Marriage and Finances

Updated on August 19, 2011
J.F. asks from Petaluma, CA
13 answers

My husband and I have been married for 6 years now. When we started out he had a good amount of credit card and misc. debt. It got pretty bad at one point, to where we almost lost our house. We have since recovered and in the last few years I have taken over handling the finances. Since I have taken over I had established a savings, bills (all bills, including family loans) were being paid on time & with "wiggle room" to spare. I had gotten us to a point where I felt confident we could afford a vacation back to see our family. Up until this trip my DH was quite content to let me handle the money and we would consult each other on any purchases over $50. Since we returned and he has gone on a spree of spending without talking to me about it at all- or worse, talking to me about it, me telling him to just wait for said purchase and then doing it behind my back anyway. The items he felt necessary to purchase are frivolous things (a $250 RC truck!, an unneeded car stereo, and all the add-ons to go with these items.) I've lost a lot of trust in him. His lack of respect for me, my opinion and ultimately our families best interests is disturbing to me. I know his father encourages his behavior as they both like to justify everything away. This is also rolling over into the time in which he is supposed to be working & he is actually taking 1-3 hours at random to shop. He just started his own business as a tradesman & thus far I've been handling the books since I only work part time. When we get into discussions about it all he simply tells me I'm fired, he'll do it all (which he has failed at miserably before) or that I deserve nothing since I've been a SAHM and now only work part time. I'm at a loss since we live away from any meaningful support. Aside from "sneaking" money into another "safe" savings account, I'm not sure what to do. He is so juvenile and argumentative- we can't even talk. This is sadly affecting our marriage as well as our family dynamic. Any suggestions on how to rein him back into the adult world?
(Please excuse any typos- I'm trying to get this in before he gets home!)

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So What Happened?

I have taken & followed through on as much advice as I am able to. He has acknowledged the problem....but continues to spend and shop. I discussed setting up separate accounts for spending money, yet before I could he spent "his allowance"...and then some. I'm feeling so defeated & hurt. I love him- he is wonderful in so many ways. I have now resorted to opening an account in my name only & transferring income & managing our finances through it. As I type this he is outside with our son, installing the new headlights on his toy truck. sigh- The one thing I have going for me/us is that his employer is putting him on a salary which will allow me to budget and manage the money much better. His (our) business will then be "extra" as it will be sporadic. Counseling- well at this point he is not open to it & I'm a bit unwilling to part with the money for it as we are stretched already. For now, I can only be sure the I do the right and responsible thing for both myself & our son. Not even DH can stand in my way of doing that. Thank you all for your support, it has meant so much to me.
For now, I can summarize to say it has gotten slightly better- if that- but I have hope, lots of faith and the will power to see it through. He may not like it, but what is right will prevail- no matter what.

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answers from St. Louis on

I am just throwing this out there as a possibility. How strict was the budget? I have said this many times, a budget that is too strict is like starvation dieting. You binge in the end. He may be bingeing. The vacation signaled to him the all clear and he is eating everything in sight. If this is the case it will be like reigning it the woman who has the twinkies in one hand the ice cream in the other, notice she growls when you get near.

If this is the case you will need to go with I know you needed this but you need to stop before you get fat/broke. :)

Good luck

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chico on

I just have a second so I'm going to be blunt - forget about getting him into the real adult world and get yourself into a safe position. First of all, get a job. Secondly, let him know that you cannot live like this and you need to see a counselor - together. If he refuses, you have your answer. He simply cannot be allowed to handle the money. I had to do this to my husband. Fortunately, he was cooperative. If your husband refuses to let you handle the money again, I would suggest that he move out. The first step in this is that you must have your own source of income! Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

wow - this is tough. a marriage needs to have trust...

your husband sounds like he needs to grow up. financial responsibility is a must for ANY adult.

I would tell him to take some financial management courses...if he can't do that - then ensure that your name is taken off things that he wants to share...if it means changing the deed of trust on the house - then do it. I know that is scary but if he wants to take over the finances again - then you need to protect yourself and the children.

Reign him back in? Financial management courses or let him go under...let him hit rock bottom and realize that you are the brains behind the man...God that sound bad as I'm reading this again...i would not like to see someone go under...but like an alcoholic, they need to hit rock bottom before they realize they need help...

Please feel free to inbox me...

