Men. Women. Money. What Could Go Wrong?

Men. Women. Money. What Could Go Wrong? May 19, 2018

So ladies, imagine one morning during the holidays, your old refrigerator suddenly seems about to give up the ghost. Images of all that spoiled food start dancing in your head, and you find a one-day-only flash sale for a fridge at a fantastic price . . . but your husband says he needs to think about it.  

What goes through your mind? If you’re like many women, you’re not only frustrated (or furious) that by being indecisive, he’s risking hundreds of dollars in ruined food (and ruined holiday preparations) but also that he’s risking having to pay hundreds of dollars more if you can’t get the cheap fridge! You find yourself distracted during the day, checking constantly to see if the sale is sold out, and worried about whether the fridge will last.

Or men, imagine that tomorrow you’re in the middle of paying some unexpected, large, medical bills, and your wife walks in with a new outfit and happily announces, “It was on sale! It’ll be perfect for vacation. What do you think?” 

What goes through your mind? If you’re like many men, even if you subconsciously know that your wife wouldn’t spend beyond your budget you feel a roiling in your gut as you automatically tally up the cost of the medical bills, vacation and outfit. You feel a sense of pressure as you wonder whether you have what it takes to provide for your family. Which is why your dutiful smile and “it looks nice” comment might seem a little forced.

What goes through your mind in those little scenarios – and why – is what Jeff and I have begun studying for our next major research project; a project we are partnering on with Thrivent, a wonderful, values-minded Fortune-300-company. Through their innovative subsidiary, brightpeak, Thrivent is sponsoring our research study into this question: what is underneath our responses to money in relationships? Because when there is conflict or irritation, we know it isn’t about the money. (More about that in a moment.)

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  • ElectricStrawberry

    I wish it was as simple as you mentioned in your article. My wife and I have been married for 49 years, and yes we have a monumental financial crises and it’s not about buying much of anything as it is a raising grandkids for the past 30 years and still have two more to go. It’s how we have rearranged our lives that has changed our lives. We both are in our 70’s I’m still having to work and yes I am scared that at some point I won’t be able to continue to support our extended family. Your articles seem to address the younger rather than the older couples that struggle with issues such as financial. There is this growing phenomenon where more and more grandparents are raising grandchildren and yet have not heard any addressing of this issue. I suspect the reason for that is that is to complex of an issue to attempt the addressing. Not only has the raising of grandkids placed a financial burden on us but an even more greater emotional burden on us. The work I do takes me away from home two weeks at a time then i’m home for two weeks. It’s that two weeks away that makes it difficult, my wife is trying to stay calm but when we talk she is at the most time at the end of her rope. There is much to say about our situation more than that can be said here. Some our financial decisions could been more thoughtful I’m sure but it is what it is. Well any way, maybe the rest of the story some other time. I do however really enjoy your articles and keep an archive of them to re-read at times.