Why is my husband so stingy?

What you need to know:

Now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I started hinting on him taking me out that day. Every time I mention it, he pretends he has not heard

My husband and I have been married for four years. During this time, he has not taken me out on a date even once. In fact, the last time we went on a date was when we were still dating. Now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I started hinting on him taking me out that day. Every time I mention it, he pretends he has not heard. Last week, he lost his temper and said there is no money for such luxuries. At the start of our marriage, I would go out of my way and buy him a present but because he never reciprocated, I also stopped. Is it too much to ask my husband to take me out once in a while? Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

The stinginess of one partner can cause a lot of misery to both partners and can be damaging to any relationship. It is also true that both men and women value kindness.  However, as individuals, you may understand love differently.

 Some people understand love through being gifted; this is the most typical type since it is the human evidence of appreciation. Others value acts of service where they feel loved when their partner makes life seem easy as the writer of the 5 Love Languages comments in his book. The different ways that we understand what it means to be loved can bring joy or frustration if not well handled.

It is possible that your husband did not experience this in his childhood or has never witnessed adults gifting each other. This does not mean you should give up on your need to be gifted by your husband.

Instead, use this opportunity to learn what makes you feel loved because seemingly, his lack of concern about your need to go out on Valentine’s Day is only a trigger for these feelings. Use this opportune moment to find out how he wants to feel loved and when he tells you, let him know that you are willing to do that for him.

 In turn, tell him what makes you feel loved. Now that you know that he has not been good at this, start small. Let him know that you will feel loved when you go out together, especially on an important day like valentine’s. You can suggest places and if it is possible, discuss how you can help with paying the bill before setting off.

 It can be tricky to continue doing good things for your partner without reciprocation. However, when you decide to love someone, do it for your own good. Let not your husband’s negative behaviour force you to stop doing good.

 Remember, we cannot change other people and so start small and also adjust your expectations. Being preoccupied with the urge to be taken out or gifted might make your frustration worse.

Talk to your husband about his stingy behaviour and how it is affecting you. This is the first base of almost all relationship issues. Sometimes people do some wrong things not with the intention to hurt, but because they think it is the right thing to do. By refusing to say anything and pretending all is fine when it’s not, you are not giving him the chance to know how you feel about his lack of sharing.

So, whether it is his stinginess or even something else, do not hesitate to talk to him about it first and give him the opportunity to turn a new leaf.

Make use of non-confrontational language such that your husband can listen to you. You can also join marriage support groups where couples share challenges with each other and build one another too.

I hope you are also making your own money.  You are not asking for too much if you want a man to share material things with you. And especially if your love language is receiving gifts, that statement becomes a lot more accurate.

However, it is important to know that if this is the kind of relationship you want, you should not just be willing to spend that money on him or shower him with gifts and material things, you need to actually be able to.

Making your own money and being able to afford gifts for him gives the relationship a feel of mutuality rather than parasitism.

Having said that, it is important to note that a stingy boyfriend and a broke boyfriend are not the same.

Reader advice

Compromise is key

David Mukisa. You and your spouse are probably very different people; after all, opposites attract. So, it is important that you learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and discuss each other’s differences. You will never agree on everything, and because of this, compromise is absolutely essential. A strong and healthy relationship requires give and take, with both parties willingly giving up what they want for the other’s good. Compromise means finding a solution that works for both of you.

Understand your man

Jimmy Wester. What if he is not the going out kind? Have you tried considering that? It is unfair placing a blanket judgement on every man. We are each unique and have different love languages. Take time to understand what his language is. Also, a man’s silence when you have shared something with him is not a sign that he has not heard you. Men process things internally and it takes time before coming to a solid conclusion. What if he is thinking of financial independence for his young family? Take time to understand your man.

Focus on the good

Penelope Atukwatse. Failing to take you out does not mean he does not love you. Focus on what is working in your marriage.

Take him out instead

Richard Mayane. Do for others what you would want them to do for you. Challenge him by taking him on that Valentine’s Day date. Show him that such time together can and will make your marriage stronger. This way, you make him see the positives of what you are trying to make him do.

Celebrate on your own

Gorretti Mukasa. This has been a huge problem for me throughout our marriage. Communication and honesty have done nothing to change this issue in my marriage, so I have prayed that my attitude will change and that I will find a way to celebrate special celebrations in my life without depending on someone else.

Buy yourself gifts

Joan Woods. You know what, this used to drive me crazy and make me feel unloved. I have realised and accepted that it is just not his thing. So, I go out and buy what I want. The pressure is off him and I get exactly what I want.

Time is more important

Doreen Bisase. I like gifts but my husband often forgets. However, it does not bother me because I value time over gifts. And I know it has nothing to do with whether or not he loves me. I just learn to appreciate all the other wonderful things he does daily.

Be thankful for him

Janet Ogwang. Instead of focusing on physical gifts, I have learnt to be grateful for the ways in which he loves me. He makes me coffee every morning and he is an amazing father. I think it is a matter of perspective. What matters most; the gift or the gift-giver? The presents or his presence? Trying to fix your man is insulting. Be thankful for what, who and how he is.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation


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