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Friday, June 29, 2012

Finances & Friction


Have you ever had a disagreement with your spouse about money?

Does it happen often? Is it causing a strain on your marriage? Do you find yourself being frustrated with your spouse because they spend frivolously or because they are too uptight about money? Does your wife make you do a “budget” every month? Does your husband constantly have a new idea for how to spend the money you don’t have?

These are common points of contention in marriage and I hear them regularly as I speak with people I know and meet. My wife and I had one friend several years ago that found a few extra dollars and on the way home to tell his wife the good news he spent the money. He was thrilled with his purchase and his wife was beside herself. She couldn’t understand how in the financial situation they were in her husband could find money (which would have helped quite a bit) and then spent it without at least consulting with her. His feeling was that since they didn’t expect the money to begin with it wouldn’t be a problem to spend it buying her a surprise. It was a sweet thought but didn’t go as he had expected.

What was the problem? Why does money cause such conflict in marriage? Well, simply put, because we are different. No matter how long two people are married they approach money and view money differently. My parents have been married for nearly thirty years and they still don’t see eye to eye on finances. In order to keep harmony each month my dad gives my mom a spending allowance and every month she exceeds it. And somehow they are still happy (her biggest complaint the last few years is that he won’t let her buy enough things for the grandchildren).

There are essentially two types of people in the world: those that are fun-loving and those that are planners (this is, of course, an oversimplification but it gets the point across). The fun-loving people do things on a whim, get frustrated if they spend too much time planning, and, as their name implies, really are just looking to have fun. Planners are the opposite. Fun is nice but only if it is planned beforehand. The two being forced to work together can cause friction but this can be overcome.

To be continued…

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