Inquiry Hour Finances and Marriages

“I have remarried two years ago to a caring and considerate man. He moved into my home with my two kids (who are now away at college). When he arrived, he subtly let me know that he didn’t expect to pay any household expenses. I work part-time and have some family inherited money, but I’m still on a budget. I didn’t mind paying for everything until the pandemic hit. Now, I’ve lost my job and my investments have taken a hit, so my finances are tight. I’ve brought up my situation several times, but my husband says things are tight for him too. (Our incomes are about the same.) I can’t help feeling hurt and resentful. He knows this, but he does nothing. Any advice?”

Florida Kweekeh has been wise from the start. Read more to see how she answers this question.

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I am sorry to learn about your financial circumstances. Working part-time prior to COVID-19 and now with COVID-19 being out of work is a major problem.

There are a couple of questions I would have asked you before making my comments. Before you got married to this husband how did you subtly assume, he was not going to contribute to household expenses? Relationships have written, spoken, and unspoken contracts. It would seem that you accepted an unspoken contract with your second husband that you will not expect him to contribute to the household expenses. Maybe because at that time you could cover your expenses without his contribution. However, now that things have changed financially for you, you need to renegotiate your unspoken contract verbally.

Find an ideal time when both you and your husband are relaxed and begin the negotiation of how he can assist in paying for some of the expenses.

Before you start this negotiation, make a list of your expenses and share this information with him during the negotiation. I am using the word “Negotiation and not discussion” because this is a spoken contract. Let him review the list of expenses and tell you which he can pay for. Make sure you know he is able to cover that amount he is pledging to give. If you need him to up the amount let him know. Negotiate until you come to a place where your expenses can be covered. If you have to go to the food bank and other places for social services include all of that. You both can also decide on what item needs to be cut out of your expenses. This strategy is to get your husband to get involved and feel his assistance is a need. You are doing this with respect for each other and owing to your problem together. 

Let him know that he should feel free to call a meeting for reviewing your plan. If he is not working, encourage him to get a job.

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