. You may have learned to be co-dependent and God has allowed you to “grow” thru this situation .

        4. I agree with others that College is NOT something that parents are obligated to provide, especially if it puts them in too much of a financial strain. They do not need to be “martyrs” and then have you help them. They may need to “grow” and say no, just like you.

        5. Agree that your Dad needs to take any menial job while he is looking for something else. My own Dad would never do this and was always in financial trouble.

  2. Kathy on November 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Interesting post. I’m trying to see the other comments but have to leave my own comment first, so here it is. I’d like to hear more detail to see if he is indifferent toward her family in most other areas, not just financial.

  3. Aleea on November 22, 2017 at 9:53 am

    “Friend, what would you do if you were in her position? Those who have been faced with this very thing, what gave you clarity on what your responsibility should be to your parents? Towards a younger sibling?” Re: My Parents Need Money, My Husband Doesn’t Care. I’m Stuck! “And that we are to love with actions, not just with our words (1 John 3:18).”

    “. . . .the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you.” — Matthew 25:1-13, et.al.

    These situations are always so sad and so often foreseeable and yet we are *all* foolish in so, so many ways. I think the answers Leslie has given are *very* solid, . . . “If your parents are in this place through no fault of their own and they are also working hard themselves to resolve the situation, I think it’s time for you to be more assertive in communicating how important it is to you and to God that you help your parents. You said you are financially able to do so without a lot of personal sacrifices. If he continues to resist or refuse, then you may need to find employment yourself so that you can help them. . . .”, etc.

    —Thankfully I have not had that situation. . . .and Jesus’ parable does not criticize either group for totally sleeping, since both groups do that. . . .Life is *really* hard and we have to help others because and it is so, so good for us to do so but with boundaries. . . . and boundaries are not selfishness or unkindness but, to me, it always feels that way I guess because of all the shame growing up. One thing I learn from the earliest of Christians is that the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to glorify God, to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you and I have lived and lived well. No one has ever become poor by thoughtful giving. I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit. We only have what we give away. . . .Again, it seems the reverse logic that God always seems to use: The way right is left; the way up is down; the way to save your life is to lose it completely. . . .Evil does its worst, but God takes it as the actual raw material by which to bless people, turning even the greatest evil into the greatest good. . . .That is really hard stuff to process. —It’s almost unbelievable, —but that’s Christ for you❣❦ ❧ ♡ ۵😊

  4. Nancy on November 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Good morning,

    This is a good question.

    The statement that jumps out at me is this one, ” This is a man….who is okay with letting people I love / closer to my heart, struggle”.

    I love the questions that Leslie asks to help you to understand where your husband’s resistance is coming from. If in fact, you have enabled your parents irresponsibility in the past, then your husband’s attitude is healthy.

    Allowing those we love to struggle is in fact just that – loving. Rescuing behaviour is not. I’m not assuming that that’s what you’ve done in the past, but if you have, then his response is an invitation for you to enter into a healthier relationship with your parents.

    We are commanded to honour our parents. I have come to believe that that means ensuring they have physical care, and dignity- that their medical / physical needs are provided for. Providing for needs beyond that introduces a confusing role-reversal into the relationship.

    • Aly on November 22, 2017 at 10:56 am

      I agree Nancy such good question. I was curious to see what others would comment on I felt like there are so many unanswered specifics but I wonder if the writer is trying to address an underlying issue in correlating to this ‘need’ of her parents?

      You wrote;
      “My dad is currently unemployed and only mom works and this has caused a lot of financial strain, as she is over-committed financially.”

      What does over-committed financially mean? Does it mean she and your dad have not been wise stewards or something else?

      You wrote:
      “I am married and recently just got laid off so my husband is the only one working for now. We both come from God-fearing homes and we are both Christians.”

      Having this background is a blessing but doesn’t give a person maturity in financials or even issues with root causes in money or the power of money issues.

      You wrote:
      “They didn’t ask us to pay her fees or specified where we should help but I figured we can assist with anything we can afford to. I have saved up some money and my husband has a very good job that pays him well. But over the years we’ve been married I’ve learned that he loves his money so much and doesn’t want to inherit burdens from my family as he puts it.”

      Here is where this sounds like you are addressing a heart issue that maybe you see play out in your husband’s attitude and entitlement of money.. just wondering? Not saying I’m right at all, but I wonder how he postures or is posturing himself toward you now that you are not employed?
      Is your marriage one that has mutual finances flowing or do your have separate money?

      You wrote;
      “This is a man who loves God and says he loves me but is okay with letting people I love/closer to my heart struggle.”

      If you were working is he indifferent to what money goes to help them? Or is he not wanting to prolong enabled behavior that might be an underlying issue that he sees but you may not?

      You wrote;
      “We previously had situations where my family needed money so much and he just seems to not be interested. ”

      This is confusing because it sounds like they are in need of food, clothing, shelter but then the topic that came about the strain of your sisters college education.
      You also don’t state wether your sister is also working and trying to assist with these adult responsibilities~ so it’s hard to say one way or the other how we can love well the people we love most with discernment.

      I wonder if your most hurt by your husband’s lack of care about ‘what you care about’, which I can relate to.
      Does he show a different standard to his side of the family? This ‘might’ highlight more marital issues overall and loyalty than the symptoms of what seems to be the main topic…giving money to your family in need.

      • Renee on November 24, 2017 at 11:11 pm

        Hi Aly, {blog’s amateur psychologist} I pick this up as well. You may actually be a psychologist in training. Have you considered the field?

        I appreciate you so much. I also appreciate others who have been there for me.

        This is a powerful thought you put out. “Is your marriage one that has mutual finances flowing or do you have separate money?”

        This is the one that almost caused my chest to explode. When Content stated on another post [Do Christians Have Rights] she was having a moment. I guess we both were having them at the same time.

        We have finally come together on how to handle family that comes a knocking for money. However, he still believes I’m spending money on food for my parents. He believes me if we are together and he see me use their card. But if we are not together, than the belief is different.

