Have you actually discussed the issue at length with your husband and made a plan of attack for paying down your debt? Or have you simply acknowledged that you’re in bad financial shape and need to do something about it? If you have no actual agreed upon plan then you will continue to run into these issues.
I do think that, while on the surface it is hurtful that he forgoed flowers but not his golf fees, there are other relevant factors to consider that might help you understand where he is coming from, which is important when you sit down to talk about it.
First, flowers *are* a waste of money. They’re nice and all but definitely something I’d consider frivolous and not worth spending on when you’re trying to tighten your belt. And it seems you’re only now angry about that because you’re comparing apples and oranges. You weren’t upset until you saw him spend a lot of money on something *you* consider frivolous.
Yes, the golf fees are a lot of money, but a social life is important. When budgeting to reduce debt or save for retirement or whatever else, it’s important to be realistic and understand that no matter what your finances look like, you’ll want to make sure your budget is sustainable, and one that includes absolutely NO space for a social life isn’t sustainable and will get derailed.
Perhaps his intention was to maintain his golf membership and essentially treat that as his social life for the duration of the season. I used to do basically the same thing when I was in university and had barely enough money to survive – I’d spend $1100 a year on a student season pass for snowboarding and that is what I did for fun every single weekend for 8 months of the year. Sometimes it makes sense to spend a bunch of money at once on something that will keep you happy, entertained and healthy for several months.
Another factor worth asking about is whether there is a penalty for suspending the membership. Most country clubs have a much higher fee for new members as well as a large waiting list for limited memberships, and don’t allow you to simply suspend a membership for a season. So if he didn’t pay it this year does that mean suddenly he is unable to get a membership next year? Or if he is able to, he’s paying significantly more for it? Or if he is able to suspend it for a season, is there a fee associated with that? Just saying, there likely is, and although it’s important to reign in your short term spending while you pay down your debt, it’s also important to think about long term impacts. Some items just aren’t worth cutting from the budget because of their long-term impact.
I get why you feel upset, but I think you also need to separate your feelings about the flowers from the green fees. And you need to make an actual budget together instead of just cutting what you thinks needs cutting and hoping you both agree on those items as they come up.
It sounds like you both have an issue with frivolous spending, but in terms of understanding money he has more of a background than you do, so that will absolutely affect his perspective on things.
The fact that you were unemployed for several months and contributed to the shared debt before and during that time is also relevant here. In his shoes, assuming you don’t have kids and the spending was all by two adults spending on themselves, I can 100% understand how he might feel it is unfair to be asked to take on the same burden of debt servicing. When you were unemployed, I assume he paid all the bills? And when you went shopping or spent other frivolous money, it was from the income he produced?
Yes, in a marriage you are a team and it’s not “mine” and “yours”, but at the same time there is always the potential for one partner to feel taken advantage of or used and you need to be conscious of that. And even if they don’t feel used, if the person bringing in less (or no) money is the one who suddenly starts telling the other what they can or can’t do with their money, that’s almost always going to cause conflicts. It sounds very much like you’re the one who has suddenly decided paying off your debt is important and instead of making the plan together you’ve taken the reigns and started dictating to him. Of course that’s going to leave a sour taste.
I’m not saying your husband is in the right here. But I am saying he probably has reasons for why he did what he did, and that most likely neither of you are in the right or wrong. You have misaligned priorities and perspectives on your financial situation and you are both responsible for figuring out how to align them. Instead of fuming for days over a perceived slight, focus on the *actual* issue and ask your husband to sit down and make a plan with you.
If you need to hash out the emotional aspect do that too, but leave it at the door when you sit down to make your budget.