I got out in time and missed the snowstorm of the century. In our area of PA we had 36 inches. I went to Chicago to visit family and will be driving cross-country all this week.
I hope many of you heard last week’s webinar on Counseling Strategies with A Destructive Person. We had a huge sign up for it with lots of positive comments. If you want to watch it before we archive it – CLICK HERE. Hopefully your prayers are being answered and the church is beginning to wake up.
Today’s Question: Leslie my problem is that my husband does not work but somehow wants to control the finances. Our marriage has dwindled to nothing and we probably stay together for our children's sake. I think he is still involved in porn.
He has no savings of his own since he has not worked for years. I pay for all the family's expenses. I partly funded his studies. I have my own bank account. The church has said that having separate bank accounts is not healthy for married couples and that it is a control issue on my part. I keep my own account as a security measure since our marriage is not normal. I do give my husband the freedom to handle my salary but not my savings. I have helped him out with finances in the past although he turned around and asked me “what have I done for him?”
He now wants to start his own business since he said that he is too old (56) to work for an organization. He has not said it yet but any funding for his business will have to come from me. He could have found small jobs in the past to help out but he found it unworthy of his time. He could have some savings of his own by now had he worked.
The counseling we have received from church emphasized that I must be submissive and be willing to share my money on equal basis, which pleases God, and that this may even change my husband.
The lawyer I consulted was not a Christian so his advice was not Biblical but more on my rights under the law.
I think that my husband is being manipulative as he can be very nice when he wants something from me. He wants joint ownership of the house too but legally he can only contest for the house in the event of a divorce. I am so upset that he asked for the house since he should have provided a house for the children and me in the first place.
I always end up feeling guilty and help him out, as he has no one else. Please help.
Answer: I don’t think your problem is an issue of control but rather of partnership. If a male reader asked this same question – my wife does not work but wants to control the finances, what’s the right thing to do? I would say it depends.
I know wives who do not work outside the home yet they fully “manage” the household money. The husband trusts his wife and she is competent and capable. This is how they have decided to divide the responsibilities in their marriage. Their family house is in both of their names because they are marital partners and both of them contribute to the marriage and family, not just the breadwinner.
I think it would be very scary if the working spouse believed he (or she) should be the only voice allowed in how the family finances are spent or saved. (Tweet that)
The working spouse contributes money to the family’s well-being but I would expect the non-employed spouse also contributes a good deal. Perhaps she invests herself in childcare and homeschooling; perhaps he works hard maintaining the home or caring for aging parents or cooking and cleaning so that there is less work at home for the working spouse.
You are clearly angry he is not contributing any income to the family. But you haven’t said whether or not he is contributing as part of being a “house-husband.” Or how he has handled the family money – your salary. Is he responsible and trustworthy? Are there reasons you mistrust him or lack confidence in his competence to manage money?
I’m not exactly sure what all is going on at home but since you indicated he refused to do menial work because it was beneath him, I suspect he’s not eager to do household work either. Therefore, I’m going to answer the rest of your question as if your husband has not handled family money responsibly, nor does he carry his own load (Galatians 6:5), yet he feels entitled to have adult privileges.
John Townsend in his new book The Entitlement Cure writes, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.” Townsend goes on to say: “Regardless of the causes of this kind of thinking, the entitled person believes he or she doesn’t have to play by the rules of responsibility, ownership, and commitment. And the end result of entitlement is predictable: The entitled person feels good and lives badly, while those around him feel bad about the situation but have more successful relationships and careers.”
This sounds like where you are at right now. You are functioning as a parent towards your husband, sometimes a generous parent who enables your husband to continue to behave as one of the kids, and other times a scolding parent, who resents him and is sick and tired carrying the whole family load because he refuses to carry his own load.
To love your husband well at this point is to not enable him to stay locked into his entitled mindset but to invite him to grow up. This will require some tough love on your part. You must have a calm yet firm conversation on his lack of contribution and responsibility. How can he own a business in the future if he can’t manage menial home responsibilities? It’s only when we are faithful in the little things, does God trust us with greater responsibilities.
I don’t know if your husband can or will change and grow up, but if you want to get off this cycle, you must make some changes. You say you always end up feeling guilty and helping him out because no one else does. But what is he doing to help himself? And, what exactly are you guilty of? I want you to ask yourself: are you truly helping him if you give him money to start a business or are you enabling him to stay entitled and irresponsible?
I would highly encourage you to sign up for my upcoming two-part class, Moving Beyond People Pleasing that starts February 10th. Click here to sign up.
The class will help you better learn how to set boundaries, implement consequences, and to know more clearly what you are responsible for and who you are responsible to.
For starters, here is a conversation you may find helpful to have with him.
“When we got married I thought we were going to partner through life. I understand you have had a hard time keeping employed and I’m grateful God has provided for us financially through my job.
But it’s not okay with me that you don't help me at home or work towards our well-being as a couple and as a family. I not only work full time outside the home, but work full time inside the home – (and list whatever you have to do for the running of the household).
It seems to me that you believe your time is your time to do whatever you want but you don’t want to do anything to take care of our family or household. You want to be a joint owner of our home but you do not want to take care of it. You want to manage our money but you don’t pay the bills on time (list whatever he’s not been responsible with) or at least work part time to put some more money into our savings.
This is not okay with me and I’m growing to resent you and it’s impacting our marriage negatively. Is that what you want?
I’m tired of feeling like your mother – either nagging you to do what you should be doing or picking up the pieces of what you’ve neglected to do so that things don’t fall apart. I’m not okay with you taking over the finances or having joint ownership of our home if you aren’t willing to contribute.”
Friends, when you have found yourself mothering your husband, what steps did you take to stop functioning in that role and change yourself?