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Wife needs to contribute to income

Posted: September 4, 2012 5:21 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: Six months ago, I married a lovely young woman. While we were engaged, "Nina" and I had several candid discussions about finances, figuring that once we married, she would look for a job and we would split the household expenses evenly. Her parents were very generous and gave us a nice amount of money at the wedding in order to help smooth the transition until she found a job.

Well, a few months after we married, Nina stopped looking for work. She suffers from chronic depression, and it got so bad that she refused to apply for a job, convinced that no one would hire her. She also refused to get counseling, saying she couldn’t afford it, even though both her father and I offered to pay for it.

I have worked my best to keep a roof over our heads and have even taken out loans in order to pay our bills, but I’m now $1,000 in debt. Recently, Nina’s father gave her a large sum of money. I asked if she would use a small amount to pay one of our outstanding bills. She refused, saying that this was her money and she could spend it on whatever she wanted. Over the next week, that turned out to be fast food and cigarettes.

Annie, was I unreasonable to ask for her financial help? -- New York

Dear New York:

Dear Annie:

1. Do not ask whether the pregnancy was planned. It is absolutely no one’s business.

2. Hands off the belly. This is her personal space and should be respected. If you feel compelled to touch that elusive kick, always ask first -- and don’t be insulted when she says no.

3. Please don’t make comments that could be interpreted as "you’re fat." My boss asked whether I was having twins because I was so big. Another person asked if I was due before Christmas when my due date was mid-March.

4. Please don’t share unsolicited horror stories of labor and delivery. Expectant moms don't need more to worry about.

Also, while I feel genuine sympathy for those who have experienced a miscarriage, hearing these stories only induces anxiety in the mom-to-be, which isn’t good for her health or the baby’s.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent. -- Sharing the News in Pa.

Dear Sharing:

You’re very welcome. And congratulations on your upcoming blessed event.
I am pregnant with my third child. Prior experience compels me to send my list of things you should never do or say to a pregnant woman:
Of course not. Nina apparently does not consider herself to be in a partnership. She thinks you should support her. And it’s possible that Nina combats her depression by spending money, eating and smoking. Nonetheless, this is not a tenable solution. She should not use her depression as an excuse to refuse help. We urge you to get counseling on your own and also contact NAMI (nami.org).

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