The Student Loan Battle

Melissa has $12,000 left on a student loan. Her husband wants her to be responsible for paying it off and refuses to help with it. Dave thinks Melissa has a marriage issue.

QUESTION: Melissa in Spokane has $12,000 left on a student loan. Her husband wants her to be responsible for paying it off and refuses to help with it. Dave thinks Melissa has a marriage issue.

ANSWER: That’s fine as long as he takes care of himself when he gets the flu. What a butt! Are you his wife or his child? This is really unhealthy. I think it’s a marriage issue big time. If I said something like that to my wife, it wouldn’t go over well.

I’ll just tell you that’s an indicator of relationship issues. I’m picking on him pretty hard because I really don’t like his attitude, but the bottom line is how we handle our money speaks about our belief system. When you don’t handle your money in a marriage in a unified manner—meaning that we don’t combine and change our pronouns when we get married—then it is an indication of problems in the relationship and a breakdown in the relationship. Lots of couples handle their money separately, so I’m talking to a lot of people—not just you. Jesus said, “Your treasure is where your heart is.” When you combine your money, you have combined your future. When you don’t, you’ve got this joint venture thing going, which is not a healthy spirit. The preacher didn’t pronounce you a joint venture. He said, “And now you are one.” There’s a real missed opportunity for couples to work together. Sometimes, it just kind of happens that way. In your case, he’s been very intentional and aggressive about it, which is weird. That’s what got my back up in this conversation. It’s almost like he loves his little savings account more than his wife. I’m not saying that’s completely true, but that’s sometimes the message that you feel, I’ll bet.

It’s a battle worth fighting in your marriage in terms of you guys sitting down with a marriage counselor and starting to talk about having a combined life finally after two decades. And then write a check and pay off the student loan.