It’s tax time again. Most people view taxes (and money) with a certain amount of trepidation, ranging from mild discomfort to sheer terror. Money is a psychic carrier. I mean by that that we attach difficult problems in our lives to the concept of money.
For example, money is used as a means of value. We can decide that something is worth this much money, or not. It can rise or fall in value.
- We feel good when our house has appreciated, and is worth more than we paid for it, and we feel bad when it has depreciated, and we owe more on the mortgage than the house is worth.
- We feel good when we get a raise, and bad when we have to take a job making half of what we used to make.
- We feel less than or more than, inferior or superior based on where we stack up financially.
When we get through subjecting ourselves to this stringent accounting, we can do the same thing to our spouses! At the same time I have heard many people declare that money doesn’t mean that much to them. Money has most of us all tied up in knots. Tax time reminds us of this.
But where does the “True Love” part come in?
Take two people with two different ideas about money, throw them into a culture that is obsessed with money, don’t forget to add in the recent economic meltdown, and you’ve got… possibilities. We have choices about this. Even if we feel judged by how much money we have, we can decide to judge ourselves by a different standard. We all have to honor our own values. At the end of my life, I want to look back and see…what exactly? That is a good question to ask ourselves. What do I want to leave when I leave this world? I think of love and kindness, for example. At the same time, money is a tool for all of us. “Money is the prose of life.” I think it was Emerson who said that. We use money to build a life, and if we are married to build it together. The utility company wants money, not love and kindness. And so, we are going to have to have a relationship with our money. The first question is who’s in charge here? Money or me? Am I the employer, or the employee? We may need to change our behavior regarding money, and learn some new skills that will serve us better, but let us agree that money does not determine our worth. And then, let us decide that money does not determine our spouses’ worth either.
If you would like to explore the role of money in your life, order How to Talk to Your Spouse About Money here. I think you will like it.