A Tale of Two Checkbooks

Many couples have decided that it is better for them to manage their finances separately because they just can’t come to agreement on how to manage them effectively together.  From observations I’ve made of those couples it always seems to be working better for one of them than the other (I’ll just leave it at that for this post).  Even older couples who I thought would have figured it out by now and must be at least in agreement to disagree and be ok with it really aren’t.  On the surface they seem to be ok but when I happen to talk to them separately I can clearly see that they are completely broken by the situation.

This breaks my heart.  I can’t say that I relate to attempting to manage the money separately, but I’ve felt the pain of the struggle.  It seems impossible to agree on anything related to money and it seems that almost everything does relate to money in some way.  The constant struggle causes a feeling of hopelessness to begin taking over.  I thank God every day for blessing Shawna and me through our struggles.  Now I observe others having the same struggles and occasionally I actually have bad dreams about it.

The most vivid bad dream I had involved a very heated argument.  There in my dream stood this couple fighting about money in one of the most irrational ways one could possibly imagine.

They were both in the kitchen – a place where much family bonding or breaking normally takes place.  She was infuriated by what he had done.  He had had enough of her selfishness.  She couldn’t believe how he was acting.  After all, they would be able to manage their money wisely if he was able to control his spending.  In his mind he was totally justified by what he had done to become more frugal.  After all, that is what she wanted – right?

They had previously decided since they couldn’t manage their money together that he would be responsible for bills A, B, & C and she would be responsible for bills X, Y, & Z.  It just so happened that one of his bills was the electric bill and the amount of the bill was ridiculous.  So he had to find something to sell in order to pay the bill.  He chose to sell something not only worth enough to pay the bill but something that would lower the bill in the future by getting rid of this one thing.  It was something she used almost every single day and he viewed it as THE primary reason for the high electric bill.  The electric bill was his responsibility so he accepted it as his DUTY to make it affordable.  So he sold the oven.

I’d say managing money separately is not working for this couple.  If you’re thinking “Good for her – now she doesn’t have to cook.”, then you’ve missed the point.  I know this is a ridiculous dream, but we all could probably think of a moment in our own marriage where we acted just as ridiculous towards each other about a money-related issue.  What would be the oven if you were the couple in my dream?


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