Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Husband not fair about finances


QUESTION: Hi, My husband and i have been together for 10 yrs total, 4 of them married. He came from a very broken childhood, made to fend for himself due to parents that came and went over the years. This turned him in a way selfish, anal, narcissistic  person. He is very particular about his personal belongings. Wants people to think he is well off, but yet if he has to spend money on anything other than himself he is all of a sudden broke. Doesn't like to share info with me about his finances unless I pester him for it. He also has a hard time discussing important issues and usually ends up becoming defensive and shuts down. I decided to marry him and learn to deal with his ways after figuring out that his past has made him who he is today and I'm not going to change him. I love him for who he is. The part that i don't necessarily love is his ways with our finances. He will not have a joint checking account to dump all our money into nor will be fair with paying a percentage based on income. This puts us into a position where i feel like I'm still a single mom living with a roommate, not a husband. I put a set dollar amt in a joint acct that is ONLY used to pay bills, which he takes care of. Then we have our own separate accounts that we pay our own personal bills out of. Now the issue is that he has begun a new job making $25K more. With this said, we are going to need to have yet another conversation were i will tell him that i shouldn't be contributing as much ( i will make about 26% of our total gross but yet we pay 50/50 towards bills) and he will get defensive and tell me that its either not fair, he will be broke, etc (i assume he doesn't think i know what the bills actually are). He cant seem to see where I'm coming from. I will then be upset left feeling defeated and a big loser. I've even created budgets to show him in black and white but still doesn't work. Now he may be fine and open to what i suggest. But in the past thats what I've had to deal with. Its as if he is scared that someone else is dipping into HIS money and loses that piece of control.

Now i know you are probably thinking "why did she marry him knowing he is this way??". I married him because he is a very affectionate, loving person. I took the good with the bad. I just don't know how to get him to realize that a joint acct is the better way to go OR being fair about the amount being contributed.

ANSWER: These financial issues are very common and are perhaps one of the major reasons  marital problems.  One of the basic precepts of a marriage is within the idea that all things are held inn common, hour houses are purchased with a joint tenency, we buy our cars with both on the title but on occasion there are individuals who have never learned the importance of trust or have been so damaged by previous relationships that trust, especially in financial issues becomes very difficult.

Based on what you conveyed the issues your having stem from your husbands insecurity over holding on to what he thinks is his.  Does he have the same perspective about you?  Is he concerned about loosing you over financial discord?  It may not be to that point yet but your question, the very question raises red flags about deeper and more troubling issues that if left unresolved by either your husband or your willingness to accept as the way things are will eventually result in a more sever rift between the two of you.

Trying to change another is perhaps the most difficult human endeavor that is why we concentrate on changing our own perspective.  Right or wrong a person needed to want to change of his own accord .  But let me give a few suggestions that might help:

Start a joint account and agree to put in a percentage of each salary to pay the bills and save for future bills,  if you make 30% of the total then yr obligation would be that percentage paid weekly or monthly etc.. Base those expenses on common areas like food, rent, intertainment etc...if you drive separate cars then dont include that.

Child care would be included, house repairs, but not clothing, vacation time spent together would be included, I think younger the picture.  Start very small at first and give him time to realize the trust and convenience of working together, keep the going for a few months or longer if need be and then discuss expanding into other areas that effect each other like the cloths you both buy or the repairs to the cars etc...

I would very much like to know more about some of the specifics who spends what on what etc....butnii think ifnyounstart small with the suggested plan you masses some small changes.

Good luck


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the suggestion. We do currently have a joint but that is only for bills. Neither of us dip into it for anything else. I place money in there to go towards the mortgage then i pay for all groceries, cable/internet/phone, and sewage. He pays towards the mortgage, water, car ins, health ins, daycare and our joint credit card. When you total it all up, he pays 54% of the bills and i pay 46%. But when i only make 26% of our income, that certainly isn't fair. Because after i fork out my share for the bills, and then my own personal bills, I'm left with nothing to spend on any thing extra ex. dr visit, lunch, clothing etc. I don't shop for myself or do anything nice because of this. Yet he is constantly spending his money on "goodies". He will want us both to go shopping and tell him that i have no money to spend. He just shrugs his shoulders and says ok, then he leaves and goes by himself....certainly not getting what I'm trying to imply to him! Now he does pay for any extra things that may come up like house repairs, vet bills, large items for our daughter. But he knows he has to because i cant. But mostly these things don't happen too often so he just spends on himself. We don't have a college fund for our daughter or a policy on her. He doesn't want to put "his" extra money in something that he cant spend right away. He doesn't like the fact that he puts money in a 401k and cant take it out whenever he wants it. He mentioned one day "whats the point of it? i will probably be dead before i can use it anyway." I said "what about me and your child? what will we be left with?"...he just said jokingly "you can have my car and computer" and left it at that. I used to work with mutual funds and retirement so i definitely see the importance of it and try my hardest to save money. But if i want anything extra, i have to either charge it or take money from my IRA to pay for it. He will NOT give me any of his money to pay for something.
I have done up a spreadsheet to show him in black and white what the bills are and what we both pay. When i just try and talk about it, he seems very disillusioned about what the numbers are and wont take suggestions from me. I tell him that i shouldn't be punished because he has his bills (student loan, credit cards, car payment) that he needs money to pay. But with this new job he got, he has more than enough to pay them and have plenty left over. But yet I'm still stuck being broke.

There are two choices that I see.   One stop contributing to his lifestyle and start saving for your own.  Don't contribute anymore or until he understands the level of selfishness that is hurts you and the family.

There are consequences to ths decision, it could lead to a separation or even divorce.  I'm not trying to be melodramatic but the reality is that you understood who and what he was prior to marriage.  That does not make what he does right but it does set the stage for a difficult transformation by him.

If you stop contributing then he will be forced to fill the gap and maybe, just maybe he will start to understand the level of selfishness he exhibits.

The ore option is to do nothing let it go and live with it happily, knowing that he is a good man, for the most part and you could do a lot worse.

These are indeed difficult choices.  Your husband is selfish and is hurting you and the children, he needs to change but the question is will he and can he?

You have to decide...

There is one other option, it's a little underhanded but you could go to your employer and have him arrange to withdrawal a portion of your check toward savings so you will actually less to spend making your husband spend more toward the bills....just a thought

Best wishes


Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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Richard Taylor


After 30 years of marriage and 10 children I can comfortably answer questions about developing or salvaging a strong marriage relationship.


Relationships fail almost exclusively due to individual selfishness or inappropriate activities outside of the marriage contract. Almost any marriage can be salvaged and can flourish. There are exceptions, adultery, abuse and addictions may sever the trust to such an extent that a marriage may not survive.

In addition to my personal experiences I have over 15 years of special education experience with a Masters in special Ed.

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