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Money, Marriage, and Migraines

With the recent tanking of the economy and stock market, my husband and I have arranged an appointment with each other at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to discuss each and every investment we have.

Sigh.

I look forward to these engagements with trepidation, because we have the classic marriage…one is a risk-taker and the other not so much. I’m the not so much one. Also, a male brain and a female brain are miles apart in how they process. Sometimes we arrive at the same basic financial conclusion, but I wonder if it’s worth all the gnashing of teeth and eyerolling and clamped lips to get there. I mean…I could just say, go for it, Jim! But the controller rises up in me with big, sharp, claws and hisses in my ear…what are you DOING? So I can’t just…let go of this. He is a huge risk-taker, investment-wise. I can’t see, in this current economy, how we could do any worse, but still. I want to take the reins on some of the decisions.

I’m reminded of my past life…a mishmash of crises and horrible decisions…and when I naively tossed all the financial situations to an ex-husband. Talk about a train wreck. I didn’t even see it coming, but I learned a huge lesson – no matter how difficult the discussions become, don’t bail on becoming involved in the family finances. My husband has a better head for numbers than I do, but my bottom-line instincts and common sense are better than his. Thus, we make a good team. We are frustrated with each other sometimes, but whatever. What marriage doesn’t have its frustrations?

Recently I read in some article that financial issues are the number one cause of divorce. I’d thought for a long time it would be infidelity, but nope. Finances. I thought that was interesting, and it highlighted for me how important it is in a marriage to be diligent about saving, investing, and spending.

My husband and I have very different ideas about spending, too.

Jim is a foodie. He admits it. He embraces it. He loves it. I like to surround myself with beauty, and that includes makeup, clothes, furnishings, nature. I’d much rather spend money on those things than food. Jim is horrified at this concept. I think it’s hilarious and unnecessary for him to clutch food to his chest like a teddy bear. This difference makes for some convoluted and difficult conversations around his constant treks to Harris Teeter, Publix, or his favorite, Wal-Mart. On the other hand, he never says a word about my various treks to Belk, Ulta, Marshall’s, and Homegoods.

We have an interesting dynamic in our marriage. Well, I call it interesting, my kids tell me to lay off Jim. I’m not the most patient woman, but I’m working on it. One way I work it out is writing. I recently wrote a short story about a thorn in my flesh for fifteen years with my husband…his desire for rockin’, rollin’, ear-splitting bass. In fact, we’ve crossed swords about this so often it’s become a (bad) joke. So I wrote a story about it. You can find it in the awesome “Rock, Roll, & Ruin” Carolinas Sister in Crime Anthology that just released. It’s titled ‘The Day the Migraine Died’. It was quite the cathartic exercise. I laughed all the way through typing it. You can get the ebook for $3.99. 27 stories from mystery and suspense authors, including mine. Forward by Hank Phillipi Ryan.


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