Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Economy of A Good Marriage

     Years ago newlyweds were just starting in life. We finished school and began work in our twenties and married in our twenties, so money was not plentiful. We waited to purchase big items like furniture, t.v., and new appliances. In our case, most of what we had were hand me downs from parents or siblings. Our living room furniture was Salvation Army special. As we worked and saved, we purchased the most important items on the list of, “we need.” I was fine with this set up for I would say about six years, and then I met Angela (I've changed her name).
     Tim and Angela (I changed his name too) were wonderful people. Mike met Tim on one of his jobs and both decided it would be nice for the four of us to go out, so the wives could meet as well. We were about the same age and we both had two children. We got along great. Our husbands had a lot in common and Angela and I had the children to talk about and shopping.            
     That’s where the problem began. Anglea loved to shop, everyday. I shopped but only when my family needed something. Angela got a weekly salary of about three hundred dollars (about six hundred dollars by today’s standards); whereas, I got what I needed for grocery shopping. Both she and I were stay at home moms, so we depended on our husbands to provide for our family's needs. Angela needed a lot! I didn’t think I needed a lot until Angela started telling me that I should ask for a weekly salary as well. “You deserve it!” she exclaimed. And, innocently I began to believe she was right.
     I began to believe that Michael was making all this money (I had no clue how much he made), and that he was not sharing with me. I stayed up nights thinking about how much he owed me if he would only pay me what I was worth!! One night, I could not sleep from thinking about this. I was upset and I was crying. It was twelve o’clock in the morning. Mike woke up from my loud sobs and asked what was wrong.
     “Well, Angela gets three hundred dollars a week, and I get grocery money that barely covers what we need for our meals!” I said.
     “I can’t give you more than that,” Mike said calmly.
     “Yes you can. She says you make a lot of money,” I cried.
     “Babe, Angela doesn’t know how much I make, and she has no clue what our expenses are. Do you want to see what I make and what we spend?”
     “Yes,” I said, sure I was going to find out we were worth thousands.
     So, at nearly one o’clock in the morning my husband, who by the way had to get up at five that morning, took me to his office and showed me every penny he made and every expense we had. I learned more in that one night than one can imagine. I learned not to compare myself to anyone. I learned that one cannot spend what one does not have. I learned that I needed to know what came in and what went out. I learned to talk to my husband as situations came up and not wait until situations became detrimental.
     My husband was willing and happy to talk to me about our financial situation. There are husbands who want control and do not share, and there are wives who want and don’t care how their selfishness is affecting and effecting their financial status or their marriage. By the way, Tim and Anglea got divorced. There were plenty of problems with their marriage, but the most crucial one was her obsessive shopping. She literally spent every penny he made.
     Husbands and wives should work together to balance the checkbook, save and invest. Both should know how much can be spent without depleting the nest egg. Communication about what is needed, wanted, and expected is so very important. It is a known fact that finances are at the top of the list for break ups. How much better to discuss and compromise, so that the family flourishes not just one person.

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