        However, when it comes to how we should save, bank accounts – joint or separate, taxes, debt, who takes care of what bills, spending, etc., it just will not settle. Our shopping trips can be quite funny -not.

        For example; not to take over the post.

        Hubby always, always tries to discount my contributions. He does mortgage, electricity, help with groceries, then personal bills. I do water, car insurance (both vehicles & all drivers), tv, home phone, internet, cell phones (although all prepaid), gas bill, groceries, then personal bills.

        Practically putting out the same amount.

        I started getting so angry about this that I started disconnecting stuff. Satellite TV gone – we now do hulu and antenna tv. Home phone gone. I quit paying his cell phone bill and changed my phone number (how do you do that when you still live together). I tried to kick him off the car insurance bill but they would not let me.

        I feel really horrible about this and feel like I am reacting to something I should be able to ignore (his comments). I don’t feel I’m being Christian.

        This is driving me nuts along with the other stuff I am still not able to get off my chest.

        End rant – now deep breath.

        • Aly on November 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

          Renee,

          There certainly seems like there are a lot of stressors daily in your marriage, from what you describe.
          I think you brought up some good thoughts and complaints regarding finances that you can bring to your counselor. Below I asked a lot of questions, you don’t have to answer but hoping they might be helpful as you process what has been upsetting.

          As a side note; I believe Money can be misused as a power position in a lot of relationships not just in marriage but in family systems, and especially the parent:adult child dynamic.

          You wrote that you are angry about ‘this’~I’m assuming the splitting of financial responsibilities but I didn’t totally follow you, maybe you can confirm?

          “I started getting so angry about this that I started disconnecting stuff.”

          Angry about the things that you pay and contribute to the household versus the things that your husband pays for? Or Is the anger about your husband not seeing it as a contribution? Or even an equal value contribution compared to him?
          Is your husband weighing and measuring such things?

          For me, if this is some of his position or attitude (not saying it is) that would cause big problems regarding the marriage and overall trust and investment. Because that dynamic sounds like a ‘roommate scenario’ not a marital one of two partners adjoining together ~ paying the household expenses with household joint income.
          Maybe I have missed something ‘entirely’ and you both are separated (thus financially separated and working through those details)?

          You wrote;
          “I feel really horrible about this and feel like I am reacting to something I should be able to ignore (his comments). I don’t feel I’m being Christian.”

          What is your husband wanting you to ingore? Ignore his comments about the finances or his comments about other trust issues? To me, this is critical to evaluate.

          Some of the action you describe taking against the finances does seem like a reaction verses a response or something that needs a solution or alternative option? What do you think?

          Were your choices to get ‘his attention’ on what you do have control in doing? Or were they about something else?

          I’m also curious what you think mutual money and mutual household responsibilities would look like?

          My last question Renee, do you feel like you are treated as ‘a role’ or an object in the marriage, rather than a person or a partner?

          • Renee on November 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm

            I’m just getting a chance to respond Aly. This weekend has been a disaster. I am trying to decide whether or not to post about it, but at the same time want to know how to handle my response.

            In the mean time, this is my response to this post. It is anger about my husband not seeing my financial contribution. I guess you can say he is measuring, weighing, and auditing.

            He wants me to ignore anything that is painful to discuss. Finances, trust issues, anger issues, disrespect, etc.

            Well, after the fourth, fifth, six, seventh time of trying to discuss, I just grew tired of trying to convince him that my contributions should count. It was a well, let’s see once it is not there – disconnect.

            I’ve always wanted our marriage, including finances to be like [Mark 10:8 states. And they two shall be one flesh: so, then they are no more two, but one flesh]. One bucket of money and all responsibilities covered out of that money unless of course someone is loose with their spending and putting us in financial jeopardy, gambling problems, etc.



          • Aly on November 27, 2017 at 6:23 am

            Renee,

            I’m sorry to hear about a disaster weekend. I hope your able to get some healthy feedback from those that you can safely bring your concerns to.
            For me, it’s common (not healthy in any way, but common) when dealing with such an individual(s) who often are going to be consistent about ‘not being consistent’ and episodes flare up!

            Thanks for clarifying from the other post your complaint.
            Your experience of your husband not valuing your contributions is about power and control. This is really painful and I would be angry also if I were in your shoes with this very upside down dynamic.

            You wrote;
            ” It is anger about my husband not seeing my financial contribution. I guess you can say he is measuring, weighing, and auditing.”

            Given all of the other posts where you have given your experiences, your husband would be the last individual in my circle who would be doing any measuring based on his distorted perceptions of his ‘everyday functioning’ coping lens.
            Disconnecting things as you have described could possibly get his attention, but I don’t think it will change what’s not well ‘deep within’ his character.
            A healthy loving husband doesn’t treat a bride whom he claims to love with such harmful attitudes and control.

            You wrote;
            “He wants me to ignore anything that is painful to discuss. Finances, trust issues, anger issues, disrespect, etc.”

            Of course he does, does this work for him?
            If he can get you to ignore, put off or bury the issues, then he doesn’t have to face himself or his destructive behavior. Then the marital dynamic can stay the same and spiral down. To discuss or bring these complaints ‘to light’ reveal that things are ‘not ok’ and things need to be addressed.
            Two people exist in this relationship and if only ‘he can’ ‘exist’ then I think you can see his inability to be a healthy functioning partner.

            You wrote:
            “Well, after the fourth, fifth, six, seventh time of trying to discuss, I just grew tired of trying to convince him that my contributions should count. ”

            I agree and I also can relate to the pain of trying to convince a person that ‘you matter’.
            Trying to discuss matters of these situations with someone who is quite interested in holding onto their ‘unhealthy power position’ is daunting.
            And often I have found myself ill equipped for the task.

            I’m not sure how the finances were originally created between you but I would be curious how he thinks his reasonings align with scripture?
            Often times early in relationships certain precedents are created that might have seemed reasonable and maybe you didn’t feel the need to protest or reveal a problem but then later on in the marriage it grows.

