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Money and Marriage

Discussion in 'Married Couples' started by HMS, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. HMS

    HMS Member

    United States
    This is my first post. I am in need and stumbled on this website in search of answers and guidance.

    My question is, how is money supposed to work in a Christian marriage? I have my own opinion, but what do I do when my spouse has an opposing opinion?

    A little background. My husband and I have been together 5 years and married 1 year. No kids, just bought our first home, moving from our parents where we didn't pay major bills. We agree on a lot about money but the things we don't agree on are very important.

    Before marriage we decided to put everything into one bank account: my husband wasn't sure about it but I let him know that was important to me.

    My husband makes twice as much as me but we work the same amount of hours. He has a physical labor job and I work in an office. Our issues really started when we discussed household work. My husband believes that because he physically works harder and makes more money that, for the most part, all responsibilities at home should fall to me. He does help around the house with trash, feeding dogs, if I'm lucky dishes.. sometimes without me begging for help.

    For me, marriage means one person. It means one bank account, one unit making financial decisions and one unit splitting the burden of the family and what it takes to keep a household running. Which brings me to our next disagreement.

    My husband believes, that if he works over 40 hours a week, whether with his employer or on his own with a side job, that money is his to keep and spend as he wishes. I cannot find the words to describe how these two issues makes me feel. Why does he want to keep any money separate? I've never denied a purchase that was important to him. I have requested to delay purchases but never denied.

    I've tried opening the line of communication with my husband. I have explained my views. I've suggested I go back to school so that I can find a higher paying job so I can fill the gap in our income inequality. That way I would still be working the same amount of hours, earning the same income and then we can split the housework. I feel it's the best solution besides us as one unit sharing all work and income. He shut me down, going into debt for school is out of the question. Wrongfully, I suggested I get a second job, which means I double my hours to 80, then we can split the housework. He shut me down again, he would never see me. That wouldn't have helped me anyway.

    It hurts, I am so unhappy financially and with my work load. My burden is heavy and I'm growing weary. I've been looking for help and advice. Even have a book coming today about money and marriage God's way.

    We are to the point where we don't have any money left at the end of the month after paying for the bare necessities. My husband has his side job money but that is "his money". I don't want to spend money on myself or buy anything essential because I'm not spending "my money". I don't even feel like I am spending "our money". I feel like it is all his and he doesn't think I am contributing my fair share.

    Someone please help. Advise, prayers, suggested readings.
  2. Jane_Doe

    Jane_Doe Well-Known Member

    Couples should work together towards all their goals, including financial.
    You BOTH should be helping with housework. Now if he asks to do chores which are less physically intensive and you agree to it, that's perfectly good. For example, folding laundry doesn't require a lot of physical work.
    Yes, that is the Christian way: two people become one. Obviously other people disagree with my opinion here.
    This is REALLY something a couple should have come to agreement to before seriously considering marriage. It's a major something you two need to be on the same page about.

    Have you two attended marriage counseling to work through this disagreement?

    Your issue is fundamental disagreement on how things are to be shared. Your income level (whatever it is) is not the issue on hand and changing it will not address the disagreement.
  3. HMS

    HMS Member

    United States
    Thanks Jane_Doe for your response. We haven't attended counseling. We discussed our opinions on money/housework by ourselves before marriage... we should have included more people / wiser people in our discussions.
  4. Jane_Doe

    Jane_Doe Well-Known Member

    I would totally include people in it now (aka go to counseling). These are foundational disagreements that are only going to get more involved as your marriage continues, particularly if you have children.
  5. Observer

    Observer Observer

    Christian Seeker
    I don't think it's necessary to have joint accounts and I think it's good for a man to have some of his own money to spend without giving answers for it, but that's good for a woman to have as well.

    It's when there is a YOU vs ME attitude, that makes you feel separated from each other. That competition can be toxic in a marriage. You start defending yourselves rather than supporting each other.

    Husbands and wives should be generous with each other but be on the same page with how money should be handled for the mortgage, bills etc to make sure everything is covered and that you can both have some enjoyment too (even just a tiny bit at first).

    My ex husband didn't work for 5 years and when he got money from my family for his birthday/Christmas he treated it as his money to blow on whatever. It was very hurtful. Same with student payments he got. I do a very physical job and he didn't care. This was one if the reasons I divorced him.

    Some will try to tell you money shouldn't matter that much in a marriage. But it does. The actual amount matters less (but you need enough to support yourselves), but the way in which you both participate in life and the narriage matters so much, and working and earning money is a big part of that. In a marriage, you take care of each other and work towards your future with what you earn. You're working not just for your own life but because you love your partner and you bith have a vision if the future you want. When that breaks apart and people start living for themselves and side lining their partner's hopes, dreams, wants, needs and
    start trying to preserve their money for their own separate wants, and start trying to conserve their own energy, resources and money just for themselves... it shows something is very wrong. And it can extend beyond money issues. If one or both have a 'separated' attitude and put their own needs first, it shows selfishness and lack of consideration whuch can pop up in other areas of the marriage.

    Life is stressful and working hard to pay your bills is stressful. It certainly brings out the "what about MEEEEEEE" in me and can make me a bit self absorbed at times. But you need to recognise it and make a choice to let that go and focus on your partner. He needs to do the same though. You should both be focusing on each other's needs, then neither of you will feel the need to defend yourselves against each other or preserve yourselves... money issues like this can close your hearts long term because if you feel like someone is not protecting you or loving you with their efforts then you recoil to protect yourself
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  6. RedPonyDriver

    RedPonyDriver Professional Pot Stirrer

    United States
    We have separate bank accounts (both are joint but one is "mine" and one is "his). Bills get paid as they come in...sometimes out of my account (where my $$ gets deposited) sometimes out of his account (where his $$ gets deposited). We both have enough left over to have some fun and save.

    If he thinks he gets to "keep" his paycheck to blow on selfish things w/o taking responsibility for household bills, then well...he isn't grown enough to be married. If he thinks he gets to sit on his backside because he has a "more physical" job and take no responsibility for the home, he needs to grow up.

    Did you have any pre-marital counseling regarding marriage, responsibilities, finances? If not, time to start. To start with, he needs to grow up and man up.
  7. NothingIsImpossible

    NothingIsImpossible Well-Known Member

    I do believe his/her money becomes "your money" once married. Does that mean you should have a joint account? Its a good thing to do however there are various reasons why a couple may not have one. Maybe one spouse spends to much. Maybe the one account is part of the other spouses business...etc. I can see having two accounts will show whos better at managing money. And if one is not as good at managing money then a joint account should be created. Though even if you have separate accounts, the accounts should be viewable to your spouse also. Nothing to hide after all.

    In our case we have a joint account. And I have a separate account for my SSI only since it all goes to pay rent/utilities. Well that and it makes it easier since I don't have to sort out which things were spent using SSI money.

    As for money and chores. I sort of think if one spouse is making a TON more money, then the other spouse should do more house work instead. BUT it depends on various things also. Like does the spouse who makes less money have a job that requires 12 hours a day? If so then the spouse that works more may have to do more household stuff. In our case since my wife works and I do not, I do all the chores. Except cleaning the bedroom, she won't let me do that.

    I will say though one common issue is sometimes spouses who work don't realize a non-working spouse is technically working without pay. Running a house doesn't have a set amount of "9am-2pm" hours. Its a never ending job at times. So its why both people need to realize both work hard and should respect the other person.

    I'll be blunt, so no offense intended towards your husband. Hes a control freak who doesn't understand what a marriage is. And sadly this seems more common with men when it comes to money. Just because he works doesn't mean its his money and he can do what we wants with it. Its both of yours. If he doesn't accept that then he should have stayed single because hes currently living a bachelors lifestyle which involves only thinking of ones self.

    Have you ever seen his bank account? If not then thats a red flag. You both should be deciding together what is ok to buy and what is not. I mean there will be times when you disagree. But if he isn't willing to talk to you and accept your input, then again, hes living like hes single. My wife and I always discuss what we want to buy. Granted I do sometimes let her do what she wants. Which is one thing a person should never do. Because the more you give in, the more they will think they are doing the right thing by doing what they want.

    As for school and better pay, some men get jealous or don't like the idea that the wife makes more or equal to what they do. I think its just a stubborn man thing of feeling superior to their wife. Especially with christian men. But thats a whole nother issue.

