What's Mine is Hers?

Q: My wife and I have been married for six years. Due to her health issues she can no longer work, which is something I never counted on. I knew we'd both have to work to get by. It's hard and we're one paycheck away from the streets, due in part to the economy. She recently inherited some money and I'm getting more frustrated because I'm giving every cent I have to keep us afloat, and most times that isn't enough. The problem is that she isn't contributing to groceries or bills. She is sitting on her inheritance and will not offer to help. Am I wrong to think she should contribute something? -- Frank, 39

Dr. Susan: Of course she should contribute. Is she truly totally incapacitated? The fact that she isn't using some of her inheritance to help pay bills makes me wonder what she's thinking. Some women like to keep "their" money separate in case the marriage falls apart later. So I wonder if she's feeling generally insecure about your relationship? Because by holding back and not giving what she can to help right now, she is actually endangering the marriage. Both parties really need to give everything they can to show they love and trust one another and are in it for the long haul. I'd suggest you open a discussion about her fears and why she feels the need to withhold.

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