            Just because you didn’t complain or address the issue doesn’t make the issue ‘today’ invalid.
            Maybe you did bring it up and create some conflict with speaking up for what you need and your opinion and needs were dismissed, shot down and disregarded.

            I know for myself my husband had many years of training me how pointless it was to bring my grievances to him. He was tephlon and he liked the protection it gave him. Plus, the more one feels and experiences being invalidated and disregarded the danger is believing and tolerating that level of worth.
            We must remain steadfast to receiving the love and value the Lord gives and affirms. 💕



    • Aleea on November 22, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      I agree with that too Nancy . . . .and Aly, those are very good/ insightful questions. . . .That does seem to be a major part of the issue: The complex nature of what giving them support signals, signifies, etc. . . .

      . . . .In the end, maybe acknowledge the fact that you have limited time, energy and resources. Ask God to give you the strength you need to do your best each day caring for your parents, and rely on His power working through you instead of just on your own efforts. Leave what you can’t do in God’s hands and trust Him to help in every situation. Pray with your husband for God’s help in honoring your parents even when their behavior or words toward you are frustrating. Try not to talk down to your parents or lash out at them in anger. Aim to protect their dignity. Accept help. . . . .But don’t put off enjoying life and building your marriage while you’re caring for them. Nurture your own emotional stability by taking breaks when you need them. But set and enforce boundaries. I feel ashamed even saying that. I’m the worst at boundaries but I know that is right way. Protect yourself from unnecessary pressure by discussing boundaries with your parents, about all the issues: money, the time you can spend and how much emotional angst they can spill on you. . . . .And pray with your husband and encourage your parents to pray about all of their needs, trusting God to ultimately meet them, through others as well as through you. Count your blessings and take stock regularly of how God has answered prayers and otherwise blessed your family, and thank Him for His ongoing work in your life. I know for a fact, in my own life, that cultivating gratitude will help you maintain a positive attitude toward everyone involved. Self-care is not selfish, we can’t serve from an empty shell✺

  5. Kathy on November 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I too came from a loving family and my husband has all but erased them, as if the loved ones I knew before him must be eradicated.

    • Connie on November 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

      I see that, too. The resentment toward ‘having to’ go visit them ‘all the time’. As in two or three times a year? These are my children, and my siblings. His family has disowned him (over inheritance) so it’s all we have.

      • Kathy on November 22, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        I feel for you Connie… it’s not right you should have to defend your good fortune — that you have strong bonds with your children and siblings. I always found it so much more enjoyable to visit mine without him.

  6. Renee on November 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

    No comment at this time. Just trying to receive the comments along with the post.

  7. Tamara on November 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Excellent response. We are in this position. My husband as a team together have helped my sister in getting help through other means catholic charities to keep their home after she had lost several jobs and almost evicted after alcohol abuse . Other families have given them money over and over again . She just died 2 months ago of cirrhosis . I refused to sign my name to be my mothers POA and sign my name to her checking account because of poor money management for 4 decades after my parents divorce. Many years of debt collectors calling the house and lived with my grandmother for 9 years. When she died my mom had 75k in debt and used the sale of the house my grandparents paid cash for to pay it off and buy a new car .

    • Autumn on November 22, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Good boundaries on your part, Tamara. Great job preventing enabling.

    • Renee on November 24, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      I also did not put my name on their checking account. I helped them open and pay their bills from the account. They get to view what I’m doing. I also don’t have POA because I don’t want that headache.

  8. Barbara on November 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I wonder if two separate issues are getting mixed together. 1. Maybe they should give some money to the parents and sister, maybe not. 2. Maybe her husband is unloving, maybe not. Dave Ramsey has some good guidelines for helping family members financially. For example, asking if they are on a budget, asking if the money is for needs or wants, etc. Asking those types of questions has helped guide me when I feel pressured by my own feelings to give money or other kinds of help to family. If the husband doesn’t want to help financially, then I think it’s reasonable to ask him to help in other ways such as praying for them, giving encouraging words and emotional support, or pitching in on work projects around their house. If he shows a bad attitude about even those small gifts then I think it’s fair to question if his heart is in the right place, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to use just this one situation to make a strong conclusion about his overall character.

    • Barbara on November 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      You made very good points. I don’t think it should be a given that someone who works hard for their money should be told how to spend it on others outside his own home.

  9. Starlight on November 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Willingness to show he cares about what she cares about (including care for her family) in a marriage goes a long way in showing his spouse she is loved. I hope he is willing to help out or allow her to help out her family in meaningful ways that they can afford when necessary.

    • Autumn on November 22, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      I just don’t see this at all. I think the writer has boundaries issues and has been been disillusioned into believing that her parents issues have something to do with her. I feel sorry for her husband. It must be so difficult to live with this woman. I bet he feels unappreciated. Leave and cleave’. Let God take her parents on their own journey of faith.

      • Aly on November 23, 2017 at 7:28 am

        Autumn,

        I have read many of your posts and you have usually pretty good thoughts and well articulated points.

        I’m wondering how the writer is feeling with this that you posted?
        “I feel sorry for her husband. It must be so difficult to live with this woman. I bet he feels unappreciated”

        Does that seem a bit harsh and assuming to make such conclusions? I think there was plenty of pertinent information ‘not given’ in the original post from the writer, which I myself felt confused about what really is the overall issue.

        Maybe there are boundary issues like you mentioned ‘or over-responsibility’ issues underlying (boy can I relate to that role in my FOO)
        ….maybe the writer struggles watching her family who she loves ‘struggle’ while ‘she and her husband’ are getting along fine financially. But maybe they have also made different choices along the way to be in the position they are.

        All of our financial standings are not ‘ours as Christians’ but the Lords, and He grants our financial position as ours to manage. He gives discerment in this.

