Scenario: Wife working hard trying to keep household bills paid and trying to get her family out from under credit card debt. She has a system she’s following and everything’s been running smoothly. Due to an emergency, her husband had to get a new credit card. It wasn’t an ideal situation but the wife was doing her best to try to keep it under control. The agreement was that the husband would not use the card while the wife worked to bring down the balance. But the husband went behind the wife’s back and maxed out the card. He told her nothing about it. She discovered it when she accessed the credit card account online and saw that there was $0 of available funds and a balance over the card’s credit limit.
Is your spouse a bad partner?
The husband maxed out credit card scenario is an example of a situation where one half of the couple is working for the better good of the unit (the couple and the family); and the other half is concerned only with his interests. If this were a business partnership, the person concerned with his own interests would have to be dropped as a partner, unless the other partners were willing to risk the failure of the business due to this person’s selfish actions. A person who is concerned first and foremost with his own interests and who would compromise the interest of the business for his personal gain does not make for a good partner.
The same is true in marriage. A marriage is a partnership. Couples who work together for the better good of the unit tend to thrive. Here, you have a wife working hard trying to keep the bills paid and trying to get her family out from under debt. Meanwhile the husband is thwarting her efforts by maxing out credit cards and making it harder, if not impossible, for the wife to succeed in her efforts to create a situation where they can have money to do other things besides just paying bills.
Should the husband maxed out credit card wife leave her husband over it?
The contract between a husband and wife is a bit different from the contract between business partners. In business, emotions of the heart are usually not involved. Someone breaks the contract, if you’re a success-minded business person you don’t risk the success of the business to spare their feelings. A contract is a contract. They break the contract, they’re out. But marriages are complicated. There’s this idea that if you love somebody you will strive to be understanding and forgiving and patient. You’re not going to turn your back on them for making a mistake.
But marriage is life. And in life, if you want to get ahead, you can’t afford to surround yourself with people who not only don’t have the ambition to get ahead themselves, but will hold you back and prevent you from being able to do so.
By all means forgive your spouse the first time they make a mistake. But if they repeat the same mistake a second time, this is probably not a mistake so much as it is a character flaw. Now if you want to show them some understanding and patience, that is perfectly fine. Forgive them a second time and allow them to work at correcting their character flaw. They might make the mistake a third time. And you might have to forgive them again because you have decided you’re going to be patient and you can’t reasonably expect they will fix their character flaw so soon. But at some point, if they keep on making the same mistake you have to face the reality that they either do not want to change or they cannot change even if they want to.
What does that mean for you?
If you’re married to someone who’s going to keep you down no matter how hard you try to get something more out of life, you have to make a choice. You either have to leave that person or you have to accept to always remain where you are and always have only what you have in your present life. You either have to give up on your ambitions or give up on your marriage.
Some people like to say that when you get married you accept that you’re either going to rise up together or you’re going to fall down together. But in a situation where you’re striving to rise up but your spouse is not only content to stay down, he/she keeps pulling you down the harder you try to rise up, you have to have to make the decision that is ultimately in your best interest. Partnership is important in marriage, yes; but it has to be a partnership that is working. And if your marriage is not growing and thriving your partnership is not working. And if your partnership is not working the only smart thing to do is to dissolve it.