My husband and I argue about money. He hates being in debt and wants to pay off our mortgage. He says I am a spendthrift because I refuse to budget and I believe I will always have enough. How do I get him to see that his negative attitude will create the poverty he fears?
Few of us have a healthy relationship with money. Why? Because money evokes two powerful emotions: fear and greed.
Deep down, most of us fear poverty. Buried in our subconscious is a worst-case scenario: someone living on the streets, or an elderly person in a run-down house, neglected and alone. This pauper embodies all our fears about money. We don’t want to face these fears, so we keep the image well buried. If it came to the surface, we would recognise the pauper at once. He or she looks like us.
Rather than facing our fears, many of us choose to accumulate money or possessions. Our greed can manifest itself in different ways. We can be like Scrooge, hoarding money against some fearfully imagined future. Or we can act on nearly every whim to spend, cluttering our lives with possessions that we don’t really need. No one wants to admit to greed. We cover our greediness with lots of excuses.
You think your husband is the only one driven by fear. You think that you are not fearful because you employ a carefree attitude to money. You think you have a positive attitude with your mantra of “I will always have enough.”
If it is true that you are not fearful, why are you worried about his attitude to money? Genuine positivity is unconditional. It doesn’t depend on your husband having a positive attitude too.
The truth is you are just as fearful as he is. That”s why you need your positive attitude. It covers up your fear. And why wouldn’t you be fearful? Your attitude to money is cavalier. You refuse to budget. That means you must be free to satisfy any impulse to spend.
Responsible couples are aware of how much money is coming into the household, and how much is going out. Then they work together to establish their priorities and decide on a budget.
You and your husband are locked in a battle. He wants to spend the excess to pay off the mortgage and you want to use it as you see fit. Neither of you are right or wrong, you just have just different approaches. And both have a degree of merit.
You each need to stop defending your own approach and look at the other’s perspective. Arguing intensely keeps you from focussing on the issue. You are defending your egos. You have to get past your ego to resolve issues like this and make a relationship work.
To deal with your ego, be honest about your feelings about money. Explore your fears. Be brave and imagine your worst-case scenario. Breathe through any emotions that this evokes. Embrace the pauper in your scenario with love. Remember, fears have no power once they have been fully confronted.