        It’s hard to understand what the writers motivations are without more detail and understanding.
        As many of us know here, as in the case for wanting to do the right thing in a difficult situation…. there are many times when we think our help is helping when in fact it’s hurting or enabling.
        And when we give ‘money’ or some ‘other thing’ sometimes we are not really doing that for the other person but for our own uncomfortable feelings and we want to feel better and relief from the bad feelings.

        Like I said, there are many possibilities here because the writer didn’t leave many details so hard to say.

        • Autumn on November 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

          I was trying to put myself in his shoes. How do you think he feels about her requests?

          • Autumn on November 23, 2017 at 10:57 am

            Aly, just an aside, I didn’t appreciate being told I usually have pretty good posts. Is there a grading system I was unaware of? I would post anything unless I thought it could create growth in all of us. Who else’s posts do you think are ‘pretty good” or worse yet flawed. Imagine if we all posted what we thought of the quality of other people’s posts.



          • Aly on November 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

            Autumn,

            What I meant by that was to say that I have experienced yours posts to be helpful, insightful, encouraging. No there’s no grading system.

            I have not experienced your other posts to be harsh or drawing such conclusions given the amount of missing information that I brought up.



      • Renee on November 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

        Ouch Autumn. Just ouch. What happened? [I feel sorry for her husband. It must be so difficult to live with this woman. I bet he feels unappreciated.]

        • Autumn on November 23, 2017 at 10:53 am

          I would say, try to think like a guy. Do you think he feels appreciated? Do you think she nags about this regularly? I am surprised others don’t see this view, but we are all different. I stand by my opinion. Thanks for your view.

          • Renee on November 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

            Autumn, I can’t speak of his feelings or make assumptions about her character. However, I do feel [as you do] that this is a repeated/complicated conflict in their marriage.

            The sad reality is that if they can’t come together on this financial issue, one way or another, it will cause a crack in their foundation. It may already be there.

            I feel certain that at one time or another we have all felt unappreciated.



  10. Autumn on November 23, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Aly, your reply seems like a carefully packaged dig in the same direction. At times I feel your posts reflect an attempt to be the blog’s amateur psychologist. No need to correct my posts. I know what I think and answer the questions accordingly.

    I wish you no ill will, we probably just have very different personalities.

    • Aly on November 23, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Autumn,
      There was no correction to your post.
      I was giving my feedback from what seemed not consistent to your other posts previously.

      Asking questions and wondering without making conclusions or assumptions isn’t amateur psychology is just basic consideration for another’s journey and trying to better understand someone and their situation.
      I’m sorry you don’t see that as a good thing but choose to character assassinate me, which really crosses the line in my opinion.

      Your comments to the writer did not come across in a way showing what might be going on? ‘with room for error ‘
      for the husband, but how you stated what ‘He feels’ and how this wife ‘is in’ her marriage, by saying “it must be so difficult to live with this woman.”
      That is harsh to make that level of an assumption.
      Glad we can differ here.
      Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

      • Nancy on November 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm

        Hi Aly.

        I really appreciate the care and concern you bring to this group. Your questions and comments reflect a level of care that has – many times – met me in some pretty dark places ❤️

        • Content on November 23, 2017 at 11:10 pm

          I agree, Aly — thank you for the advice and grace you give here. There is a good balance of strength and grace shown in your comments and this board is blessed to have you, Nancy, Ruth and others.

          Speaking for myself, there is a phase that I believe some of us go through where the anger that we have been suppressing for years comes to the surface; we need those who have gone through that and come out on the other side healthier and more Christ-like to offer encouragement, truth, reality checks and temper some of our thought processes.

          (Disclaimer for those still in the anger phase: Righteous anger is healthy and can be a motivator for us to take steps we need to take).

          • Content on November 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

            Meant to say “I agree, Nancy…Thank you, Aly, for the advice….”



          • Aly on November 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

            Content,

            Thank you for your reply, I also feel you bring such wisdom, encouragement and healthy support to me and so many here. We have all been through so much and are going through many things.
            Many of us don’t have similar outcomes or relationships with others that are healthy, balanced and restored. It’s painful and yes I agree with what you mentioned about the anger phase;
            You wrote;
            ” there is a phase that I believe some of us go through where the anger that we have been suppressing for years comes to the surface; we need those who have gone through that and come out on the other side healthier and more Christ-like to offer encouragement, truth, reality checks and temper some of our thought processes”

            My experience of marrying a man I was crazy about~ yes crazy & not very wise .., was, he was walking around with a big shame /anger button over him.
            (Praise God we can laugh about this button now, and sometimes it tries to sneak its way back in)
            That button mixed with immaturity, pride & perfectionism caused a lot of chaos and abuse in our lives.

            I’m thankful for Gods love and boundaries to sort through these places. Unfortunately, some spouses, and people choose these buttons to carry. I agree with you on the tempering of the thought processes, it’s essential for us all that want to work through the pain and the process.
            *I know I need it* so I can love and give from a healthier place.
            💜



          • Aly on November 24, 2017 at 8:30 am

            Content;)

            You wrote;
            “Disclaimer for those still in the anger phase: Righteous anger is healthy and can be a motivator for us to take steps we need to take).”

            So so important! I agree fully with this above! Righteous anger directed at the ‘right person or place’ is also important.



        • Aly on November 24, 2017 at 7:49 am

          Nancy,

          Thank you I appreciate you also, you have been such a support to me as well💜
          We have walked some similar places and I know we are still treking through but I’m grateful in how God uses others in His ways to comfort and to grow us each day ‘to know’ Him more and more.

  11. Amanda on November 23, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I was thinking she was trying to manipulate her husband and when that didn’t work she tried to use scripture to get him to do what she wants. It is sad when we see loved ones experiencing hardship. Let Christ be their savior, not your husband.

  12. Renee on November 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Hi writer (question submitter),

    Your sister should put in an application for financial aid and see what she qualifies for on her own. She may qualify for a grant and/or federal student loans. That’s how I put myself through college. I also did work study at my college. If work study is not available, she should consider a part time job outside of the college. Any refunds from her grants and loans can be used to help take care of furthering her college interest.

