Make Decisions Together

Carol Lee's husband doesn't like dealing with money. She is discouraged because it's tough to do it alone. Dave thinks there are some man issues going on in Carol Lee's household.

QUESTION: Carol Lee in Idaho has a husband who doesn’t like dealing with money. She handles it and he does what she tells him to. She is discouraged because it’s tough to do it alone. She told him that and he replies with talk about how it’s stressful for him. Dave thinks there are some man issues going on in Carol Lee’s household.

ANSWER: If I’m in your shoes, I really need him to be a man. That doesn’t mean he needs to take over paying the bills, but you’re carrying the entire weight of all the financial decisions and stress of this household by yourself and that’s unfair. By the way, it’s unfair for a man to carry it all by himself. It’s not a sex issue.

I’m the money guy. Everybody in America asks about money, and I don’t do this at my house. Sharon’s involved in the decisions. We look at our budget. We decide what we’re going to spend money on. I execute the budget once we’ve agreed to it, but we don’t have a thing where Sharon’s a little girl and her daddy named Dave takes care of her. That’s how this sounds. You feel like his mom rather than his wife. You need him to man up here. That’s what you’re saying.

You’re not asking him to become a nerd. You’re going to lay out a budget and a game plan and ask him to look at it with you for a few minutes each week. You need 15–20 minutes of his time each week. He can’t just say, “Whatever you want to do, honey.” He has to actually look at it and carry the weight of this household with you. You’ll go write the checks and do the details, and he doesn’t have to worry about all of that because you’re the bookkeeper of the family. You’ll be happy to do that part of it—be the accountant or the CFO. You and he together are the Board of Directors, and you’re going to make the decision and give direction to the CFO. You’ll be the CFO and write the checks. But you making all the decisions and protecting him from being stressed—you’re done with that. That’s not a mean thing. He just needs to carry his part of the weight of this. I don’t think he realizes that that’s the way this feels to you. You’re going to have to communicate that pretty clearly.