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answers from Washington DC on

Do you both get to have some 'me' money? I know when finances are tough that that is hard, but when you've been strict at paying for just the necessities or asking permission, it becomes very easy to become selfish and spend. Sounds like someone back home questioned his manhood about you controlling the money.

My suggestion is to try and set aside some money for him to spend each paycheck however he wants, based on what is comfortably left over.

My hubby and I actually have 3 accts. His, mine, ours. The money in our individual accounts is ours as we please, as long as we're meeting our responsible, shared bills.


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answers from Dallas on

if things were going well before the vacation - i'd have to assume that someone said something to him on the trip. i'd start there and find out WHY he is suddenly feeling the urge to make such irresponsible decisions. did someone say something to him about not being a "man" b/c you handle the money? if he won't talk to you, you clearly have a MAJOR problem on your hands... this is one of very few things i'd consider walking away from my marraige about(extreme financial irresponsibility).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Would he consider therapy? Would you? If he won't go, I would suggest that you go and talk with someone. It will help a lot.

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answers from Pittsfield on

Hope this helps...

If your efforts to get him on the same page don't help though, you need to find a way to protect yourself financially- not sure how to go about doing that, though, other than what you already mentioned.

Best wishes!!!! =o)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

He is an adult. You are not his parent. He needs to find out that he has to be responsible for his actions and that way he won't be upset with you...thing shoot the messenger kind of thing.

The only other option is to take his name off the accounts except one, I would put it in his name only and put an allowance in it for him. But this method won't teach him anything except to think you are a controlling....*******. Which of course you aren't.

Credit counseling might do some good, I learned a lot about my spending habits by tracking my money. I just never realized just how much I was wasting until I saw it all laid out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Wow. It sounds like he has changed a lot. Is he only starting to act this way since you started being a SAHM? Sounds like he holds grudges that he makes the majority of the money and you tell him how to spend it. He isn't seeing your job as a SAHM as valuable. And he isn't realizing that you are just trying to balance the budget. Maybe you could just plain and simple type up your income , savings, and expenses in black in white. Be sure to include how much day care would cost and add that to savings. Show how much spending money you have after expenses and savings. Attach a letter stating facts about the finances and your goals. Also include how you feel when he disses your being a SAHM. Include how you feel when he doesn't want to talk finances and says he will do it all but then doesn't follow through. You could even put an ultimatum in there if you want. Like, if we don't balance our budget and start communicating, I think we should spend savings on a shrink. He can read it in his own time and make a choice. You shouldn't have to sit around and worry due to his insecurities.

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answers from Minneapolis on

The issue here sounds like control, and money is just the weapon he is using.

Marriage counseling is in order. There is much more going on here than his behavior with money.

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answers from Amarillo on

Wow sounds like something in my son's marriage. Another story.

Get counseling marriage/financial. If he won't go then you do have an answer. I would look for a job since he feels you are not contributing BUT I definitely would be putting some of that in an account that has my name on it (rainy day). If need be remove your name off of the other items you have so that when he decides he has had enough of you trying to help him stay afloat you can let him drift away.

Fighting over money is one of the things a marriage cannot have. He wants to "be the man" he has to show he can be the man. Not every person is good with figures and needs the help of the spouse. This is a team and a business of the two of you.

Good luck and I hope he figures out why he needs a $250 RC toy to play with starting a new business. If he wants it it should be a delayed gift after the business is up and running.

The other S.

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answers from San Francisco on

I do the financing at home. I have a separate bank account with MY name only. My husband does not have access to it. He knows about it so I'm not being sneaky but it's gonna save me the worry of not having a cushion if I need it one day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Why do you want to be with this man you married again? Did he have secrets before you got married that are just rearing their ugly heads now or did you have your blinders on earlier?
I hope you don't have children together yet but if you do, you really do not need to mother a grown man. I myself learned the hard way that grown men that turn into children NEVER change. They always say one thing and do the exact opposite which is to say what you want to hear but do what they want at your expense.
The fact that you are able to pull yourselves out of debt when you took over the finances shows you know how to restrict when needed. Do you really want this to keep going on? It will not change. He will keep saying things to make you think he is doing what you want all the while doing whatever he wants and you will be fighting for air each time trying to stay above water.
Now you are putting money aside on your own already. Does this tell you anything anyways? Tell him either he starts acting his age and being an adult and supporting you like all men are supposed to do, or he can fend on his own and move out of YOUR house since I would assume your money pays for the rent/mortgage. See how he reacts to that one.

1 mom found this helpful
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