I’m trying to cut expenses, but my wife won’t get on board

May 16th, 2017 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 6 comments

I have been listening to your podcasts for about a year now and find them very insightful. I was raised a Baptist and am now a confirmed Roman Catholic. I find that every week your subject matter always seems to address something that is going on at that moment. 

I have had a lot of changes in my life recently, some by choice, others by necessity. At 38 I have realized that my wife and I need to start being good stewards of our money and to stop living beyond our means.

 I now have a career that requires that I have good credit but is a decent paying job. My problem is that I am having trouble getting my wife onboard with the idea. I realize that we need to tighten our belts for the time being. 

Do you have any advice on how to convince her of this?

Thank you for your time and God bless you.

Sincerely,

Frank G.

Answer: 

Dear Frank,

Congratulations on the new job as well as on entering the world of economic adulthood. Living beyond your means isn’t a good idea at any time, but recognizing that in your late thirties rather than later hopefully gives you time to turn things around.

You don’t mention how long you’ve been married, but it sounds like you are unilaterally changing the rules of the marriage. If until now, you and your wife have been spending indiscriminately and somehow making do, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can’t just come home and announce a new way of living. You may have had an epiphany but your wife hasn’t.

The language you used in your letter suggests that your marriage and your finances both need work.  Note how you use the first person singular-I. “At 38 I have realized that my wife and I need to start being good stewards…”  One spouse might decide that a conversation is necessary or that he/she wants to discuss something but on important issues, we would have preferred seeing you say, “My wife and I have realized…”

We very much want you to stick to your new resolution. We would strongly recommend that you sign up for one of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace courses along with your wife. However, you need to invest the time in building the partnership and then give her time to arrive at the same conclusion that you have. Independently decreeing  a new regime just won’t cut it.

For the sake of your marriage, you may initially need to make the greater sacrifice, cutting out more of your pleasures rather than asking your wife to cut out hers. If she is the good woman we assume she is, then when she sees you taking finances seriously as well as when she processes the information from the class, we think she will get on board.

May your marriage and work be blessed and bear fruit,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

FEATURED SALE ITEM – Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel

  • What is Pharaoh’s connection with the Tower of Babel?
  •  What does Nimrod mean in Hebrew?
  • What do your fingerprints say about you?
  • All this and more in 2 audio CDs +study guide
       

 

Tags: , ,

6 comments

Mark Lampe says:

One of the many biblical truths that really struck me was, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) We were in the same boat as Frank and his spouse, too much month at the end of the money, so it really resonated with us and we have freed ourselves by learning to budget and to not forget to honor the Lord first. We are retired and on a fixed income and as the head of the household I handle the finances and have found it prudent to set up an auto-pay program in support of certain ministries which comes off the front end of our monthly paycheck. At first I was concerned that I might be shorting us financially, but then God seems to be in control after all and remarkably we’ve never had to worry. There’s an admonition we strive to live by which really dovetails perfectly with Proverbs, “Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. (Rom. 13:7 – 8)

I recall how years ago Ralph Williams the auto salesman would show off gleaming new cars and say something to the effect, “you owe it to yourself to have one of these beautiful new automobiles as a sign of your success.” He was employing the same kind of temptation used in Eden, a three pronged appeal to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. When we practice recognizing it in our own daily lives, then we can overcome the temptation to live beyond our means. We wish Frank and his spouse well as they strike out on this new and liberating course.

Susan Lapin says:

What a great quote from Ralph Williams – that is the basis of so much advertising, the idea that you deserve one thing or another.

James says:

I went through a period of protracted financial irresponsibility when I was much younger. My poor father, child of the Great Depression and a consummate businessman, did all he could to advise me that money does not grow on trees, but I will admit to being spoiled and perhaps also a bit tainted by the insidious virus of Baby-Boomer ‘entitlement,’ hating ‘materialism.’ When Father first lectured me, then hammered me as a prodigal youth I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, here goes old materialistic Ebenezer Scrooge once again!’ I wish Father had known and used the tack of Rabbi Lapin, who convinced me once and for all with his parable of the gorilla and the gold coins, that money is a spiritual commodity. That blinding revelation destroys the false label of ‘materialism.’ When I went back into Graduate School after age 25, I never asked Father for another penny, but I still have the feeling that he never forgave me, because every time I saw him, he would stick another needle in my side: ‘Remember that time you left the cap off the toothpaste in 1969?’ You know what? What goes around comes around. Your kids will pay you back. Tee hee hee.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thanks for reminding me, James,
of my powerful story or parable I love telling about the gorilla and the gold.
Sorry you and your dad didn’t make peace after your obvious transformation.
Cordially
RDL

James says:

Thanks, Rabbi! Your ‘gorilla and gold’ story is powerful indeed, for even after my ‘transformation’ it turned my head around. Actually I knew well that I was spending too much $$ over those 3-4 years and vowed to pay him back later. When later I did try to pay him back, he would not accept my offerings. Yet he continued to needle me unmercifully at every opportunity. Ofttimes when someone has a problem with you, as in bullying, you must realize and come to peace with the realization that their problem with YOU actually has less to do with your own behavior and more to do with THEM. Aside: I wonder if ancestry (whether nature of nurture) plays a role, for certain ‘ethnicities’ are renowned for their remembrance of slights, i.e. who never, ever forget an injury, whether actual, perceived or imagined. GULP!

H- says:

Dear sir and madamme Lapin,

This is a great point, be the change you want to see in (fill in whatever situation).

I am now trying to apply this life rule: be the first to.. If I have a prolonged relationship with people or even short ones I try to be the first to be kind, courteous etc. Even when they are complete jerks.

I find this to be a great relief because I exercise control over whatever I can control. The other things dont cross my mind.

Great podcast as usual and welcome back Mrs Lapin. The topic of your blogpost I have not enough knowledge of to comment on. I find it very hard to show admiration for America because ever since they started to deal with my native country they have done nothing but cause suffering for us. The hypocritical dealings with visiting headchopping sheiks and dictators but then turning around and oppressing the poor who just dont want a handout has me rolling my eyes whenever America is glorified. That is whatever political machine is sitting in Washington. American people however who have contributed in positive ways to others lives-like you- I can show love for all day every day. Its a part I have to bite through whenever I listen to the podcast or read a blog, Ill gladly do it though because your content is sound.

Kind regards,

H-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.This is a required field!

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Search Questions

Do you love reading our Ask the Rabbi column? Now, get 101 favorite questions and answers in one delightful book.

Dear Rabbi and Susan: 101 Real Life ‘Ask the Rabbi’ Questions

Learn More | Add to Cart

X