The other night, I had to bring up the taboo subject in our house: Money. Sigh, the root of all evil. The reason a great deal of marriages fail. The driving force behind horrible arguments.
When my husband and I talk about money it usually goes like this:
Me: "How did you blow through $200 in cash in just 4 days? Are you on drugs?"
Him: "Um....NO. Why would you think that?"
Me: "Well, I pack you lunch everyday. I buy you beer and gatorade and sodas. I buy you snacks. I just don't really see what you are spending that money on unless during your lunch you are sloughing over to GG Park to hit up your dealer."
Him:"Are you serious?"
Me, putting on my saddest face I can muster: "I just hope the crack is worth it. I mean, I am going to have to wrap our son's butt in paper towels since we won't be able to afford diapers soon. Just promise me you won't sell him."
Him: "I don't even know what to say to you right now..."
Ok, so that is a nice version of what I usually say to him. In all seriousness, we have a problem communicating about money. Mostly because I am the one who pays the bills every month and does the shopping, etc. This role was just kind of assumed. He was taking care of financials for businesses, and really, who wants to come home and do the same thing? Plus I am a control freak. So here we have me paying the bills and seeing where every cent we make goes, and him pulling in the $$$ and not knowing anything. Now, this may be a big flashing warning to most of you, but I didn't see how big of a problem this was.
My husband hears me bitch about money all the time. He hears me talk at him about not spending and how he blows too much. And he sees the numbers on his paychecks, and how much time he spends at work. He feels justified in spending money.
And you know, he's right. We do make great money. And we should be able to enjoy it. If we want to spend $146 on a case of car cleaner, we should be able to (guess who made this purchase?). If we want to take a trip, we should be able to. And I shouldn't have to check the bank accounts every monring in fear wondering how much he blew the day before on corn nuts and 5 hour energy drinks.
The other day, the light bulb went on in my head. He needed to see exactly what we paid each month to our credit cards, car payment, insurance, groceries, diapers, cell phone, loans, etc. He needed to see what we owed and to whom. So I pulled it all together. I added things up. I prioritized what I thought should be paid off first, how much we should save. I decided it was time to get on the same page. I couldn't expect him to just automatically go with what I say. I mean, he respects me, but come on. One of the reasons I love him is that he has his own opinions and dreams. And he goes after them. And he expresses them.
When he came home from work, the best thing happened. Well, other than winning the lottery. We sat down and talked like adults. Like married adults with responsibilities. We COMMUNICATED. We both laid it all out and we got on the same page. He talked about how he felt and what he wanted. I talked about how I felt and what I wanted. And we listened. We made decisions and suggestions.
That's how it's supposed to go, right? This is how married people are supposed to communicate? It only took me 5 years to figure out.