The phrase “love and money” hurts the ear. As a rule, conversations about money in a couple either do not arise at all at first, or turn into quarrels. As a result, partners cease to understand each other in this important issue for the family.
“Money, like sex, is one of the most taboo topics,” says psychotherapist Alexander Orlov. – We learn from childhood: it is not customary to talk about it. But the way we handle finances inevitably affects the relationship within the couple.
How much is the labor of a housewife
“Money is opportunities, and having different opportunities is important for each of us,” continues Alexander Orlov. “But maybe this is why the idea that the more money a person has, the more valuable it is, remains not only widespread, but also extremely stable.”
As a rule, women’s housework is not highly valued: no matter how hard it is, the husband perceives his own employment as a much more significant occupation. The situation is even worse if husbands doubt their own masculinity: then the size of the salary becomes for them the only way to raise the level of their prestige and self-esteem. And sometimes conflicts arise on the basis of confidence: “I earn more, so I am worth more.”
Mikhail is the CFO of a large company. His wife Anna takes care of two children. “I spend the absolute minimum on personal purchases because I feel indebted to Misha. He is convinced that I have not a life, but a continuous holiday. “While I’m doing my best at work,” he says, “you walk with the kids in the park.”
Many men sincerely do not understand how difficult it can be to take care of the house and children. How to get out of this situation?
First of all, the wife’s decision to devote herself to the family must be supported by both parties. The logic may be as follows: “If I go to work, we all have to say goodbye to hot dinners and switch to semi-finished products, you can forget about carefully ironed shirts, and children – about mother’s caresses.”
Housewives often have the feeling that they are being exploited, deprived of something, they are overcome with anger and resentment.
Then it is worth calculating what material benefit the family derives from the fact that the wife runs the household, because then the spouses do not have to pay for the services of a nanny and a housekeeper. However, in most cases, women do not dare to talk about it.
“Love, a sense of closeness and generosity do not allow them to touch on the topic of finance,” concludes French psychotherapist Jacques Salomé. “Nevertheless, housewives often have the feeling that they are being exploited, deprived of something, they are overcome by anger and resentment.”
By the way, thanks to savings on a nanny and a housekeeper, Anna contributes a decent amount to the family budget.
If a woman earns more
For many years, a wife in a traditional family was financially dependent on her husband. But in our time, the roles are changing more and more often. This new state of affairs leads some women to take revenge on men for years of submission. Their motto is “In our family, the man is me”. Even while remaining unconscious, this fantasy often leads to demasculinization (deprivation of masculinity) of the partner – to his symbolic castration.
Olga, an employee of a law firm, earns two and a half times her husband. “When we go to restaurants or go on vacation, I pay for everything, and Igor takes it hard,” says Olga. – Recently we wanted to buy a new music center, but the one that my husband liked was too expensive. We argued for a long time until I exploded: “In the end, I don’t care to pay!”
“There is an ancient image of a man-breadwinner in society,” says Alexander Orlov. – Not many can resist this stereotype. Therefore, in those families where the husband earns less, problems are almost inevitable: the wife may begin to perceive her partner as an unreasonable child or simply ignore his opinion. But these difficulties can be minimized. “
For example, choosing a technique, Olga could tell her husband: “If you like this center so much, maybe you will contribute some of your money?” That is, instead of trying to silence her husband, she would appeal to his sense of responsibility, leaving Igor with the opportunity to choose and maneuver.
“A man feels more comfortable if he earns, albeit not much, but more than his wife,” says psychotherapist Boris Shapiro. “But in any case, the family budget should be viewed from the point of view of the needs of the family, and not as a competition of partners from the position of everyone’s contribution to the common piggy bank.
Trial by unemployment
Losing a job can be a real challenge for a couple. Forced inaction greatly changes the image of a person: both he himself and everyone around him hardly recognize him. “All the energy of the unemployed is directed towards narcissistic self-flagellation,” says Jacques Salomé. “He closes in on himself and loses interest in life in general.”
