Identity Or Something Else?

Jake's wife has her own money as a gift from her parents. They've been married 11 years, and he wonders how upset he should be about this.

QUESTION: Jake in Dallas says his wife has her own money as a gift from her parents. They’ve been married 11 years, and he wonders how upset he should be about this. Dave doesn’t see a reason for her to keep it separate in their situation and suggests asking her why she’s keeping it separate.

ANSWER: If everything’s healthy, I don’t understand the need to keep it separate. That’s one thing that’s bothering me. I think it’s worth talking about.

We don’t have anything that’s separate at our house. I guess another way to do it is to reverse the shoes and put them on your feet. If you got a $10,000 gift from outside, would you desire to keep that separate? If so, why?

I understand it’s a gift from her parents, but you’ve been married 11 years. If it was a short marriage or the marriage was unstable, it’d be logical. Have a level of trust and develop a reason, but there’s nothing in this scenario you’ve given me that’s broken here that’s a reason for her to keep it separate. I think that’s what’s bothering me more than the fact that it’s separate if I’m in your shoes—the why. Why does it need to be separate?

Is it representative of her getting a little bit of identity or something? If so, then your name ought to be on it, too. Dig into it and find out what’s going on here. Whatever you find is how big of a stink you make out of it. You may find something that needs some work in the relationship that you didn’t know was there. But it may be that it’s kind of just a little identity thing and maybe it’s not that big a deal for you to just put your name on the account with her, and then we nickname it.