I know by Torah law that a man is supposed to provide for his wife and family, and that clothing is an important part of that. But what about when the wife’s spending on clothing gets excessive? Thank G-d I have the money, but it bothers me when I see the amount that my wife spends on clothing. It can be thousands of dollars a month on average. Am I allowed to restrict her spending on clothing both for her and the 4 daughters (Bli ayin hara) in our family?
There are two questions here: The first refers to the obligations a man has to his wife. The definition in Chazal is 'Ola Imo Ve'aina Yoredet' she gains with him but does not lose (monetarily). Therefore, unless her family was extremely affluent you fulfill that obligation. The second is the matter of your relationship. It is not worth even thousands of dollars if by restricting your wife you hurt (even lightly) your relationship. Rabbi Akiva, when he was very poor made every effort to strive to perfect Shlom Bayit and he promised his wife Rachel a very expensive piece of jewelry. When he became a great Rabbi and had the money he brought this jewelry for her. His students told him he was embarrassing them, as this was a costly present for ones wife. It is very important for one to make sure ones wife feels loved and happy, even if it is costly! Your daughters on the other hand can be restricted. Rabbi Yosef Weitzen