Business/Finance Decision for marriage

Hi everyone,

I’m so happy to find this forum. I wondered if I could get your thoughts on a family problem.

We have two kids, 15 and 12. I’ve largely been a stay-at-home mom, other than working part-time from home for a handful of years.

Several years ago, my husband quit his professional job to start a .com company. That failed. He took his professional job back, only to be laid off. He said he could not find work in his field (and didn’t want to find work in another), so he started another business. He was gone a lot when the kids were little, but moreover, because we were in such financial strain, we sold the business three years ago. After paying off SO much debt, we only had a little bit of money left over.

With that little money, he started another company, though I begged him to find other professional work (so that we could start a savings, take vacations, and not get into debt). He insisted the business would take off, but it didn’t. We saw marriage and financial counselors. Long story short, I decided to stay in our marriage for the sake of the kids and try to help with the business. This was my way of trying to save our marriage. (If you can’t beat them, join them. ) We currently have two businesses.

This isn’t working. We argue quite often about how to run them but the financial strain is more than I can bear anymore. He finally has agreed to sell both…so we’ll see what happens. I can already see the resentment building in him. I have been hard on him because we never had to be in this situation as a family. I told him I understand his resentment, because that’s how I’ve been feeling over the last several years.

I’ve asked God to intervene…help us get at least one of the businesses sold and save our marriage…but things are getting worse. I’ve read that God sometimes can’t intervene during financial hardships when money has been mismanaged in the past. In our case, my husband started businesses with no capital.

Thank you-akk

Wow, you could be my own mom. My Dad did this nowhere-startup thing for years. I’m hoping that since the last one went under (there have been about five) he’ll finally sober up and stick to consulting. I’m married and moved out of course, but it still affects my younger siblings.

Anyway, I think the only advice anyone could really give you is to sell the business, something you are doing already.

With my own father, I think the real problem was a mental complex a bit like the boy who thinks nobody likes him so he has to have a neat lizard or some other conversation piece to show to the other kids to get them to come over. He’s always had to have a scheme, some kind of cool thing going on in order to make him feel adequate. So, there might be some psychological problems with your husband. Have he seen a counselor, why does he have this great need to have his own business when it is clearly not a good financial idea?

Thank you, mschrank.

During marriage counseling, my husband said that he feels he’s always done what’s best for the family. He also said that there were no jobs in his professional field, and that if he had to go back to college, he wouldn’t be able to support his family during that time. My response to him was that getting 100k in debt per year isn’t supporting a family.


AKK, you have given us absolutely no insight into your husband and why he is always starting businesses. You only gave us the impact it has on you.

For this reason, I think you are only seeing it from one perspective. As a spouse, you called to see it from your husband’s perspective to an even greater degree than your own. This is what giving of your self means.

Before you ask your husband to do anything, you have to ask yourself alot about yourself. Do it in prayer. If you need someone to help you, talk to your Priest. There is something much more important at stake than security, vacations, retirement that comes from a “professional job.” It is your marriage and vow before God.

If you ask your husband to be something he is not called to be, you might not like what your husband becomes. What you think will be better could become worse. And your vow is still the same: “for better or worse” or in this case “for bad or much worse.”

I say all this from experience. My father chose a profession because of pressure from his father. My mother for much the same reasons as you pushed him to stay in this profession. In my father’s despair, he turned to alcohol, became an alcoholic, lost everything including his family and life.

We have very different views. A father’s first responsibility is to his family. When there are many bills in collections and we have trouble keeping the lights on, something is wrong. akk

Yes something is wrong. But, as you said above, he believes he is doing what is best for your family. His views need to be considered with respect but you appear to just dismiss them.

You are correct his first obligation is to you. But your first obligation is to him. From all I see you have written, you are only seeing it from your perspective. It is imperative that you open yourself more to his perspective.

Akk, don’t misunderstand me. Maybe the solution is he should give up his businesses. But it must be found mutually where both are shown respect. Nothing that you have written belies any respect or understanding of your husband’s views.

O- could you please not respond any more? Thank you. akk

“So, there might be some psychological problems with your husband. Have he seen a counselor, why does he have this great need to have his own business when it is clearly not a good financial idea?”

I don’t think that serial entrepreneurialism is classified as a mental illness in the DSM. :slight_smile: Henry Ford, Milton Hershey and Walt Disney (to name a few) all experienced multiple business failures and even bankruptcy before they became successful.

To the OP… your husband is who he is. I don’t advocate plunging your family into bankruptcy, but I think you should be supportive of who your husband is as a person. I think that being an entrepreneur is ingrained in some personalities; it is a form of creativity . You wouldn’t ask a painter not to paint, would you? Is there any way you can strike some sort of compromise? Can he find some sort of steady income that would allow him to continue his business ventures? Can you re-budget? Can you cut any expenses out? Just throwing some ideas out there…

These are really great questions. We’ve spoken with a financial advisor, accountant, business advisor, and marriage counselor. All agreed that starting a business with no capital (especially while supporting a family) is not a good idea. It could land a family where we are today. 200k in debt, including 100k in credit cards running at 30% interest. I won’t even get into the back taxes we are paying on. Several things are in collections. Thankfully, we have not yet been sued.

When we sold the larger company three years ago, I asked my husband (since he didn’t want to find a job) to start the next one slowly by both of us working part-time to offset expenses. He didn’t want to do that. I proposed another option, waiting until the kids are grown, then he can start as many businesses as he would like. He didn’t want to do that either.

So, we have sought advice from professionals to re-work budgets, etc, etc, but starting businesses with no capital is really difficult to do and win.


Well, you asked for advice, and Orionthehunter gave it. If you’re only interested in hearing advice from one particular perspective, then what you intend to gain from this thread isn’t clear, because you seem to have made your mind up already.

What is wrong with you people?

The OP has stated that her husband has repeatedly refused to find an income producing job, and has instead put the family over 200K in debt to the point of collections and near bankruptcy-- despite counseling and the protests of his wife and no matter what it is doing to his children.

I wouldn’t be seeing things from “his perspective”, I’d be mad as hell and considering drastic action to protect my children from the poor house.

But, to the OP-- your kids are not small anymore. There is no reason for you to be staying at home. Get a full time job.

I agree with 1ke. I think you should get a full time job.

I would also be livid if my husband put our family in this kind of financial disaster. Your husband doesn’t seem to respect you and he surely isn’t caring for his family. He should be getting a full time job, too. And you both should be trying to get out of debt, not trying to start a new business.

I suggest you separate yourself financially from him. You are still responsible for the past debts with him, but you need to get yourself a plan for your future. You need your own money with which you can make your own decisions because your husband is not reliable.

Thank you for all of your opinions. I think the idea to separate myself financially from my husband is a great idea. I’ll take steps to do that once both businesses have sold.

Currently, I’m president of one of the companies. So that keeps me hopping. We set the company up that way because it is construction related, and being a woman-owned business allows the opportunity for more contracts.

I also write a column for a major newspaper and provide a professional service from home. I have not been as active with the consultancy because of my duties with the other company. But once the businesses sell, I can work more as a consultant which is good money. Or, if it is better money to work for another company, that is fine too.

But, good idea to separate financially.

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