    The community college may also be more affordable at this time. Consider tuition for several colleges. She can also consider online classes if it will lower the tuition cost. I drove to class every single day in my 1985 Pontiac Grand Prix lol. That $1500 dollar car lasted me for years.

    Now with student loans, some are able to be forgiven depending on the career she chooses and the length of time she works in that field.

    I think that is a great idea that Leslie offered [forgo Christmas presents to each other this year and give the money you would ordinarily spend to help your sister]. However, I would allow your sister to take the lead. Once you see that she really has taken those steps, then maybe you all can gift her some money. Like what you would do when your kid graduate high school.

    That’s how my daughter will have to start next year. She will have to do part time school and part time work.

  13. Nancy on November 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    ‘Self care is not selfish’. So. True. And yet I’m pretty sure that I may still continue to believe the exact opposite.

    That to care for my own heart, first, is not loving.

    Like you say, though, we cannot love from an empty shell.

    That’s why I have absolutely CLUNG to Prov 4:23 ‘above all else, guard your heart….’

    It has begun to pierce that deep seated lie in my heart.

    But then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free ❤️

    • DAWN PERRY on December 5, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Ahh Nancy , yes. So encouraged to hear your commitment to “heart-guarding”.
      This very action provides the “fertile heart soil” in which He deposits the seeds of His word from the parables of Luke 6 and Matt 13.
      We are empowered, in that work, to then hear His voice — since that is where the Holy Spirit connects w us. That is the best definition of self-love: we keep our hearts pure and ready to receive the word of the Holy Spirit Bridegroom.
      Remember the second portion of the Hebrew Shamma: “Love the Lord w all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to LOVE OTHERS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES.” Wow. This year that portion of the verse literally jumped off the page and radicalized my thinking — we were created to love from the inside-out. Love for others is in direct correlation of the love that I have learned to receive from the Father.
      What He needed to initially teach me is that I was a poor receiver. I gave to others from my need to gain love, acceptance and worth. What He died to show me was that if I could learn to receive, simply rely and receive from Him … life would be radically different … and it is. He whispered to my heart, “Can you allow this radical self-love … room in your heart to receive?”
      He proceeded to show me we can only express His love and life if we first have spent time cultivating our own “heart-soil” to receive His love — the perfect love of a Father’s pure heart.
      It sounds so simple … give Him Lordship in our heart gardens, cultivate and guard the ground that is necessary for Him to speak into, and nurture that space when He has deposited these seeds by our obedience.
      Perhaps when we can view this as self love — keeping ourselves pure and guarded in order to receive the Bridegroom’s love — then from that space we understand and learn how to give that love out from the overflow — self-love will become a beautiful, necessary concept without the negative connotations that our society has attached to it.
      I hope that is clear and apologize if it is rambling. However this was such a radical, foundational component in my own transformation that I will go down sharing and making sure we, His Beloveds, get this right.
      Grace and peace!

      • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm

        Dawn,

        It IS radical. We love BECAUSE He first loved us. If we are ‘loving’ others from a deficit of His love, then we are thieves. The flow is reversed!

        Yes. Jesus said, ” your work is to BELIEVE ..” to believe is to RECIEVE His love. To ALLOW it in! And to guard it from leaking out the sides so that what comes out of the overflow is pure.

        The flow of love STARTS in HIM. Then to me, then to others.

        But that part, ‘then to me’ is what you said about cultivating our own heart soil…this is work! It is, in fact, the work of my life. It is GOOD to know my purpose 🙂

        Cultivating the soil of my heart in order to receive His Love, and then live according to the Spirit.

      • Aly on December 13, 2017 at 9:26 pm

        Dawn Perry,

        So true! Just beautiful Dawn🌈
        His Promises are worth receiving!
        Much Love💜

  14. Chuck on November 23, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Hey Autumn, as a guy I see your point that you are trying to make. As a husband I could be very frustrated with her parents money problems. Having said that, if it concerns and troubles my wife it becomes my concern because I love her. I think I would talk with my wife, set a dollar amount we can afford to give under the condition that they go under the guidance of a third party for financial advice. If they are not willing to do that then it shows their heart.
    The third party can be objective and not have to deal with the family issues.
    You cannot expect the husband to be an enabled for poor money management. In a church I went to a long time ago we had a cpa volunteer to help fellow church members to budget before the church would assist them financial. It really worked well.

    • Autumn on November 24, 2017 at 1:08 am

      Thank you for your perspective. Good advise.

  15. Autumn on November 24, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Advice not advise.

  16. Aleea on November 24, 2017 at 4:19 am

    “ . . .‘Self care is not selfish’. So. True. And yet I’m pretty sure that I may still continue to believe the exact opposite. That to care for my own heart, first, is not loving..”

    . . . .I do too, and I don’t even know why. I’m sure part of it is not loving myself the way I should and I would assume that is from childhood abuse. . . . .Who am I to be cherished, who am I to have real affection, who am I to be treated like a precious treasure, who am I to be really loved? —And I know some of the answers but I don’t know (experience) even those answers. I know them, I don’t/can’t/ will not do them. . . . .I mean, actually, who are we *not* to be [cherished, have real affection, be treated like a precious treasure, really, deeply loved]. If we truly belong to the Lord, then we are champion eternals. Daughters, et.al. of the Living Light. Persons of the highest caliber. Children of God. . . .I know my not loving myself does not serve the Kingdom of God. There’s nothing spiritually enlightened about that. The Lord is not served by us not assuming our real/ true identities . . . .God wants us so close to Him that we are radiating His glory. When we do, we liberate others from all their fears and give them permission to do the same. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. . . . .And, as we let His light shine from within us (as many here have and as more are doing), we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. I know Christ has done that for me, even though I still have *lots* of faith issues. 😥 These are probably not faith issues at all, they are love issues. 💗 I don’t know how to deeply love 💗 and deeply accept myself even if I “know” Jesus does. ✞♚♛

    “Like you say, though, we cannot love from an empty shell.”

