Saturday, July 23, 2016

Money Fights and Time Woes

Just about any couples top ten list of why arguments and fights occur include money. It seems a whole lot of people have a constant push and pull with their significant other over how to spend it, when there's not enough of it, how to prioritize it, and if you have children, particularity older children, how much should go to help support them. The other argument inducer that comes up in that same list is time. Again, how much each has, where it's spent, and if you have children, how to balance between what the kids need and what you have for each other. My personal experience is neither gets easier as you get older or your relationship gains in years, though may play out differently. DH and I have been a couple  nearly 31 years, married for almost 29 of them. Neither of us had money and both were working almost full time jobs and were full time students went we started dated and later got engaged. Both a lack of time and a lack of money created minor tiffs. 

Once we were both working full time and not going to school, things settled down as we worked to put money away for the wedding and the silly idea we had to buy a little starter house. DH being a few years older and me only 21 when we got married, I admit I was the one often envious of friends still going out to the college bars, dancing the nights away, spending Saturdays shopping, though even then I wasn't a big shopper, or going on carefree weekends. I was either taking an extra shift at the pizza restaurant I had worked at in college to help pad the budget, or once we closed on the house, peeling stinky wallpaper and trying to preserve anything that we could so it wouldn't need to be replaced before we moved in. When I did go out for a day with friends, I was looking at shower heads and toilet seat covers as they were checking out faded jeans and lip gloss. My money and time was  in couple mode.

Roll forward to 2016 and for the most part, DH and I have been on the same wave length on both money and time. But every now and then, both instigators put the devil on their shoulder and start prodding one or both of us to get prickly. We have an unexpected $881 cash flow hit, at a time when cash flow has been very rough. I mentioned earlier that we will be in negatives for the new savings targets at July's end, and this is the bulk of why. Part of it might be reimbursed, but not a guarantee. I won't go into the back ground of what it is as it involves others. I've decided to just go with it, in the grand scheme of things, it isn't that significant. DH is fuming, and feels it is part of an ongoing problem that needs to be nipped immediately. I think opening up that box would be a bad idea, and have other more significant issues later. This issue, coupled with trying to adjust to reduced cash flow, and you can imagine the mood when DH left for work this morning. 

Then there is time-the bigger of the two naggers in my life. My driveway looks amazing-so happy with the new concrete. What I am not happy about is the finishes on the sides where they had to cut away more of the sod. I'm left with little trenches that line the driveway and new sidewalk. Then there is the landscape  tubing that is all pulled up as they made the sidewalk wider. It's been over two weeks, two weekends, and no plans for how that is going to be done. DH's response is, "yeah, I have to get black dirt and some seed." I would just do it, but I can't lift enough black dirt to make a dent in what needs to fill. We have a to do list on our house a mile long, and for both of us, other things keep hijacking both of our time momentum. We get nit picky with each other when I know the real issue is our overall time management on the house. In my head, I have visions of purging everything out of the house and starting over, like that old TLC show Clean Sweep. Our 31 years of goods would be put out on the front lawn and we are limited to selecting only a certain number of things. The rest, sold off or pitched. What we really need is to just sit down with a calendar and list and be our own project managers and hold each other, and ourselves accountable in the same way as if we were on a television production timeline. Money woes would seem less strained if we had a house of calm to tackle the conversation in. First, we need to make the time to have that important discussion, and not as one of us is leaving for work on Saturday morning.

We're beyond the point of juggling bills and not having the means to pay them, thank God. We don't complain about each others hobbies-I'd gladly let DH have a few more. None the less, the money stress and use of time issues have matured, but are still present.It's like we need a someone to take on the roll of household CEO, ensuring things get done, and neither has stepped up to the plate. I can't help but think his mental and physical energy has been directed to the family cabin, and to a certain extent, mine as well, so I'm a little sensitive time right now. If you are or have been married, does any of this resonate with you? Does money and time cause the most discourse in your life? Short of sending us to therapy, what tips and strategies keep you on the same happy path?


  1. I've seen these issues with many couples. Back in the olden days my mother handled everything inside the house and my dad handled everything outside. I also remember him handing over his pay every Friday at noon counting it into her hand. Then she would give him back a $20 bill and that was for himself - gas for the car, tobacco etc. Roles were very concrete. That's not the case nowadays as many couples both have jobs and both have income, and often there are conflicts about what money is spent on. Do you both sit down with the budget? Perhaps a quick weekly review?

    1. Overall we are fiscally compatible. It is the unexpected that throws him off kilter more than me. I am more likely to just say, well that sucks,be upset a bit, but then move forward and belt tighten. He will analyze what, when, why, and how the expense came about, before he is ready to accept and move on.


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