This morning I thought long and hard about this relationship we call marriage. In three months and 1 day, I will have been married to the same man for 33 years. And I wouldn’t change a thing, there have been ups and downs and rounds and rounds, but the truest truth is that the love we share has never wavered and we have always known that everything we have and work for is ours. That is what I wish to talk about this morning, Yours, Mine, OURS…
I recall back in the day, all the married people I knew had corporate finances, meaning they understood that what was brought into the home was for everyone. Usually, back then, the man went out to work, bought home the money, gave to his woman with the understanding that food, clothing and shelter would be taken care of and if she earned any money, she knew what to do with it. Understood.
When I got married I also understood that what we worked for and had was ours, be it finances, children, big decisions, to make this thing work, we had to do it collectively. In the early years we had very little and as such we prioritized what we did with it. We paid our rent/mortgage, bought food, paid necessities, saved if we could and what, if anything was left over we spent collectively. Years later we still do the same thing, all we earn goes into one pot and we pay all the people we owe, together and we then we transfer little bits into our own pots. We call it play money. The funds left that I can buy shoes, books, shoes, etc. with or my man can buy shoes, electronics, shoes etc. with. And it works beautifully. Life is hard and we damn sure don’t need to be wrestling about money.
I don’t need my man saying, “Baby, where did the money go, the mortgage is due, we facing foreclosure and I see you have a new Brahmin bag.” And I’m not interested in saying, “I know you didn’t go golfing and there is no food in the freezer, Negro please.”
But, I am afraid that is how marriages are working out these days. I talk to so many young people and the biggest issue is money, money, money. And it is not always the lack thereof, but what is done with it. The wife feels what her man earns is theirs,and hers is hers, so she spends as soon as she gets it on ‘stuff’…bills be damned, then she spends the rest of the month mad because things aren’t paid. Or, the husband feels he works too hard to turn all his money over to a woman.” Mine and yours and nothing about ours, and that my dears mean nothing works. Marriage is a unity, or rather it should be and the minute or hour or day that one feels compelled to say, that is mine, there is not unity, gaming.
And in this day of unemployment and underemployment, there is always, it seems going to be a time when someone is going to earn more, or earn it all and if it is thought of as individual assets, the relationship is in trouble. So, what is the solution…Glad you asked.
Before we say I do, jump the broom, do the electric slide, we must have conversations about how things will be paid. There must be communication and no decisions made without discussion. If we are unwilling to do this we aren’t ready to be married. Point blank. And once married we must prioritize our finances. Bills must be paid, food bought before anyone gets new shoes, clothes or stuff, even the kids. Here is the thing, kids need love, food, shelter. Not designer clothes and toys. And if you don’t have money to buy food or pay rent, you damned sure don’t have money for Nikes. Harsh, no it isn’t, it is reality. When my kids were young, they got clothes in the spring, for school and at Christmas, period. Toys were for birthdays and Christmas. Yet, they were clean, tidy and pressed and they knew they were coming home to all they needed.
I know there are those who don’t agree with me and I am cool with that because we have been raised to believe that it is all me, me, me. Well I tell you what sweeties if you feel that way, you will have lots of time to sing that song because to be married, the word OURS has to come into play at some point.
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679