    . . . .If we could see into our unconscious minds, we might see that our deepest fear is probably not that we are inadequate. Probably, our deepest fear is that we are loved beyond measure. Why would we fear that??? I don’t know but I know I don’t see myself the way Christ does.

    “That’s why I have absolutely CLUNG to Prov 4:23 ‘above all else, guard your heart….’ It has begun to pierce that deep seated lie in my heart. But then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free”

    . . . . 😥 I have all of the Bible verses related to the way God sees me *completely* memorized. They all go through my mind, all day. . . . . —I know (in my head) Christ 💗 loves us. I know we have the greatest value. I know He gave His life for all we(I) are(am) worth. . . . —Or, as Leslie said in the post “I Hate Me And I Love Him – What’s Wrong?” June 17, 2015, “. . . . . What if I told you that I know for sure that although you are not perfect, you are beautiful, precious, valuable, worthwhile, important, and special? How do I know that? —Because God says it. He’s the final authority on who you are and who you were meant to be, not your husband, not your mother, not your father, not even you. Therefore what God calls good we must value and take good care of. You have vast value and worth to God. You are deeply and fully loved by Him. God desires to give you a clean slate by forgiving you and bringing you into a close relationship with Him. You belong to Him, he adopts you into His family. Your life has meaning and purpose. You are not an accident. . . . . If you want to heal, make me a promise. From today forward the words you choose to use with yourself and the words you choose to listen to and believe are going to be life giving words of God’s truth.”

    —I have that memorized too and I absolutely love that!!! —Why is it so, so, so hard to believe that!!! 😥 . . .Especially under pressure. For ALL of us, our value comes simply in the fact that we live, period. Life is a gift only God could ever give. We are valuable and special simply because we are here, period. . . . .I know that, but I don’t —know— that. We are not what others think we are. We are what God knows we are. . . .I know that too, but I don’t know that and I don’t know why. 😥 I accept God’s love, forgivness and His healing, but my heart doesn’t. How do we *do* all the verses —versus— *know* those verses??? 💗🙏

    P.S. . . .When I lay these questions before God, I get no answer. . . . .But it is a special sort of “No answer.” It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but like He is waiving the question. . . . .Like, “Aleea”, child; just experience My love and let it engulf you. It’s not about knowing or even doing anything, but just being. It’s about being who you really/already are.

  17. Renee on November 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Hi writer (question submitter), not much we can help you with here unless you chime in with updates.

    Leslie, do you let the submitters know when their question has been chosen?

  18. Renee on November 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Hi writer (question submitter),

    Why is your dad unemployed? How long has he been unemployed? How old is your dad? What are his skills? Is he disabled? Since he is unemployed, how has he tried to take the burden off your mother in other ways?

    How does your husband feel about being the only one working? Could this be the reason of his reluctance or has he always been reluctant – even when you were working?

    Have you been able to find out why your parents are over-committed financially? My parents are over-committed because they’re trying to care for grownups as if they were still helpless kids. I’m talking about paying auto loans taking out loans, purchasing rider lawn mowers, paying utility bills, co-signing, etc. I’m still paying on loans taken out against their life insurance policies.

    I found this out after they finally allowed me to take over their finances four years ago. They are 83 now. If dad tries to say no, my mom and older sister give him pure hockey sticks. I really do want to blow up on them.

    Maybe your husband is not okay with letting the people you love struggle. However, he may feel you have the, “if this world were mine, I would place at your feet, all that I own attitude (non-Christian song Luther Vandross). If so, that would be cause for a discussion.

    If you are not careful, you can allow your family to not only destroy your marriage but also bankruptcy you financially. That’s why you will have to have a serious conversation.

    With that being said, I absolutely would expect my husband to help me with this one way or another. It would not have to be financially. It could be him helping me come up with resources as it was mentioned.

    I had to do that for my parents. Now they can make it through the winter because their gas bill is covered. The rest I manage to cover out of their check. Believe it or not, the local pharmacist was covering a very expensive drug for my dad. I was not comfortable with that and helped him obtain a less expensive drug with help of doctor.

    It could be him helping your father find a job if he is open to the idea. It could be financially if he agrees with you on an amount. It could be making phone calls. If he is good with budgets and your parents are open, maybe he can help there.

    See what he is open to doing.

    I wish you all well.

  19. JO on November 25, 2017 at 12:17 am

    The difficulty in answering this question comes from a lack of information. Sometimes love requires to say yes, and other times it requires us to say no. Biblically speaking, we need to be careful with our yes and no. Also as married partners, we need to understand our spouses point of view and work with it. The only clear answer is to carefully and prayerfully look at this woman’s parents’ situation and come to an agreement on what this couple will do. There are more answers than giving them money that are well within the boundaries of love.

  20. Aleea on November 25, 2017 at 4:10 am

    . . . .I also think, and maybe this is spiritualizing it, that the only love that makes a difference is God’s Love and appropriate self-love and compassion. We don’t need more and more confirmation from the world or more and more other people that we matter. We simply do matter. If we can finally believe that truth and actually live it, then we can do amazing things with our lives. . . . .God’s Love. . . .I don’t know, it’s like when you sit in front of a fire in winter —you are just there in front of the fire. You don’t have to be smart or trying or anything. The fire warms you. . . . .It is very hard because I reduce God to my own dimensions, ascribing to Him sort of my own reactions and responses, especially my own petty and conditional kind of love, and so end up believing in a God cast in my own image and likeness. The living God, is entirely “other”. . . . .Radical otherness and transcendent otherness for which totally limited human love is a totally distant metaphor. God’s love is much more than our human love simply multiplied and expanded. God’s love for us will always be an unfathomable mystery, entirely beyond my expectation. Maybe precisely because God’s love is something “no eyes has seen, nor ear heard nor the heart conceived” (1 Cor 2:9). . . .Something like that.

