I’m married for 18+ years, have three kids and live in the US but I’m originally from Pakistan/India. I and my husband are both educated and have a good understanding, except in few situations.
My husband is a very funny, loving and religious man, but has a bossy nature, demands all the time and has extreme expectations. He loves money, fame, and leadership.
I’m simple by nature, have a moderate attitude in almost everything and I’m not really fond of money. I don’t spend too much money, but I like taking care of my family’s needs, keeping the budget in mind.
My husband, however, enjoys spending without limits on his own but is always very cautious about my spending. He thinks he is always providing the best and never felt the need to give regular spending money to me. When asked, he says he has never limited on spending as he gave me credit cards, but he is always keeping every single transaction in close check.
Even after spending years with me and seeing that I’m trustworthy, he still cannot put complete trust in me, despite that I have never taken a penny without my husband's consent. I felt disheartened at times when he differentiated between buying gifts for my family and his family. I tried to have equality to some extent but never argued.
The main problem has started with financial matters. I worked on and off due to family and never had my own bank account. I put my savings in a joint account. However, my husband has always been a typical Pakistani/Indian man, being busy with work all the time. He wants to support me emotionally and financially, but he has never consulted me regarding spending.
After many years, I separated my bank account, thinking my husband will realize his mistake of not treating me equally in finances. But instead, things have become worse. Now he feels threatened and creates even more problems. He still does not feel involving me in making our financial decisions together.
Should I keep our accounts separate but still contribute to the family expenses? How to keep our relationship going with love and mutual respect? My intention is not to compete with my husband, but I need financial independence - but how?
In this counseling answer:
• Set a good space to have this conversation regarding finances.
• Acknowledge his efforts as a provider over the years and show gratitude for his generosity.
• If he asks why you don’t feel secure, open the discussion regarding disclosure and transparency around family budget and spending trends.
• Emphasize the point that the finance system you two had in place in the past was working well but now needs to be readdressed and restructured. As people and marriages evolve, so do their relational systems.
• Remind him that having your own account is legitimate since your wealth is protected under Islamic law.
As-Salaam ’Alaikum sister,
A few points to consider regarding your own separate account and how to keep mutual respect and love.
Your husband works long hours and this means he is probably stressed out often. This probably contributes to his moods and reactions that you described as getting angry and controlling of money. When anyone works hard for something, they are more protective of it.
Sometimes when we work hard, we tend to enjoy ourselves; this may be why you described your husband as a “spender.” This helps him enjoy life.
You mentioned that he always provides everything for you and your family; thus, he meets his obligation as a provider. He does not withhold anyone’s rights.
The example you gave about family gifts is considered a luxury or extra token of generosity on his part, not an obligation. However, this example you gave may indicate your general frustration with your husband and his relations with your family.
How to approach your husband
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Set a good space to have this conversation regarding finances.
Acknowledge his efforts as a provider over the years and show gratitude for his generosity.
Remind him that having your own account is not an act of defiance or competition but rather a way for you to feel more secure.
If he asks why you don’t feel secure, open the discussion regarding disclosure and transparency around family budget and spending trends. Share how you feel that there should be more discussion, consultation, and trust after all these years.
Emphasize the point that the finance system you two had in place in the past was working well but now needs to be readdressed and restructured. As people and marriages evolve, so do their relational systems. This matter is simply about improvement for your marriage.
Remind him that having your own account is legitimate since your wealth is protected under Islamic law. What you provide for the family is from your generosity. Hence, he should not get upset about this, especially because it seems you have shown an excellent track record of having courtesy and respect towards your husband when it comes to finances.
It is not wrong for you to have your own account, sister. Parameters and systems around finances in your marriage are really up to the two of you. It should not be an issue of competition or threat, rather evolve as a team to meet each other’s needs in the most balanced way. Open the conversation and find a middle ground between your positions.
May God give both of you success in your endeavors, amen.
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