    I do think school seems to be not as useful as it once was. Most I know never got to use their degree because the job they want is taken and they are stuck working somewhere else. Granted it depends on the job and what not. You should tell him you find a way for free schooling through a scholarship. I know its a lie technically but you'd be saying it to see what his reaction is. If its joy then thats good. If its not joy then there is definitely an issue there with money and control/superiority. In which case is all the more reason to get counseling. Though mentioning counseling alone should show how he really feels if he rejects the idea of it.

    The fact he shut down the idea of you working two jobs either means he, again, doesn't like the idea of you making more/equal. Or he doesn't like the fact he would have to do more around the house. Again, often the working spouse fails to see taking care of a house is WAY harder work. A article once put together an estimate of a spouses worth taking care of the house. If you had to pay someone to take care of the house, pay the bills, cook the meals...etc, it adds up to a 6 digit salary. In other words a spouse who complains should be thankful since your doing the job for free.

    Your last paragraph says it all about him. Its all about him and his money. He may see you as the the wife that should say nothing and just listen to him as hes "head of the house" and your just a woman. I may be wrong of course, but sure seems like his money has more value than you. You really need to look at his account and see what hes spending all his money on that he has none left at the end of the month. If you don't see stuff in your house that is really new then hes spending it elsewhere. Maybe he gambles. Maybe he goes to bars. Who knows.
  8. akmom

    akmom Newbie

    The easiest thing to do in a marriage is underestimate the others' contributions and burdens, and overestimate yours. That is human nature. I think it is safe to assume, no matter who you are, that you are underestimating the workload of the other. Every time either of you feels exhausted at work, or counts the hours till you just get to go home, every time you come across something you want or even need and don't buy it... you will remember all those little daily "sacrifices," and it will add up to feeling cheated sometimes. But your spouse won't know about them. They will know of your broader struggles (being unhappy with your work, hating to do dishes, etc.) but they will never be acutely aware of those daily sacrifices that make you feel the way you do. So they will not really understand your resentment.

    For this reason, you will have to give your husband some grace. You will have to accept that he won't fully understand your position, even if you tell him. On the same note, you will not fully understand the level of fatigue he experiences that makes him remiss to take on household chores. It's always only the tip of the iceberg that we get to see.

    Having been married 13 years, I can say this kind of disagreement is really really common. Life is overwhelming, especially when you're new at full-on adulting. It really is. It's easy to want to catch a break somewhere, and when you have a partner in life, it's pretty easy to start eyeing them for some relief. And it isn't necessarily wrong... your spouse should be a helper to you, a source of relief and comfort. But you can easily start to see them as the problem, because they fall short of your needs, when the real problem is just life. Life really is just this hard. And the real answer to that, is just learning to live.

    Imagine your life on your own. Not with your husband, not with your parents, just you. All the responsibilities you have, all the income and assets that *you* acquire. And if you are better off now than that, then that's what the partnership brings. (If you are worse off, then it might be time to evaluate the relationship.) It may not be everything you think it should, but that's okay. And with time and persistence, you will both get used to the hardships and also appreciate each other better, and it will get easier.
  9. sdmsanjose

    sdmsanjose Regular Member

    It would be wonderful if everything in marriage was a 50/50 situation. Nice fantasy but not real life! From what you wrote your husband seems to not have a very mature or balanced approach about work and money and needs to be more considerate of you.

    Possible solutions?

    1. Your husband realizes the pain that you are in due to your differences and makes some changes so that you are not so hurt.

    2. If he does not change then you find a way to reduce the hurt so that the marriage does not break up over those issues.

    3. If all else fails then tell him that you are going to get a second job and that money is yours just like his overtime money is his.

    Something to consider?

    Do not have any children if the strong differences you have with your husband are going to continue to cause you great pain and there is no solution.
  10. HannahT

    HannahT Newbie Supporter

    People have odd ideas when it comes to jobs, etc. Physical labor or your type of labor? They are both exhausting. They are just different types of exhaustion. I remember a similar discussion when we first got married.

    lol heck, he even tried to tie in the driving time to and from work! In the end? We ended up getting a cleaning service that came out every two weeks, and to put an end to the resentment I felt? It was money well spent. That's the part he isn't thinking about. He can have his high horse and a resentful wife? Or he can rethink what is truly valuable to him in life. I can understand NOT wanting to do housework after an exhausting day at work, but he has to realize everyone feels that way. Physical work or not. It's not a competition.

