My dad judges my husband for not making more money

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My husband and I have been married for two years and have been together for five years. We are both in our late 20s and live in New York. He works for a nonprofit and I’m a management consultant. Overall, we are quite happy. But an important issue is that my father does not agree that my husband does not earn a lot of money. This is especially bad on the holidays, when we visit my family, and always leads to stress.

I know that my dad is very mean and cares about me. But he thinks that my husband lacks ambition and is “grabbing” my income. He commented that we need to plan for the future more and our household income will be hard to live with when we have kids (which we hope to do one day) there). The point is, he’s not entirely wrong. I certainly don’t think my husband is lazy and I’m perfectly happy making more money than he does. But sometimes I wish he could contribute more to our mutual expenses and savings (his salary is less than half what I earn – I’m on the low six numbers and he made a little over $50,000). However, he was very emotional about it, especially because of my dad. When I talk about the future, he’s really defensive. I also worry that I might be understanding what my father is saying. Am I selfish to think these things? What should I do?

There’s a lot going on here! Dad issues, marriage problems, the inevitable conflict between how you were raised and how you chose to live your own adult life – no wonder you’re stumped. But first things first: You need to talk to your dad about his worries, and get rid of them as much as possible.

“There needs to be a line between your marriage and your father’s,” says Megan McCoy, a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University. Friend. But instead of just telling your dad, it’s more helpful to address his fears about your finances directly. McCoy explains: “Ask your dad what, to be exact, he’s so worried about healing for both of you.

Encourage him to be as specific as possible. For example, he may be concerned that you (hypothetically) won’t be able to have the same lifestyle that he has provided for your family. Then move on to other questions – what’s the worst that could happen if that’s the case? From there, you can assure him that you’re satisfied with what you have and that you make enough money to live comfortably, etc. McCoy.

If this approach doesn’t produce the desired results and your dad is still grumbling about your husband’s paycheck, you can be more aggressive about telling him to give it up. McCoy adds: “Your dad needs to learn how to manage these emotions on his own. She recommends drawing a clear line by saying something like, “Dad, we talked about this already, remember?” End of story.

This does not solve the problem of how Friend However, get a feel for your partner’s earnings. And I understand your internal contradictions around this. You seem uncertain about the source of your financial worries – are they the result of your dad’s bullying? Or your own fear of self-sufficiency? It’s hard to give legitimacy to your worries when you’re not sure who to register them for. And it doesn’t help if you feel embarrassed about them.

Shannon Curry, a therapist who specializes in couples and financial issues, says, “Let go of money shame and financial concerns so you can see clearly what they are all about. meaningful to you. “Is there a particular value that you assign to a person as an earner?” Conversely, do you have a negative association with people who are financially dependent on their partner?

While you’re there, think about the values ​​your father modeled for you. I point this out because you clearly relate to your father’s point of view, and you see the reasoning behind his opinion. What lessons has he taught you, knowingly and unknowingly, about money and family? What do you admire about him, how about you? Not want to emulate? “Your father’s fear is probably similar to your fear because you are socialized with his beliefs about money,” says McCoy. “Talking to him about this and thinking about it for yourself will help you better understand how your perspective differs from his.” From there, you’ll be better equipped to discuss them with your partner.

The best way to bring this topic up with your husband is to bring it up for him while you’re both hungry and tired. Just kidding. You want to give him a lot of notice in advance so he has time to gather his thoughts. “We tend to hold off on financial conversations until something goes wrong,” says McCoy. “But research shows that if you create goals together, your relationship satisfaction increases.” So instead of seeing money as a problem to be solved, approach it as something that allows you to do the things you want to do as a couple. McCoy recommends saying something like, “I know we’ve had some stress on our finances. Let’s take a look at our goals for the next few years. And then we can plan, based on our salary, how we can achieve those goals. “

Of course, your goal may not be reasonable based on your current salary. This is completely normal. The most important thing is to start a healthy conversation, not create a bad 10-year plan with spreadsheets. “You’ll feel closer to each other if you stay focused on your goals and from there can continue to have a harder conversation about how you can pay for them,” McCoy said. “It is human nature to see everything very black and white, with a solution. But in reality, sometimes the sixth solution is a good one – so the goal is to keep talking. “

Another tip for these tough conversations: Bring a pencil and paper. “The act of physically writing things down – whether it’s numbers or ideas or whatever – can relieve some of the pressure,” says McCoy. It also helps each person express themselves more clearly. Sometimes people hear what they want to hear, but if they write it down, their partner can see what resonates and get a chance to clarify. (Literally, you’re on the same page.)

Finally, remember that many of these conflicts will always be there, so you can also feel comfortable with them. “Most problems in a marriage will never be resolved. It’s often because they have differences in finances, organizations, parenting styles, and spiritual beliefs,” Curry said. “These things have to do with the way we were raised and our overall differences in temperament and experience as two separate people.” In other words, it’s completely normal to feel like your husband is a lazy, free-spirited, and unsuccessful person from time to time. But you can have those thoughts and still love him, appreciate his positive qualities, and ultimately work toward your shared goals together.

Unless that’s not really true, of course. If your husband’s guarding against money doesn’t improve despite your best efforts, and you’re increasingly resentful of him, it’s possible that some of your (and your dad’s) fears are not improving. is useful. Sometimes real financial differences cannot be blamed for the paradox in a marriage and require larger interventions (counseling is one place to start). But you can only find out by addressing these concerns directly with your husband, openly and kindly, with your father. My dad judges my husband for not making more money


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