Don't Be a Doormat

Travis and his wife have $2,200 left in debt to go. However, Travis has no access to their money. She wants to control every dime, and Travis is left with no spending money.

QUESTION: Travis in Spokane and his wife have $2,200 left in debt to go. However, Travis has no access to their money. She wants to control every dime, and Travis is left with no spending money. Dave thinks there’s more going on here than the surface money problem.

ANSWER: I think what you can do is tell your boss you want off of direct deposit and you want the check made out to you—a paper check. But dude, this is a bigger problem than you getting a checking account open, isn’t it? This just sounds so abusive, and it’s just amazing to me sitting here talking to you that you put up with it. You’re just getting the crap beat out of you. You think by you being a complete wuss that’s going to cause your marriage to work? I’ll have a Dr. Phil moment with you. How’s that working for you? It’s not, dude.

Your wife wanted to marry a man—I think. Most women do. She didn’t, and you need to start being a man. You need to sit down with your wife and say, “This sucks. I’m not living like this. I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I’ve been being a wuss. I stop today. Now you’re going to have to deal with me because I am not your freaking little boy. I am now your husband.” That’s what I would do. What that’s going to cause is a major fight because she likes the control. And you say, “The deal is we apparently need to go to marriage counseling because I’m not going to live where you dangle money in front of me and you control me when I bring home the money. This is not going to happen. I have a vote here, too, and it starts today.” You don’t need to be abusive or mean about it, but you really need to suck it up and get the backbone in gear. You don’t have to be angry or a jerk to be firm or strong. Boy, this lady needs this badly. It’s the only chance your marriage has got. That’s just one guy to another. I’m not a marriage counselor.

These are things that have been running through your head anyway, so I’m kind of just almost your conscience speaking. Here’s the deal: She’s going to get tired of being married to a wuss. She didn’t really sign up for that either, and so there’s a little part of her that’s going to be kind of glad that you decided to have a backbone. It may not sound like it on the surface because you’re going to have to bust through all these control issues. I’ve got to tell you it goes both ways. I don’t want my wife to be just a doormat. Why do you want that? I want her to be able to express her opinion reasonably. I don’t want her to be a witch either. Your side of the coin needs to be shined up a little here, and then we just change the checking account to where it has both our names on it. We both do a budget together. We both are deciding what happens with this money. And if she wants to go to the movies with her mom, that’ll be fine and it’ll come out of our entertainment budget that we decided together, but I’m also going to have some money in my pocket that’s part of our budget because I didn’t sign up to work for you. I signed up to be your husband.

You’re going to have to deal with it head-on because we can try to do the mechanics, but we’re not dealing with the core spirit problem. If you can’t get past the storm, then go see your pastor or a good marriage counselor and get it to where you guys can talk this through. But dude, if it’s me, I’m done with that tonight.