  21. Nancy on November 25, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I agree. It’s God’s love that makes me who I am.

    I like your warm fire analogy.

  22. Aleea on November 26, 2017 at 5:07 am

    . . . .Absolutely, we are loved *beyond* comprehension and the paradox is that we can fully embrace God’s love only when we recognize how completely unworthy of it we are. . . .But after reading the words of so many here for years, I realize the truth of God’s love is that He allows *really* seriously bad/rotten/horrible things to happen, ―like all the time. Yes, we have His promise that He’ll be there with us when those things occur. . . .but I see it in the lives of those here I pray for each day: the path to heaven is straight through hell. In fact, the path to paradise begins in hell. . . .To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay as far away from Jesus as possible. As far as I can tell, the danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ, in fact, in the first 500 years of Christianity it is almost one-for-one. . . . .My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and just walk away. . . .Do I love God —all of God, including the really “tough” parts of His nature —or do I refuse those elements that cause serious “problems”? If we love Him and worship Him as He deserves, we will not dare to “edit” Him to fit our desires. Instead, we will seek to worship Him in truth. . . . .I was thinking today that too much of anything is dangerous unless it’s God’s Love and I know that but God wants to constantly transform us and I want things not be to blown to bits constantly. The sin underneath all my sins is to trust the lie that I cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into my own hands. . . .and that’s such a paradox too. . . . . .We cannot be protected from the things that frighten and deeply hurt us, but if we can identify with the part of ourselves that is responsible for transformation (—the Holy Spirit), then we are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that confront us. . . . .Amazingly, I am the enemy that is in most need of long-suffering instead of calling myself “Raca” Matthew 5:22 and condemning and raging against myself. . . .I myself stand in most need of the alms of my own kindness. —Love, care, compassion, et.al. is always an inside job! That’s the place to focus, inside where Holy Spirit comes to live. A truly compassionate attitude toward’s ourselves (―internally, in our CORE) is the only way to have it for others. If we get it right internally, all that cycles out into our worlds, even if others behave negatively or hurt us. Only the development of compassion and understanding for ourselves (―internally) can bring that to others. To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”❣ “It’s God’s love that makes me who I am.” . . .Absolutely, and the more of God’s love you are aware of, the stronger your sense of self-worth and self-awareness….the less approval of others you will ever need. It takes unbelieveable courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives. . . . When I pray, I always say “Lord God, don’t let me get up without really seeing who I am. . . .don’t let me see who I am and only walk away.” ツ❅

  23. Renee on November 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    I thought I’d share a song since this post is quiet. It only took about 20 times to make my heart start feeling better tonight. (I like the Al Green version – disclaimer)

    But love the lyrics most of all!!! No more distraction from the post. I needed this today and maybe someone else does as well.

    What a Friend we have in Jesus!
    All our sins and griefs to bear.
    What a privilege to carry,
    Everything to God in prayer!

    Oh what peace we often forfeit.
    Oh what needless pain we bear.
    All because we do not carry,
    Everything to God in prayer!

    Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged,
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.

    Can we find a friend so faithful?
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness.
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.

    Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior is our refuge.
    Everybody take your trouble and,
    Everything to the Lord in prayer.

    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee.
    Thou wilt find a solace there.

    • Kathy on November 27, 2017 at 9:49 am

      AMEN!

  24. Hoping4Hisbest on December 3, 2017 at 12:24 am

    It’s so timely that there would be a recent article written about this subject. I came to the site tonight after my own debacle, but of the reverse situation. I often find comfort here in reading others situations and seeing what advice is given. The “me too” part helps, though I would never wish anybody to be in some of these situations.

    First, to address the question, I believe that our responsibilities to our families lie in providing “needs” and not “wants”. I also believe there is grace for a person who has mishandled finances in spending on “wants” and now needs money for the “needs”. However, if this is a cycle that is repeated continually, boundaries should be set in a loving manor. I view college as mostly a “want”. It is very possible to work and attend at the same time – and sometimes to the benefit of the student. From my experience, the students that have worked while attending college are often the more responsible, well rounded students. Being on the other side of a different situation, I know how it is for your spouse to think and say that your heart is in the wrong place and even being told that I am selfish. I can see the woman’s love for her family and that is wonderful, but I do think she should give her husband a chance to explain his heart.

    The situation that I am in currently is that I just inadvertently found out that my in-laws are coming along with their children to stay at my husband and I’s house for about a week for my brother-in-law’s graduation. To give a bit of a back story, in the past different family members have come to visit several times. Every time it seems to be the same situation – we end up paying for a large (sometime $5-8,000) portion of their trip. During the last trip my husband and I got into an argument, because we had spent well over the amount we had intended on spending and were now over our credit card limit. I suggested we stay home and make dinner and he insisted we take everyone out seeing as it was their last night. He brought his mother into the conversation and she concluded that I was “cheap”. She said she could identify it because she has been that way before too. They are a large family and in many ways I feel for them, however I’ve seen money be extremely mismanaged in purchasing of wants. I have been so bold as to tell my MIL during the trip how we had spent all our savings and now were deep into our credit card, and then past our credit limit. Her response was a “us too” and something about God providing.

    Fast forward to a few weeks ago, my husband quickly asks me while he is on the phone with his family if several of his siblings can come stay with us. I say yes, I suppose so. In a later conversation, my MIL apologized for how I was asked with no time to discuss. I said thank you for the apology and told her not to worry about it. Today my husband gets home and I see his mother’s text to him that she and her husband can only stay till a certain date. Then a call comes while I am in the other room and I can hear them ask whether he has told me yet (that they are coming) and then some joking (I couldn’t quite hear what was being said). It has been several hours and he has now said nothing and has gone to bed. I feel a bit shifty that I haven’t addressed the fact that I heard, but I have a strong feeling that if I say anything – even if I just said I heard – that it would be met with a lot of defensiveness and anger. I really don’t have time for a blow up right now, but am not quite sure how to address it from here. I feel let down that once again my husband has waited to say something to me and disappointed in how my in laws handled the situation. It is one small incident comparatively to other situations in our marriage, however, I feel like it undermined my trust. We are still paying off debt from the last trip and I’m concerned that especially with this next trip fast approaching it is going to send us into further debt. From previous experience, discussing this with my husband will only be met with calling me selfish and money-centered.

