Am I enabling my husband's irresponsibility?


We have been married for two years. I became pregnant about 3 months after our marriage and we have a wonderful baby son. I am now pregnant with our second child. Since it is the early stages I am very nauseous and have been sick for four weeks now. I do not work outside the home.

My husband works for a small software company and makes a very small salary. I love him very much but he spends money like we will always have it. He’s running up the credit cards and eating out almost every day. I ask him to do things around the house (like put the baby proofing on the cabinets and drawers that I can’t do in my present condition) and he just doesn’t do it. He hasn’t mowed the lawn in three weeks. I found out he hasn’t been paying the bills on time and we are having to pay not only interest but also penalties and late fees.

I don’t ask him to do the chores around the house, like the laundry and cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen. It doesn’t do any good. He tells me he needs specifics but, even after I make detailed lists, he just ignores it all. He cooks wonderful meals but he leaves the dirty pans and utensils and dishes for me to clean. There are a myriad of other things but I think you get the main idea.

We have fought about this before but I want to remain patient and calm for the children’s sake. I’ve told him he has to set a good example for them but he just agrees with me and sits at his computer and chats with his friends half the night. Then he is so tired he loses his temper with the baby and scares me. He doesn’t abuse him, but he truly doesn’t know his own strength.

What am I doing wrong? How can I make him understand that he is not being a good husband and father without hurting his feelings? Sometimes, he hits the wall with his fist if he’s angry. Sometimes he gets depressed and tells me he’s just a no good bum. I’ve talked to a priest but maybe I should look for a counselor? I want our relationship to grow and be healthy but it certainly doesn’t feel that way right now. I’m scared we’ll get into such debt, we’ll never get out especially considering we couldn’t afford insurance for me so we’ll have to pay for the doctor, hospital, and lab ourselves when the new baby comes.

The anxiety is making me feel more ill. Can anyone suggest something low cost? I’ve been praying to St Joseph but he must have other more urgent cases. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you so much.


I think you both need to meet with a priest and then have counseling.

Your husband should not be scaring you with his anger.

Your husband should not be chatting with online friends half the night.

Your husband should not be buying extras and neglecting the essential bills so that you fall behind.

Your husband sounds like he has self-esteem issues or even depression and he is taking it out on you and your children.

I think a good talk with a priest and meetings with a counselor will set you on the right track.

Don’t beat yourself up about any of the things I talked about above. Do keep your son away from his father when he’s irritable. Do try to make your husband’s lunches when you feel well enough to cut down on the cost of his eating out. Do see if your husband will let you take control of the finances so that the bills get paid and you aren’t paying late fees and penalties. Do what you can and try counseling to see what can be changed about your husband’s behavior.

And congratulations on your newest blessing! :slight_smile:


You aren’t doing anything wrong.

He is acting like he’s still 16 and living at home with mommy. He is a husband and a father. Ignoring responsibilities and chatting on the computer all night is not acceptable. Acting aggressive and angry is not acceptable. Spending outside the budget is not acceptable. Disengaging from family responsibilities is not acceptable.

Well, perhaps trying not to “hurt his feelings” is the wrong approach. If you’ve been using the soft approach and it hasn’t worked, perhaps it’s time for another. Personally, I’d get into counseling as soon as possible.

Yep. A counselor would be a good idea. He’s acting in all manner of unacceptable ways-- he seems to possibly have some depression going on: spending long hours on the computer, saying he’s “no good”, spending lots of money you don’t have.

Maybe he thought marriage was about “playing house” and doesn’t understand how to be an adult, responsible, husband & father.

Get your debt under control. Contact a credit counseling agency. In some areas Catholic Charities does credit counseling. Any group affiliated with the NFCC is reputable, go to their website or look in your phone book. Or, get Dave Ramsey’s book and follow it. BUT for either to work, your DH has to stop spending, set up a budget and stick to it.

If he won’t cut the spending, be responsible, engage in the family life, and change his ways-- you have some very tough decisios ahead of you. Someone who won’t change behaviors such as these has serious character flaws, possibly psychologicla problems.

Did NONE of this show it’s face before you were married?


Here is a low cost suggestions that you may not welcome: Stop complaining.

(Warning: The following post is in the style of “Dr. Laura”. As another low cost alternative to counseling, I also suggest her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands [/FONT] )

Couples should determines together the division of household chores. If you stay home full time while he supports the family financially by himself, I think it is perfectly reasonable for the one who stays home to do the majority of the cleaning, cooking, bill paying and yes, even the lawn mowing if that’s how they decide to split chores.

I would have a problem if my husband ran up the credit card charges beyond what we can afford. But when we pay late fees, it is my fault because I’m the one who pays the bills around here. And if our bills include things like meals out that we can’t afford, I would feel that it was also partly my fault. You write that he cooks, and you also write that he eats out often. I noted in you’re in your first trimester and nauseous, so maybe this is only a temporary problem, but if you stay home you could make his lunch or cook so he doesn’t resort to eating out once a day. Granted, as you are pregnant, you might not be able to do this or some of the other suggestions. But if you nag him and complain all the time, don’t be surprised when he’s gets angry. As for the baby proofing, if you can’t do it and he won’t, consider hiring someone to do it. Not every man is handy with a tool belt.