As for the spouse, he often has a feeling of dissatisfaction and insecurity, and as a result, he begins to blame his partner directly (“You don’t bring money to the house!”) Or indirectly (“Did you go to the store?”).
“The loss of a job is especially traumatic for a man,” says Boris Shapiro. “Therefore, the wife’s task is to support her husband as much as possible, to help him survive this situation.”
Regarding the inevitable cost cuts associated with job loss, paradoxically, some couples can turn this situation to their advantage. If expensive entertainment and weighty gifts only masked the lack of true intimacy and warmth between spouses, then financial problems can push them to realize the problem and search for a way out of this situation.
Account: personal or shared?
Power is not always the property of the one who earns the most. In many pairs, one replenishes the piggy bank, and the other pays the bills. “By controlling a partner’s expenses, a man (or a woman) quenches his thirst for control,” comments Boris Shapiro.
Egor is a passionate music lover. He buys CDs all the time and has acquired two expensive guitars over the past two years. His wife Marina is unhappy: she would like her husband to spend less and save more for the children and just for the future. But Yegor doesn’t want to sacrifice his passion.
So where is the line beyond which we cease to consider the money earned by a partner as our own, and to what extent are we entitled to interfere in the financial affairs of a spouse?
If the one who spends excessively realizes that this disturbs his partner, he will need to take a step towards
If these issues are too acute, the husband and wife should discuss the rules of their marriage and conclude a prenuptial agreement. In an ordinary, uncontrolled married life, most couples prefer to have a common budget. However, the ideal option can be considered an option in which each of the spouses participates in its creation in proportion to their income, but at the same time has personal savings.
“Nobody owes this money to anyone,” notes Jacques Salomé. – The one to whom they belong can dispose of them at their own discretion. At the same time, he should not feel either guilt or discomfort for wanting to please himself or someone else. “
What can you say about those who, before the wedding, go to the notary to draw up a marriage contract? “This testifies to a very rational attitude towards marriage,” says psychologist and lawyer Mikhail Labkovsky.
“In most cases, when preparing for a wedding, people idealize their relationships and talk about feelings first. Of course, these thoughts are not well combined with any kind of accounting. However, if we return to the original idea of marriage, we will see that it was concluded in order to be able to prolong the family, manage the household and survive – together it is much easier than alone, says the psychologist. – That is why those who conclude a marriage contract today treat living together rationally and try to build relationships on something more concrete and tangible than the feeling of love.
In addition, such people strive to protect themselves at the very beginning of the path – and this is very meaningful, given how often marriages break up precisely because of money problems. At the same time, people who draw up marriage contracts are often not inclined to trust their partner to the end, which is why those who have already divorced one or several times and do not want to sue and share property with their ex-spouse more often go to the notary before the wedding. “
Union of opposites
A shared budget does not always guarantee the partner’s independence and freedom. “Some of us are brought up in fear of poverty, – adds Alexander Orlov, – others – in fear of extravagance. If spouses look at a problem from different angles, misunderstanding between them is inevitable. “
When dealing with an irresponsible partner who empties the family’s piggy bank, we have the right to be angry with him. But if he only spends his own money?
“Our reaction to our partner’s actions helps us realize our own fears,” says French psychotherapist Marie-Odile Steinmann. – When a partner spends too much, he awakens in us the fear of not having enough money. When he saves, he reminds his parents who saved all their money for a rainy day. Ask yourself what worries us about our partner’s behavior. By answering this question, we can develop a new attitude towards money. “
The most important thing for a couple is agreement on the fundamental values of being: common property, a sense of responsibility, and mutual respect. People who are guided in life by directly opposite principles cannot get along with each other.
“In this case, you need to appeal to the adulthood of the other,” says Boris Shapiro. “If someone who spends immoderately understands that this disturbs his partner, he will need to take a step forward and try to start controlling himself – after all, psychological comfort in a relationship is more important than any acquisitions.”