By Shannon Ralph
Reason #26: We fight about money.
Money has been a sticking point with Ruanita and me for 15 years. Like most married couples I know, we fight about money. Well, we don’t actually fight, I suppose. After 15 years together, we rarely “fight” about anything. We do, however, have somewhat teeth-clenching discussions followed by a lengthy period of passive-aggressive silence, withholding of affection, loud slamming of the kitchen cabinets, and misplaced anger toward the dog. Then we kiss and make up. That is how we “fight” in our marriage.
The problem is that Ruanita and I have vastly different spending habits. I am somewhat of a freewheeling spender and Ruanita is a miser. I use the term “miser” because she is not really a “saver.” She does not invest money. She does not make money grow. She just holds onto it with an icy death grip that would make a Himalayan Yeti jealous. If I had not come along to drag her kicking and screaming into the poor house, she probably would be subsisting on $0.99 Swanson TV dinners and hoarding cash in a coffee can in the back of her freezer.
I, of course, have money issues of my own. I do not deny that fact. Spending money is genetic in my family. I knew what a bill collector was even before I could say bill collector. The urge to spend is written into my DNA as clearly as my green eyes and my gigantic Hardesty forehead. I have improved through the years as Ruanita’s miserliness has infected my soul like a cancer and killed off all of the spending cells. However, I still like to spend money on occasion. I like to shop. I can’t pass up a sale. A good bargain makes me nearly orgasmic. I like pretty things. I like to have the latest electronics. Like a junkie, I need a little fix every once in a while.
Just the other day, Ruanita and I were sitting at the mall waiting for Sears to open so we could put down a huge chunk of money on new appliances (over which Ruanita had entered a deep state of mourning). It just so happened to be the first day that the new iPhone 5 came out and people were lined up at the Apple Store waiting to get in. I casually mentioned that I would love to have the new iPhone. Ruanita—the love of my life who still talks on a little flip phone that is older than my children and sports a rockin’ wrist strap that sways in the wind when she talks—looked at me as though I had just announced that I wanted to strip off my clothes and streak through the mall. She could not fathom the thought of buying a new phone when she had a perfectly good—“good” being a relative term—phone that still worked. The concept of buying something that was not a necessity was lost on her.
That right there illustrates exactly what I am talking about. If I did not have Ruanita to answer to, I would have been right there in line with the other idiots waiting to fork over $400 for a new—completely unnecessary—phone. And if Ruanita did not have me to answer to, we would be standing outside in snow up to our elbows attempting to cook Kraft Macaroni & Cheese on the grill because “We don’t really need a stove, do we?”
That, my friends, is what marriage is all about—knowing that whatever stupid thing you want to do, you’re going to have to answer to someone when you get home.
And having to answer to the old ball and chain about money is why my marriage is just like your marriage.
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