Yes, he knows he needs to set a good example for the children–you need to know that too. You have a son–your son needs a father, not a housekeeper. Don’t verbally beat up your son’s father and make him feel like he’s less than a man simply because he won’t wash the dishes to your satisfaction once he’s done cooking after working full time to provide for his wife and child.

Sorry if I come off as too abrupt, but based on what you wrote, I don’t see evidence of an irresponsible husband. I see evidence of a complaining wife who could be hurting her husband and her marriage.


Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. Enabling juvenile behavior that could lead this young family into financial ruin is NOT being a good wife or mother. This couple needs counseling, and they need it NOW. There are ominous signs of depression here, and this concerned young wife won’t help that by shutting up and acting like Marabel Morgan (you youngsters may need to look that up…)


I agree with this 100%.

This thread is a perfect illustration that two people can have the same set of facts presented to them but still see things completely differently. In reading a response above, I thought I was in bizarro world because I disagreed so much, but it just shows that everyone sees things differently.

In any event, these isues need to be addressed NOW and I would recommend counseling for the OP and her hubby with a Catholic counselor (your priest might be a good place to start but you might need additional counsel too) to help deal with the problem issues. In a successful marriage, BOTH spouses need to give 150% instead of 50% each, but I don’t think that is the only problem here. I think finding out what the other problems are with counseling and then addressing them will be most beneficial.


Don’t worry about hurting his feelings, sit him down go over the facts with him and have a serious conversation with him.

If it was just about him not doing stuff around the house I would have to say not to worry, it won’t be fun but you will get used to it, but the spending worries me. If he is running up bills while you can’t even afford health insurance, which is what this sounds like from your post, he needs to grow up and learn a budget.

My husband likes to spend without worrying about what we can afford, but he has had to learn that it doesn’t work like that, we don’t have credit cards, but if there isn’t money at the end of the month for the bills it is bad.


I agree that counseling is important. In the meantime, I’d suggest taking over the bill paying to ensure that things are paid timely. If possible, I’d suggest cutting up the credit cards. If it’s possible, I’d work out a limitation on online time. Contrary to the earlier poster, these problems won’t go away just if you accept it and try to simply use positive reinforcement with your husband. He’s treating you like his mother, and he needs to grow up and be a man.


Enabling juvenile behavior that could lean this young family to financial ruin? She wrote about credit card debt, and I agreed I would have a problem with that. However, the only example she gave of his buying what they can’t afford was meals out once a day. He cooks, then she complains he doesn’t clean up the kitchen adequately after cooking; he eats out then she complains about the cost. What’s he suppose to do? The guy’s gotta eat. :shrug:

I’m not saying his behavior is perfect or desirable, but the op asked what she could to and specifically asked for low cost suggestions. I suggested she cook his meals and stop complaining about things like how he leaves the kitchen so he doesn’t end up eating out daily when they can’t afford that. (I looked up Marabel Morgan, but I suggest the op use the seran wrap around sandwiches. ;)) I also suggested she take charge of paying the bills to avoid the late fees.

You say you see signs of depression–don’t you think working a low paying job trying to support a pregnant wife and child, then coming home to a wife who complains that he doesn’t do enough would get depressing?


I have to agree with gardens.

I feel very compassionate to the op. I know it’s hard to have morning sickness and take care of a toddler. I know you are depending on your dh to take care of you. I know when you don’t feel well, and are tired, and life is really stressful, it’s easy to blame your husband.

I know all this because I’ve done that very thing. In fact, when life gets hard, I catch myself doing it all over. It’s a really bad pattern that you should break as early as possible.

I try to condition myself to this philosophy: if I can’t or won’t do a chore (like mowing the lawn), and for some reason, he won’t do it, I either find someone else to do it, or I decide not to care.

It might help your peace of mind with the money though to write out the bill due dates on a calendar.

And, for all my dh’s faults, I know that he has more to complain about me. poor guy.


I think he sounds like an abuser. He hasn’t done anything full-blown yet, but it’s coming. And when he abuses, he will claim that it is all his wife’s fault (or his children’s fault), and she will be so confused that she will agree with him and try hard to be a better wife so that he won’t become angry and abusive.

People should not hit their fist against the wall. That’s an ominous sign.

My reaction was to get out before you or your children get hurt (yes, I’m including the unborn child). Get to a safe place first and keep yourself safe. THEN get counseling.


This mom has barely been married two years, has a child already and is currently suffering with bad morning sickness; I think it is hardly unreasonable to expect a husband to help out more than usual in these circumstances, and to exhibit adult behavior.

I agree that she should take over the billpaying so that she can feel some sense of control over the financial situation, but will he let her? (I’ll be interested to hear…) From her original post, it appears that it is not just lunches out that he is spending money on, but is using credit cards to buy things they can’t afford otherwise; always a dangerous sign, particularly if this has contributed to them not being able to afford the health insurance that would have covered this birth.