    If and when you have children? He won't be able to just sit after work. He will have to pitch in. Kids don't wait for you to have energy. Nip this in the bud now, because it will get worse. It will tear you apart if he keeps this going at that point in your life, and it could effect your family life as well. It won't be fair for him, you, or your future family. Humans can be very shortsighted at times. lol its why we are so complicated!

    I can understand wanting to use the side money as mad money - within reason. He can ask you NOT to get a second job, or go back to school...and yet he leaves to make his mad money? Again, that is something will cause resentment as well. He needs to rethink those roadblocks he put up for you, and balance a bit of fairness. You are both suppose to be part of a team.

    In my younger years? lol old at this point! I started to charge him for things he wanted me to do for him personally. It was my 'side job'. There are always things that need to be done during the day - phone calls and such as a small example - and he would ask me to do this during my work hours. This was before cell phones, and sitting at a payphone during lunch wasn't something he wanted to do. No problem here is my invoice for serviced rendered! I think I even charged for laundry. I'm NOT saying to do this, but to show how desperate the circumstance was. It took that to wake him up a bit - after he was done being ticked off that is. He knew where that road was going, and decided we were going to sit down and seriously talk. He also knew I wasn't going to back down. Stupid stunt? No doubt, but it worked.

    Get some counseling, or find a older mature couple that has a loving relationship to mentor you. NOT relatives that feel the need to take sides, but a couple you both respect. It will help to shake some trees, and then let the leaves fall where they may. Resentment is a relationship killer.

    Just a funny side note? He retired this last year, and in his last couple of years his company talked him into going to the office side of the business. He had health issues, and they wanted to take advantage of his brain instead of his brawn now. He couldn't retire fast enough! Found out office work isn't as cushy as he once thought. Everyone complains about their jobs..lol its human! Yet, when people ask him now? He complains more about his time in the office than he does regarding his time in the physical labor part! lol and he did that part for more than 40 years!

    Households will never be 50/50. People need to deal with that. It's just not realistic, and life is to short to keep score...because of the emotional energy that follows. Yet, fairness and fighting off resentment is valuable to everyone.
  11. HannahT

    HannahT Newbie Supporter

    IE: Does your work offer tuition programs to pay for school? I know many companies that are willing to help with a major part of tuition to help you further your education. It helps the company - and you personally. Although, keep in mind they normally wish you to stick around for X number of years after graduation to get their investment back.

    Also community colleges are affordable, and have many programs to help you pay for them!
  12. HMS

    HMS Member

    United States
    Thank you all for your responses! Many of you have helped put the situation into a better perspective for me... And reading some, I even felt convicted. I know when I feel that way, it's God.

    Since I have made this post I have tried talking to my husband about the issue. At first, not getting anywhere. Then a little light. And finally after last night it's a full on glow He sought out wisdom from someone he trusted. Even though this person repeated everything I was trying to tell him, for some reason it was different coming from them. I have a couple people like that in my life too but now more than ever I realize the importance of community. Being a part of a God fearing community more specifically.

    Always, it will all be okay. My flesh just won't "Always" let me remember that.

    Thanks again for all your help
  13. bluegreysky

    bluegreysky Can't adult today.

    United States
    LOL try having a husband that sits at home all day while you work two jobs. Yes, he is a veteran so he gets a paycheck but it’s not really enough.
    You don’t know what you got till it’s gone....
  14. Dave-W

    Dave-W Grandparent of six grandchildren Supporter

    United States
    Welcome to the forums HMS.

    I see that you did not have adequate pre-marital counseling. You should get it NOW. (even though you have been married a while) It would still be very useful.
    Yeah - that is how it works sometimes. Often the spouse is just too close for things to come into proper focus.
  15. Yoona86

    Yoona86 Newbie

    New Zealand

    this maybe off topic

    but if you don't have kids, you might want to consider keep it that way

    obviously this is something you have to prayerfully consider.

    all signs are pointing persecution of Christians is coming

    it will be hard enough for those of us still here

    but as a parent, you don't want to watch your kids go through it.