Meet Mr. Stingy, a.k.a. The Crazy-Making Husband

Copyright © 2008-2016 Martha Trowbridge. All Rights Reserved.

Stingy-ness is next to Godliness — according to The Crazy-Making Husband. Why give anything to your wife, when you don’t have to?

The Encarta World Dictionary defines stingy as “not generous in giving or spending money” and “ungenerously small or inadequate”. A veritable Ebenezer Scrooge before his visitations, with The Crazy-Making Husband, ‘stingy’ goes far beyond the classic definitions of giving and spending money.

For starters, many a Crazy-Making Husband is stingy in earning it! It’s one of his *perfect* crazy-making strategies. If he doesn’t ‘have’ it, he cannot be expected to ‘give’ it. On the other hand, those crazy-makers who do earn good money deeply resent sharing it with their wives and children. Then, there’s the man in the middle: he who earns decent money, but refuses to contribute his fair share. In all cases, The Crazy-Making Husband evokes tremendous self-pity by sloshing about in his Rule #3: REALIZE THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY YOU MAKE, IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TO SATISFY YOUR WIFE.

The Crazy-Making Husband’s stinginess also manifests in every important relational dynamic: attention, affection, emotional support, and time, to name a few. Withdrawal is his signature stinginess! What crazed wife has not known the devastation of a husband who is ‘there but not there’?

How painfully we wives feel his miserly ways! Yet, when we protest, we’re told we ‘imagine’ his stinginess. Or we’re too demanding. Both are untrue. The real truth is: The Crazy-Making Husband simply does not — or cannot — generously give.

In marriage, the absence of appropriate behavior is just as crazy-making as inappropriate behavior. Every woman has fundamental needs designed — and deserving — to be met by her significant other. It’s that simple.

The urge to ‘measure’ what we receive in any relationship evokes a prickly assortment of uncomfortable thoughts. It makes us wonder if we are being cheated. If we’ve been taken for a fool. Or, if we are a fool. Drowning in the pool of emotional emptiness that is our marriage to a crazy-maker, we can’t but wonder.

The closeness of language between ‘miser’ and ‘misery’ is no coincidence. Ask any crazed wife. Life with a steady dose of ‘lack of’ activates in us a profound sense of deprivation. Which, of course, activates depression. Eventually, it threatens our very sense of security.

Think: which people wind up most admired and loved? In the course of human history, as in the course of our personal lives, are they not people who exhibit generosity of spirit?

Our fundamental need for generosity, and the satisfaction of this need, is showcased in our earliest primary relationships: with our parents. We who were blessed with generous, responsive parents forever bask in that glow. We who suffered neglect feel forever deprived, disappointed and hurt.

Next time you feel that what you get from your husband is far less than what you give, take your queasy discomfort and place it aside. Instead of admonishing yourself, or flaring up with righteous anger, quietly sit down with a pencil and paper. On the left side, list what you give to your marriage — spiritually, emotionally, domestically, and financially. On the right side, list what your husband gives. Add to and correct this list regularly for a week or so, until you feel it is fair and accurate.

Then, put on your best thinking-cap. In your marriage, what are the most painful deficits in your husband’s behavior? Do you honestly feel, with proper guidance, he has the potential to correct them?

If yes, get busy. Get creative. If no, get courageous. Remember, no one liked Scrooge before dawn of Christmas Day.

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