He is online for much of every night; is this healthy? I don’t think so. He has also shown physical anger (punching the wall) and talked about being “no good.” A good counselor can get to the bottom of these behaviors.

While we only have one side of the story, I think the OP deserves credit for realizing that all is not right. Again…counseling for them as a couple, not hiding her head in the sand, is the way to go.


This concerns me very much. My father was often very stressed and would lose his temper. I remember one time his briefcase was sitting on the kitchen floor, and my then 1 year old brother pulled himself up on it. My father came into the room, angry about something else, and kicked the briefcase so hard my brother flew across the room and smashed into the wall.

My father never considered any of our bruises abuse. He just didn’t know his strength, or that you don’t hit 6 year old girls with a closed fist :shrug:

It was also a small step for him to move from punching the walls to pushing my mother. And he told her she deserved it, that he was a bum, but she didn’t take care of him well enough. Nothing was ever good enough.

If you hadn’t mentioned what I quoted I may have been tempted to agree somewhat with gardenswithkids and leonie. Husbands that are doing their best and feel overwhemed do deserve understanding and support. Abusers are just looking for an excuse to lash out and play the victim.


I appreciate your input. Thank you for your congratulations, kevinsgirl. :slight_smile:

Gardens, I haven’t been complaining to him at all. When we were married I made a vow to myself never to nag him and I’ve remained true to that vow. I used to make his lunches and breakfasts to take with him before he left. I can’t now. I can’t even open the refrigerator door without getting sick.

I have to be very specific and tell him, ‘do this, do that’ but I’ve been too tired to mention anything to him. I only want to sleep. The nausea is beginning to wear off but I am still sick and can’t keep much down. I throw up and go back to bed. It’s so hard to be here by myself with my toddler son who is walking and getting into things. I close off part of the house to keep him out of things.

I don’t have access to our bank account. I used to because the password was saved, but he changed the operating system on the computer and I don’t know it. He pays the bills online as a result. I put the due dates on the big calendar in the kitchen but he doesn’t look at it much. I was thinking of just writing checks and mailing in the bills we receive. I don’t think he would mind this idea. Now the trick is staying upright long enough. Oh, and he is the one who we agreed would mow the lawn since I got pregnant. I’m used to it because my dad made us all learn to do different things like change our own oil and paint and clean and such. My DH said I shouldn’t have to in my condition, but it has been very hot here. I haven’t asked him why he didn’t.

I guess I was wondering if there was a technique to use to talk to him without him throwing it back at me. Somehow he always defends himself to the point that I wonder what my original argument was. He has the instincts of a great lawyer. I try not to be accusatory but he takes it that way. His best friend once told me it was because of the way he was treated by his parents at home. DH is the oldest of 8 and I’ve heard the way his parents talk to him. I am beginning to direct some of my feelings of frustration at them for that very reason. After all, they raised him to be this way. I guess that’s a bad attitude too.

My husband is a good and loving man. He is extremely intelligent and gifted. He reads to our son and gives him his bath and puts him to bed at night. I am so grateful for the things he does do. I should’ve made that clear. I thank him often for his help too. He tells me daily that he loves me. I guess I feel guilty for harboring these thoughts, but I’m afraid to broach any of this with him because of his temper.

Did NONE of this show it’s face before you were married?

Yes, he was sloppy and forgot to pay some bills before we were married, but I was the one who suggested a budget and he agreed. Now I’m so ill I can’t watch him closely. I will look for a counselor. Thank you all for your help.


Sweetie, I’ll be praying for all of you, and hope that you feel better soon, so that you can cope with all that’s on your plate right now. Please let us know how things go.

God bless.


OP said
*]her husband scares her;
*]hits the wall in anger;
*]doesn’t abuse the baby but doesn’t know his own strength;
*]is the only one with access to the bank account because he changed the password.

I’m sorry, but all that screams ‘abuse’ to me. You don’t have to have bruises to be abused. Definitely time for counselling and for him to take some anger management classes.

And the day I listen to anything that witch Dr. Laura has to say about anything is the day they can commit me.


Can we say “ad hominem”?

You’ve never listened to her, yet she is a witch. Okaaaaay. I hope people give you more benefit of the doubt than you seem to give others.

I’m with gardens on this one, he cooks and she expects him to do dishes too? When he works full time out of the house and she doesn’t? Morning sickness can be pretty bad, but just how much is the guy supposed to do? If she’s not staying home to care for her family, and that includes her husband, then what is she staying home for?


Praying for you and hoping you feel well soon!

My only piece of advice…get that bank account password STAT. That is actually a little irresponsible on your part. You need all the access to your family’s finances in event of your husband’s illness, injury, or death. If hubby won’t share it with you, get to a counselor STAT instead.


Changing a bill paying password and honestly forgetting to tell you is one thing. If he is purposely keeping it from you, that’s another story.


Hearing and taking what is said to heart are two different things. I’ve heard her and all it made me want to do was pitch something at the TV. I have the same reaction to her as I have to Rush Limbaugh.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit