Money and Matrimony

By Megan Segura – October 24, 2011

Lessons from the Happily Married

A recent article in the New York Post had me running to the bookstore to buy a copy of The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Marred by Iris Krasnow.  As soon as I opened it, I didn’t want to put it down.  In the book, Krasnow takes us behind the curtains of several long-lasting marriages. Through their own words, these wives share what they consider to be their secret to staying committed.

While the sexual details in this book were positively stunning (a woman married for 32 years describing her swinger lifestyle..), it was the role money played in these relationships that I found so interesting.  Each woman reveals her own relationship to money within her marriage, and why she feels so strongly about making her own.  In fact, a major underlying theme of the book is how many of these women believe that their financial independence is a major key to their own happiness and therefore, the success of their marriages.

Hitting Hard Financial Times

I always assumed money troubles were only a problem in the beginning of marriages, and that over time work-related success and comprises over spending habits would settle those arguments.  However, the author of this book paints a different picture.  She writes, “As the recession is flattening many professions, (therapists’ and lawyers’) practices are flourishing.  Remembering your marital commitment to hang in there during tough times has never been more challenging as more husbands, who for years, went to work in Duke of Windsor-style suits are schlepping around in bathrobes scouring want ads, and women have to pick up the slack.”

Losing Your Bread & Butter

A couple of women in the book share their resentment toward having to work because a husband has been laid off.  They feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under their feet – and it has.  However, being willing and able to contribute the household finances does not only help to alleviate the obvious strain on the family bank account, but just the ideas of team work can help take some of the stress and pressure off the relationship.

One woman named Jade writes, “When money is a problem in marriage, everything else is impacted.  Money worries can negatively color pretty much everything else in your life.  Money is the thing that enables many of the wonderful dimension of your life to exist, and the lack of money kills so many other dimensions.  If you are worried about day-to-day sustenance, guess what? Are you going to be in the mood for sex? Are you going to be pleasant and happy? Probably not.” According to the book,  it seems women who work are able to keep their marital money problems more successfully at bay, than women who don’t…

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One Response to “Money and Matrimony”

  1. Louie says:

    The double income family is a relatively new phenomenon in the grand scheme of American history. In the past, women were relied upon to manage the household income stream and stretch that income to a comfortable level within the income bracket that was available, along with saving for that rainy day. I can actually remember when my wife and I saved our loose change to get a Pizza. We were happy and excited to do so.
    Today’s families seem to burden themselves with more material things and possibly have an attitude of work position competitiveness along with “what’s mine is mine” attitude. Certainly, struggling to survive, places a huge pile of pressure on anyone, but beyond that, when is enough ever enough? That’s where a shared value systems come into play. Naturally women in the work force is not only great for the added income, but also great for that “feeling of self worth” and accomplishment. There’s no shame, actually admiration, for the family that elects for the Mom to stay at home and actually raise their own children. When all is said and done, you need to be able to look back at what actually was important. I know a lot of really well to do, if not better, folks who will never be happy with what ever amount of money they amass. There’s a big difference between a couple having to both work, rather than the lucky ones today who have the choice. Which ever way it goes, remember it’s a partnership. When one falls down the other needs to be there with a hand out to help the other partner up. The legacy of “The women’s movement” is not always the best way to view situations. Couples don’t compete, they add to each other and work toward a happy median.

Any Thoughts?