Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's the Money, Honey

All sorts of issues can derail a relationship. There's sex. In-laws. Outlaws. Money. Time spent on honey-dos. Money. Beer goggles. Dogs eating the sofa. Money.

Many couples get into money wars. Of course, sometimes it's laughable how little ammunition they have in their arsenal. The man will go hunting. The woman will go shopping. In retaliation, the man will buy a new set of graphite golf clubs. The woman will go on a Girls Weekend to the Coast. Or they'll shop until the man drops.

Teri and I came into the relationship both as survivors of layoffs from dream jobs. We know what it's like to lose almost everything and start over financially, to be frugal, to be thrifty, to repair a pair of pants three times rather than to throw them away. But that's not enough to stop us from getting in a big fight over money. So what we've done is to come up with a family meeting to discuss all purchases of more than $100. It's a work in progress, sure. But we're confident that while we may still have a skirmish from time to time, we'll avoid the biggest episodes of passive aggression, the biggest battles where both sides dig in and can see no way out.

And our peace talks, we've determined, won't be words only. We won't just make idle apologies and move on as if all is OK. We'll agree in our family meetings to specific actions to take that will help us to grow closer over time.

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