Finding Contentment

Jill and her husband have been paying off debt, but he is not invested in the program since he works overseas. He's going along with it because he loves her. What can Dave say to help?

QUESTION: Jill in Texas and her husband have been paying off debt, but he is not invested in the program since he works overseas. They argue all the time. When he wants to buy something, she says no. He's going along with it because he loves her. What can Dave say to help? Dave thinks he knows the root cause of it.

ANSWER: Based on your description, he has stuff-itis. It's a spiritual disease where he thinks he'll be happy when he gets lots of stuff. He's not getting his way, and he's being childish. He doesn't have the ability to delay pleasure.

I went through hell to learn to control myself and my spending. In my 20s, if I wanted something, I bought it and thought I could out-earn my stupidity. I remember it being a personal and spiritual victory if I could leave a big store without buying something. When he goes into some big store, he sees something he has to buy. There comes a point where a person realizes that they can buy all sorts of stuff and realize that stuff won't make them happy. It's like someone who loves food. They think if they eat enough, they'll be satisfied.

Don't beat him up with "Dave Ramsey said this and Dave Ramsey said that." The fact is that he doesn't want to address his issues, and going to our Financial Peace University class will force him to. He's trying to find some way to make me un-credible, which lets him off the hook.

Your husband is discontented and has the idea that he can buy stuff to make him happy. I think he's a good man who is emotionally immature on this subject. I used to be that way, and I had my victory over it when I walked out of the big store without needing stuff. In my life, that was a spiritual decision. The more stuff you own, the more repairmen you have to know. Your stuff ends up owning you.

The answer you're looking for is a little deeper than just some technique to manipulate your husband. I want him to find his happiness in something other than stuff. That is essential to you guys unifying as a couple, and you quit being his mommy and telling him no, and he quits being a little boy. It will also help you guys reach your goals when you have that level of contentment.

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