By Alma Gill
My Husband Stole from Church
My husband and I have been faithful servants in our church for over 20 years. I am on the Usher Board, Woman’s Day committee and we participate in the Married Couples Ministry (MCM). My husband, too, is very committed to the MCM and he also serves as head of the Finance Committee. Let me start by saying that I am mortified. He just recently confided in me that over the past year he has stolen over $100,000 from the church. I could just die. I don’t know why he did it and he says he doesn’t know why he did it, either. We don’t need the money.
We are both gainfully employed, college graduates who make more than enough money to take care of our family. I did not know or suspect anything. I have not seen any extravagant purchases that he’s made with the money. Our financial budget has not changed. We have 2 children who are too very active at our church. I love our church, our pastor and the first lady and our church family. I just can’t believe this is happening, I’m ashamed to show my face. I am so embarrassed I can hardly speak to him. How on earth could he do this to me and our children? My first thought is to put him out of the house. I do not want to sleep next to him and at least that way the church will see I had nothing to do with it. I am at a lost as to what to do next. I’m interested in what you think about what my husband has done to me. What are your thoughts?
I can see you are cross-eyed mad, upset, angry, stunned and outraged over what has happened. As you should be, but, in my opinion, you’re obligated to stand by your husband. The trust has been broken, yes I know. And you know what, if you stay married long enough, that’s what happens, everything is not alright all the time. Remember your vows, especially the one that says, in sickness and in health. This, my dear, certainly qualifies as a health issue. Although I’m no doctor, I think he may be suffering from kleptomania.
Pull up the shades and stop hiding in the basement. You need to move past being mad and pray, take deep breaths and figure out what you can do to help your husband. Let go of the embarrassment. Everybody’s got a “oh-Lawd-I-hope-they-don’t-find-out” sweater, hanging in the closet. Some sweaters are larger than others mind you, but turn the large magnifying mirror away from your face towards your husband. Look for loving options to address his issue. Here’s your chance to see what you’ve learned from all those “love is kind & forgiving” sermons. The truth of the matter is, this ain’t about you! Listen to your husband. Notice I didn’t suggest that you do the talking. Sit with him and allow him to express what’s going on inside and how it makes him feel. Obviously, he should make an appointment to see a therapist and apologize to the pastor, maybe even the congregation of your church. That’s a decision that should come from the church officials.
Pick up a copy of Kleptomania: The Compulsion to Steal – What Can Be Done? by Dr. Marcus J. Goldman. Your husband, for his sake, needs to address the root of this compulsion, and it’s a responsibility he has to own. Be supportive and stop worrying so much about what’s going on outside your house. You have no control over that. Your husband should be your first priority, just as it would be if he were your child. Uh huh, you know what I’m saying. Don’t give up on him, he needs you now more than ever.
My roommate gave me a 3-day notice that he was moving, because he met a woman 3 months ago and they decided to move in together. Fast forward 6 months. It’s not working out and he wants to move back in. I haven’t found a replacement roommate and I could use the money. Should I let him move back in?
Jayden, Lanham, Md.
In a word, No, my-brother! Okay, that’s three words, LOL. Keep looking, you’ll find someone much more reliable and make sure you get a security deposit this time.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.