The experience that I share in this story occurred eight years ago – I’m excited to share this story with you in the hopes that it will inspire you.
“It’s my husband’s responsibility to pay most of the bills,” the voice inside my head stubbornly insisted.
My husband and I had just finished discussing our anticipated expenses and income for the coming month. To our dismay – but not complete surprise – there was once again a shortfall. We looked at the calendar to see where he could squeeze in a few more solo performances to make up the difference. Fortunately, his career as a professional singer/songwriter gave him the flexibility to book extra performances. However, challenges with scheduling sometimes made this difficult.
He turned to me and spoke with a direct yet non-accusing tone, “How come we haven’t talked about your income? What can you do to help out?”. His questions were reasonable and thoughtful, and I could sense his intention was sincere.
But it didn’t help to settle the churning feeling in my stomach.
My mind lit up and anxiously listed the reasons why I couldn’t be expected to bring in more money; I was just starting my business. I had to put money back into it, if I wanted to make it. And the grand daddy of them all – It’s my husband’s job to provide for us.
I cringed listening to the words from my own mind.
In addition to believing it was my husband’s responsibility to pay most of the household bills, I also believed I needed to be very careful with my own money. I was afraid to share it with my new husband; I wanted to keep what I had earned and saved for myself, so I could take care of my own needs.
I felt small, and guilty, admitting this to myself. I saw how my husband was taking on the emotional burden of financially providing for us. I also was torn inside. I sincerely wanted to contribute more, yet, I felt justified in having the beliefs I did — with an almost child-like conviction.
Searching the Past for Clues
Images of my father flashed in my mind. Suddenly I was twelve years old again.
As a child I sensed my father hoarding his money. When my mother would ask him for extra cash he often told her there wasn’t any available. But, a few days or weeks later he’d buy a new tool or piece of equipment.
My mother, on the other hand, was generous with money. She was always quietly giving us some to buy clothes with, and to help us out.
My father could be generous with money too. I remember him helping me buy a car, and sending me checks when I was in college. I always appreciated those expressions of love and support.
Being the major breadwinner, my father was in control of the family money, but he wasn’t entirely honest with it, and would make decisions without my mother’s knowledge or input. He seemed to be mostly focused on himself.
And now here I was in my thirties, handling money with my husband in the same way my father did with my mother.
I decided to share this discovery with my husband – even though I felt embarrassed about it. After we talked, I felt a lot lighter, and more willing and able to change.
Honesty will improve your relationship & your finances
This conversation with my husband took place many years ago, and it’s had a significantly positive impact on our finances and relationship.
Had I continued to feel justified in believing it was my husband’s job to be the main breadwinner, I wouldn’t have known the excitement and joy that comes from providing for someone I love. It’s a lot more empowering and rewarding to perceive my career as not only a means for helping my clients and living my purpose and passion, but also as a means to provide for my family, instead of just for myself.
I’m telling this story to encourage you to gently acknowledge and share with your partner your own financial influences, because I know it will significantly impact your future. You’ll be surprised to discover how certain pieces of your past affect the way you handle money now.
1) Download this article, print one for you and your partner
2) Schedule a date to discuss and share your responses
3) I’d love to hear about what you find out, so feel free to email me about your personal insights or “Aha’s.” Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Cunningham specializes in working with women entrepreneurs who experience fear and self-doubt in their ability to consistently make more money in their business. The end result that women achieve through following Leslie's advice and expertise is that they are able to permanently get off the emotional financial roller coaster ride and break into six-figures and beyond. http://www.FinancialDating.com