Need Financial Counseling or Marriage Counseling?

October 25th, 2010, by

Q: My husband has a $20,000 debt on an open line of credit. The interest rate is 27.5% and rising. The monthly payment is $540. Maybe about $50 of that monthly payment goes to the principal. I have been trying to look into programs for him because he says he doesn’t have time. Bull! Anyone who doesn’t have time for their finances is throwing their money to the air. This $20,000 debt is financially killing us.

Powder Springs, GA

A: Honestly, what you and your husband need is marriage therapy.

I noticed you didn’t actually ask me a question. That alone tells me this issue is about more than money.

You need help with the debt; but mostly, you need a constructive way
to deal with your frustration. Perhaps your husband won’t listen to you
about the debt because of the way you are approaching him. Clearly, you
are angry, and for good reason, and that may make your money
conversations adversarial.

What really stood out to me were the repeated references to his debt.
I know many couples run their financial household like they are single,
with separate banking and savings accounts and bill-paying, but this method isn’t working for your marriage.

You need to get to the bottom of why your husband won’t deal with the
debt. Why is he spending so much? What can you do to better handle your
finances as a couple?

To find a therapist in your area, check with your workplace medical
plan to see if therapy is offered. Your church or religious organization
might also provide counseling. You can also find a therapist by going
to The Family and Marriage Counseling Directory. Type in your city and
state, and you get a list of counselors.

It’s not just the $20,000 that is killing you; it’s the inability to work together.

Last modified: April 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm