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Ask Dave

He's A Dictator

Megan and her husband can't get on the same page. She doesn't know how to approach him without pushing the issue. Dave doesn't think Megan's husband grasps how much damage he's doing.

QUESTION: Megan in Grand Rapids and her husband can’t get on the same page. She’s a stay-at-home mom, and when they try to do a budget, he calls it his money. He’s also a spender, and Megan is a saver. She doesn’t know how to approach him without pushing the issue. Dave doesn’t think Megan’s husband grasps how much damage he’s doing.

ANSWER: He’s not going to keep the budget because he’s a dictator. Dictators are only benevolent when they choose to be. What he’s going to have to understand is that he doesn’t own anything anymore, that now we own it. My wife Sharon has not had an outside income since my daughter, who’s 26 years old, was born. She has an exact, equal say in all of our major decisions and in our household monthly budget. We agree together. She doesn’t spend money that I don’t agree to. I don’t spend money that she doesn’t agree to. I “make all the money” at my house. That’s the deal. That’s how marriage is done. God didn’t say, “Okay, now you’re in charge because the one who makes the money gets to make the decisions.” That’s not how a proper relationship works.

It sounds to me like you guys are in desperate need of some basic marriage counseling. Call your pastor. Schedule a marriage counseling session. If your husband won’t go, go without him. Start learning how to talk to him and how to draw him into that situation. My guess is that your relationship has not evolved by intentional, step-by-step things where each of you were very careful to understand how marriage works, understand a husband’s role, understand a wife’s role, those kinds of things. Instead, life just happened, and you put a ring on your fingers. Nobody’s ever stopped and said, “Hey, guys, this is how you do it right.” Instead, you were just living, and you’re over here waving a flag going, “Hello! It’s not working.” He’s looking at everybody going, “Why isn’t it working? Seems okay to me!” That’s the process you’re forced to look at.

I think he’s probably a pretty good guy. I think he’s just immature, and he’s a little selfish. What if he just said, “I’m going to have nothing to do with the children anymore. They’re your problem. I make the money. You have to do everything with the children.” You do most of it because you’re a full-time mom. That’s your gig. But he’s not going to do anything with the children. They are your problem. You would say, “That’s an unacceptable answer. I’m going to box your little ears.” Right? If he persisted in that over and over, you would say, “We have a major marital breakdown here, and we’re going to need some counseling from an outside source that we both trust to guide us through how to be a better married couple.” That’s really where you are.

I would recommend that you go see your pastor today or call him. Schedule a counseling session. I don’t think this is anything that can’t be overcome. I think he can overcome it. I think he just doesn’t grasp how much damage he’s doing. He’s just a young, immature husband/father who needs some help. A couple of books to throw out there for you to pick up immediately are Love and Respect by Eggerichs and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Make sure that you guys are working on the same page, and I think you’ll be in a good place then.