And Two Become One: Combining Your Finances

Amber is a stay-at-home mom. Her husband says the money he earns is his, and he gives her an allowance. Amber is frustrated and asks if she should start billing him for what she does around the house.

QUESTION: Amber in Tacoma is a stay-at-home mom. Her husband says the money he earns is his, and he gives her an allowance. Amber is frustrated and asks if she should start billing him for what she does around the house. Dave says they need marriage counseling.

ANSWER: No, you need marriage counseling. This doesn’t have anything to do with Financial Peace. This has to do with your husband treats you like a financial twit. Let me just tell you if Sharon Ramsey treated me the way your husband treats you, we’d have a haymaker problem. He’s treating you like a 4-year-old, and he’s an overbearing jerk. I don’t know how you approach that exactly—possibly duct tape and a two-by-four involved. I don’t know.

I didn’t ask him to go into debt. I asked him to treat his wife with dignity. This is not about going into debt. This is about being in agreement on the handling of our money, and it’s not his money. It’s our money. Once you’re married, it’s our money, and if you don’t believe me, ask the state of Washington in a divorce when he starts giving child support and alimony. He’ll find out it’s our money. It is our money. It’s not his money. He’s completely out of line.

The attitude that you’re describing is so unappealing I don’t know how you’ve stayed in it, and I’m not surprised he’s been divorced twice before. It sounds like you guys really do need to sit down with a marriage counselor because this guy is untenable. You’re not going to stay in this situation unless you’re somebody who likes abuse.

Sharon and I have plenty of disagreements. Believe me, neither one of us are lacking in strong personality. It’s real easy for us to disagree. But at the end of the day, we’re going to be in agreement on things before we move forward. It’s not because I told her what to do or because she told me what to do. That’s not how this works. You’re not a child. You’re a grown woman, and he needs to treat you as such.

Your son is now learning how to be a man improperly. Your husband is not a man. He’s a scared little boy, but your son is learning how to be a man improperly because he’s going to treat his wife the same way. This is what’s being modeled before him. You have to fix this. This cannot stay this way. You have to get with it. Your husband is obviously a strong, strong personality. I hope that he can learn some humility and agree to work with his spouse because that’s what’s going to be required for your marriage to last and for you to model properly before your 5-year-old the proper way to treat a wife. A wife is a queen. She’s not the slave. She’s not the hired help.

You won’t see eye-to-eye unless you get some marriage help. You really have to call a marriage counselor today, Amber. This is really not a financial problem. This is really a problem of how your husband is treating you, and the two of you need to go see a marriage counselor. If he won’t go, go without him. Tell him he’s spending some of his money on marriage counseling. He might as well go and get the benefit. Your marriage counselor is going to have to teach you how to interact with him, and I’m not capable of doing that—certainly not in a two-minute radio call, probably not capable overall because I’m already pretty disgusted with him. It’s unbelievable.

I’ll give you a prediction. If you don’t do what I say, within three years, you’ll be divorced, because in talking to you, you’re not an unintelligent person, and you’re not going to sit there and continue in this level of emotional and financial abuse that you’re under. You’re being treated like you’re 4 years old, and you’re being mistreated as a result of his former wives’ misbehavior, but I suspect it wasn’t all on them.