I’ve been following the blog Why Get Hitched, which is about the benefits of getting and staying married. It’s kind of awesome. This week the author wrote about Meghan Trainor’s song “Dear Future Husband” and the requests she makes, one of which is for him to tell her she’s beautiful everyday.
It’s no surprise that most women feel taken for granted regularly (or at least semi-regularly). This is not a shortcoming in their personalities. It’s okay if you don’t understand it, just don’t allow your wife to feel this way if you want to have a happy marriage and if you want to have secure finances.
You see, we women like to feel appreciated, pretty, admired, respected, and desired. If our husband is not the source of these feelings, we will search other avenues – such as Sak’s Fifth Avenue.
As a financial planner, I hear – usually in jest (but not really) – “I make it and she spends it.” One of the reasons for that is because most husbands hate shopping, so who is going to buy the food and clothing for the family? C’mon, who are you kidding? All you’d buy is pudding cups. What are the kids’ shoe sizes? See, no idea. Therefore your wife must have the responsibility of procuring necessary items for the family and this action requires the exchange of value commonly known as “spending money.”
The other part of that situation is because women are more socially aware; we know what’s in fashion, what’s appropriate to wear to an event (my wonderful husband once suggested I wear a business suit to a formal fundraiser, for example). Careful consideration of style, cut, color (see, you’re already bored) appropriateness, comfort, fit etc. takes time and energy; men typically couldn’t be bothered and they’re usually not as socially aware. Social awareness (and having aesthetic sensibilities) is why women buy so many shoes.
You may not know this but I have a degree in Consumer & Family Affairs, and fashion merchandising & design was my major. The one thing that resonated and remains with me is that clothing is communication. Think of two women at a grocery store: One wearing a low-cut top and a short skirt and another wearing her pajamas. They’re both communicating something about themselves and their lives. Women who are more socially aware will be careful with what their clothing says about them, including what it says about their financial situation.
“Oh she may be weary, young girls they do get weary, wearing that same old shaggy dress, but when she gets weary, try a little tenderness.” sings Otis Redding
When your wife has a new article of clothing or accessory, you may not notice but other women (and maybe men) will notice and typically compliment her; so she feels pretty, admired, respected…this feels good! This is why women (and, to be fair, some men) shop for things they don’t “need:” It makes them feel good to be noticed. If you’re not noticing, appreciating, complimenting and kissing your wife, you can kiss your money goodbye.
This why so many couples argue about money. Most men simply don’t understand that their wives need to feel pretty and appreciated. Please don’t ask her to think about retirement plans when she’s busy folding three baskets of laundry. Help her fold the laundry, tell her that you appreciate her and that she is beautiful; there will be much less desire to go to the mall when there’s so much love at home!
In addition, when couples want to manage their money better, it helps when there are mutual goals that the couple can aim for as a team (as well as some judgement-free use-it-how-you-want individual “play” money). Creating a financial plan will help you & your beloved define your goals and values and determine what it is you should be doing (so you can stop wondering, worrying, wandering & squandering).
Back to the reason for this blog: if you want your wife to rein in her spending, she needs to feel beautiful, amazing, appreciated, and desired. As your financial planner, I advise you to tell your wife that she’s beautiful, regularly.