What can I do if my husband won't allow me to give money to charity?

My husband is not Catholic and, for reasons I won’t go into, has forbidden me to make charitable contributions. He asks straight out from time to time “Have you made any contributions?” I know that I am supposed to obey my husband and I don’t want to lie to him, but I also know how important helping those less fortunate is for my eternal salvation. I have not been giving because I didn’t want to lie to him. I brought this up in confession and our priest said that under these circumstances I should give and the Church would not consider it a lie if I told my husband no when he asks.

Do you agree? Of course, I pray that he will change his mind, but until then, I don’t know what to do.

I cannot recommend flat-out lying to your husband for many reasons, but the most practical one is that it will cause even more marital difficulty if he finds out that you have lied to him about your use of common funds. It will not help his perception of the Church if you are forced to admit that you did so on your confessor’s advice.

This does not mean that you don’t have means of meeting your obligation to support the Church and to help the less fortunate. There remain at least a couple of options that I can think of:

[list]If you and your husband each have discretionary funds that are separate from the common household funds, you can make your charitable contributions from your discretionary funds. If you do not yet have such a system in place for the use of the household income, suggest to your husband that you each receive discretionary funds that you each are free to use as you wish for just purposes. He may be satisfied so long as your charitable contributions are not made from the common funds.[/list]

[list]If your husband refuses such a system, you may have to forego giving money to the Church and to the needy, but you can give of your time and talent. Ask your pastor if there are volunteer opportunities available in your parish or your diocese. Sorting clothes for mothers in crisis pregnancies, ladling soup at the local homeless shelter, feeding and walking animals at the local humane society – the possibilities for service in your community are only as limited as your imagination and count as surely as money toward your obligation to support the Church according to your abilities and resources.[/list]

I’ve listed some resources below. Rather than buying the books if you believe your husband would object, check to see if your local librarian can obtain copies for you through interlibrary loan.

**Recommended reading:

How should wives submit to their husbands?
Spiritual Headship** by Jimmy Akin
A Marriage Saved in Heaven: Elisabeth Leseur’s Life of Love by Robin Maas
For Better … Forever! by Gregory K. Popcak
The Catholic Answers Guide to Family Finances by Philip Lenahan
The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur by Elisabeth Leseur (previously titled: My Spirit Rejoices by Elisabeth Leseur)

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