How Can I Change My Spouse?

by mike on October 14, 2010

            Don’t tell me you have never thought it before.  “How can I get my spouse to change?”  It might just be one little thing.  It could be a long list of things.  Either way, it can be easy to fall into the “if only” game.  “If only he would pick up after himself.”  “If only she would stop nagging me.”  It can be very dangerous to fall into this trap.  There is obviously reasons why you chose your spouse to be with for the rest of your life.  The key is to understand that you cannot change your spouse.  You can only change yourself and your attitude toward your spouse.  The aspect of your marriage where this is the most important is in your finances.

            Some people are natural spenders.  This definitely describes me.  If I have money in my pocket, it is spent and spent fast.  The disadvantage to this is unchecked, I would never have money for emergencies, large purchases, or retirement.  The advantage is that I do have some fun.  I like eating out, going to concerts, or going to Major League baseball games.  My wife Mandy enjoys these things too, but probably wouldn’t spend the money on them if not for my influence.

            Some people are natural savers.  This describes Mandy.  She is great at putting money away.  The disadvantage to being a prolific saver is you run the risk of not having a life.  If all you do is sock every extra penny away, you won’t have any fun.  The advantage is that you have a wonderful security blanket.  Your future will be bright, considering you won’t have to eat dog food for retirement.

            Some people are natural budgeters.  This also describes me.  I love working with numbers.  There is not much that gets me more excited than putting a budget together and getting everything to balance out.  I also enjoy doing it because it is a built in accountability so I don’t spend everything we have.  Having a plan keeps me focused, knowing that it is worth it in the end to not spend everything.

            Some people are natural free spirits.  For some, the thought of doing a budget makes them want to gag.  Sitting down and going through numbers for an hour is not your idea of fun if you fall into this category.  Doing a budget can make a free spirit feel trapped and restricted.

            In most cases, you and your spouse will fit into opposite categories.  You just have to learn how to blend them together.  The great thing is you will complement each other well.  The spender will help the saver have some fun.  The saver will help the spender be able to retire with dignity someday.  The budgeter will help the free spirit get on a plan.  The free spirit will help the budgeter to have some flexibility.  Learn to celebrate and be thankful for these differences versus dwelling on them and complaining about them.  Then you don’t have to worry about changing your spouse.  After all, why change them when they are who you fell in love with in the first place.

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