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Is She Emasculating Her Husband With an Allowance?

Ms. Vicki

Money can be one of the toughest things to talk about in a marriage. From my professional experience, money can make or break a marriage. It can be a major source of stress or a source of happiness.

Many studies show that men are more emotionally connected to their careers and finances. In other words, if a man has a good career and income, his self-esteem will be higher than a man who doesn't have either. Let's take a look at marriage and money in the letter below:

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband is making a big deal about his allowance. He says it's not fair that he has to live with a $50 allowance each week. But when I let him have free rein over the household money, he goes crazy with it and our bills get paid late or not at all.

He's making this a "man issue," but he is bringing all of this on himself by acting so immaturely. He's the one who wanted a traditional marriage, meaning that I stay at home and take care of our child, I manage the finances and he works. Well, he asked for it and he got it! So how can he back out on our agreement for the past six years of our marriage?

Now he's throwing tantrums like a 2-year-old and threatening me by saying things like "This is my money," "Go make your own money," and "You're not my responsibility." These are all lies. I am absolutely his responsibility, and his money belongs to me too. He has to take care of both of us.

It's not my fault that he's a second lieutenant with some prior service. He can't expect to live like he's a captain or a major when he's not one. Basically, I want to know how I can stop his threats. He wanted me to be a stay-at-home wife and mom, and he's the one who always pushes out his chest when he tells people "my wife doesn't have to work."

Well, he needs to stop complaining and man up to his agreements, right? I'm tired of hearing him complain about his allowance.

Sincerely,
Money Manager

Dear Money Manager,

You seem to be very stressed about the household finances. I understand. However, I think you are emasculating your husband and treating him like a child.

I agree with you that household finances should be carefully managed, but giving him an allowance is not fair to him, especially just $50. That's pretty ridiculous.

You seem to be making some disparaging remarks about his rank of second lieutenant instead of applauding his efforts. You will ruin your marriage if you don't make some changes.

A marriage needs to be equitable in order to work. In other words, your husband shouldn't have all of the financial power because he is the only income earner in the home. On the other hand, you shouldn't rule the finances with an iron fist, either. My first bit of advice is to stop with the $50 allowance. Take a look at some other suggestions below:

1. Avoid Naming and Blaming: This is all of your fault, you can do better, you always do this, this always happens when ... Any of that sound familiar? The list can go on and on and will only lead to increased escalation, anger and more arguments. Problems won't be solved when you name and blame.

2. Make a Budget Together: These are tough financial times for many families, especially when there is only one income earner. You have to sit down together to discuss your finances and make a budget. Your husband needs to have input. He shouldn't have an allowance. It's reasonable for him to have some spending limits due to financial constraints, but not for a grown man to have an allowance. In your budget meeting, figure out where the extra spending occurs and find ways to cut costs with coupons and shopping during sales. You would be surprised at how much additional disposable income you can find when you do this. You should also consider getting part-time or full-time employment.

3. Visit with a therapist or counselor: Money has become a major issue in your marriage. Because of this I would highly recommend you visit with a marriage therapist and a budget counselor. Both of these services are offered on military installations in the family services section.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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