    • Suzanne on December 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Reluctance to go deeper in debt isn’t selfish or cheap. It’s the smart approach to money management. If you have to use a credit card to pay for something, you can’t afford it. And being forced to pay for someone elses trip is financially abusive. That is the core of the problem between you and your husband, that he is allowing his family to spend your, and his, money without your consent. And he and his family are showing they don’t respect you by making false accusations (calling you cheap, selfish and money centered) and, in doing so, claiming to know your true motivation for your reluctance to go further in debt (essentially claiming that they know better what you’re thinking than you do). You have two choices: remain silent and continue to go deeper in debt to furnish the wants of your husbands family, or take a stand and refuse to be insulted, disrespected, and put in financial peril. I understand your desire to avoid confronting your husband. The result of putting up boundaries is usually resistance from those who were happy when you didn’t have any. And that resistance can be fierce. But it’s obvious from your post that you’re very unhappy about this situation. Would you be any more unhappy if you stood up for yourself and told your husband that you’re through being insulted, disrespected, and taken advantage of by him and his family? And if you don’t take a stand how much more disrespect and debt are you willing to tolerate and how long will your marriage survive under that pressure and stress (financial pressures are one of the leading causes of divorce)? Consider that your husband is harming his own financial security as well, and helping him to see that and stop it is far better than allowing it to continue. We all grow old and have to stop working at some point. Will you enter that time financially secure or in debt with no savings? Your husband has had some very bad examples of how to manage money from his parents. He needs to hear another example, a better one, from you.

      • Aly on December 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm

        Suzanne;)

        So so true!
        You wrote;
        “The result of putting up boundaries is usually resistance from those who were happy when you didn’t have any. And that resistance can be fierce. ”

        One of the best ways I have heard this described!

      • Nancy on December 6, 2017 at 7:07 am

        Hoping 4his best, Suzanne and Aly,

        I agree with everything you said, Suzanne. I agree that the root of this particular issue is financial abuse. I would add that there’s a deeper issue of failure to ‘leave and cleave’ on the part of your husband, as well as you enabling this behaviour ( telling your mother-in-law ‘not to worry about it’). Not being truthful about what really upset you, in sweeping your feelings under the rug with your mother-in-law, plays into, and re-Infirces this dynamic.

        Setting boundaries starts with being honest about our feelings. Using our voice, saying what ‘is ok with me’ and ‘what is not ok with me’. If you’ve conditioned your in-laws ‘not to worry about’ last minute plans, then what other messages have you sent that re-in forces theirs, and your h’s, lack of consideration of your marital Union?

    • Aly on December 6, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Hoping4HisBest,

      Ok -wow! I just read your post, it didn’t post earlier for me to read the details.
      I agree with what Nancy wrote also.
      You are in good company here🤗, as I think many of us can relate to ‘the Lies’ we tell ourselves in order to not face the anger or ‘blowup’ of any marital issue.
      Manipulating people sometimes know and consciously use ‘timing’ to get their overall goals met.
      Sometimes we don’t get the luxury of going to bed ‘quickly’ without dealing with what circumstances we have affected our partner with?

      I see this as a core marital issue more than an inlaw issue.
      You wrote;
      “It is one small incident comparatively to other situations in our marriage, however, I feel like it undermined my trust.

      It clearly DOES undermine trust. Even your (inlaws) are in on it..the collusion and don’t respect your husband enough to not behave in such an immature manner given the scenario you posted.

      The incident as you are describing as ‘small’ I would have a hard time agreeing it’s small ..is it a symptom of a bigger problem not addressed. Trust being fundamental to all healthy relationships~ just as one problem.

      I wonder if this is how you find yourself coping and getting through these times by minimizing what level the infraction is?

      It also seems like there might be loyalty issues with your husband and his ‘family of origin’?
      If he’s in a pattern of pleasing his mom and dad to the extent he is willing to go into debt ??… more uncovering of what is driving this behavior is necessary as this will only progressively get worse!
      Do you fear opposing? Or Highlighing there is a ‘family/loyalty problem’ will make you the ‘problem’ and you will be rejected for not going along?

      I also wonder what the family trips and interactions (norms) are like with ‘your side’ of the family, are you also going into debt to please your family members? Or if there is an imbalance or double standard?

      Sorry I asked a lot of questions, I’m curious at what your are clear on and I don’t want to make harsh conclusions that I would be off on, hoping that comes across via my post.

  25. Suzanne on December 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I’m glad that you wrote about the possibility of her parents financial irresponsibility. My parents spent every cent they ever made, and even a large insurance settlement, on things they couldn’t afford without jeopardizing their retirement. They saved almost nothing, and even the little bit that was left when my father died was spent on his funeral so that my mother was left virtually penniless. Through the years I gave her money and paid for things she needed but couldn’t pay for, even though my own family could have used that money. I did that because I had compassion for her, but I didn’t see at the time that I was enabling her to live beyond her means. Boundaries are good for everyone. If we love someone we naturally want to help them, but there is such a thing as helping too much, or helping inappropriately. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to allow people to experience the consequences of their poor choices. I don’t regret helping my mother, but I do wonder if I did the right thing for her.

  26. Nancy 💛grace on December 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Dawn thank you for your post . It’s is full of insights very thought provoking I appreciate the takeaways with visual helps to retain and use ongoing to aid my struggle to remember. Be encouraged your sharing is a blessing to others thank you for being a light 🕯

  27. Sandy on December 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I really appreciate the way you summed up you purpose for life.

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