150424 Wedding RingsWhile taking Dean Kashiwagi’s class this semester I was really interested in how he applied IMT in his relationship with his family and his wife. To have been married that long and to be able to raise his children in a nonconventional way was interesting to me for it is not something that is very common today. On the LSA Student Chapter website I watched one of his son’s videos explaining how he used IMT in his marriage and how it made for them to be more successful. I am not married right now but I am in a serious relationship with my boyfriend, Nick, and I know we will have a long future together. He is the person I know I want to spend my life with and I want us to have a happy life together.  I have begun explaining and talking about the theory of IMT with him and we have both been trying to implement these teaching into our lifestyle. It has allowed me to observe my boyfriend’s behaviors and understand his reasoning and beliefs behind why he does or sees things a certain way.

My boyfriend and I have known each other for about 5 years now. We met my sophomore year and his senior year of high school and have been friends ever since. Over the years we both grew fond of each other and knew that we wanted to be with each other and no one else. It has been over a year since we started dating but because we have known each other for so long it seems like it has been even longer than that. Even though I have known Nick for so long, I discovered things about him in this last year of us being together than ever before. I know his likes and dislikes and how he might behave in a situation. It has been a journey to discover all of these things. The trust that was built in our relationship happened over time from us being friends first. Completely understanding and accepting someone is not always easy and it takes time even if it is the person you love.

Recently we started living together; or rather my boyfriend has moved into my parents’ house with me. I never thought I could ever picture myself living with someone else or that my parents would have been the one to suggest this living arrangement. Currently we are trying to save money so that we can get a place of our own. I only work part time because of school so I don’t make much money but Nick has a well-paying full time job. While we have been tight on money we noticed that it caused a stress in our relationship were small arguments seemed to develop but they almost always revolved around money. We both had to start making decisions on how much to save and spend. Nick started to us the words “our” money rather than looking at it as to separate things. This was a foreign concept to me because of the way my parents did things.

When I was little my mother stayed at home to raise me and my older sister while my father went to work. He was always the one to handle the money and control how it was spent. We were fairly wealthy when I was a child so my mother was free to spend how she like. As I got older times got tough and we didn’t have the amount of money that we did when I was a kid. My mom had no choice but to go back to work so that she could help out in the household. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, just untill my parents got back onto their feet, but temporary has lasted for eight years now. Through this time I have seen what money has done to them and watched them go from “ours” to mine and yours. I think this was created from the control my dad felt like he had to have over the money especially when the resources were not always plentiful. It has created a fear in me because I have almost seen my parents split up over these arguments over money. Nicks family is fairly similar to mine in the aspect of income. We are both from middle class families but unlike my family though, their beginning was a little rougher. His dad worked two to three jobs at a time trying to support his wife and child and when his mom could work again she did the same thing. Much like my parents, they weren’t always the smartest about their money but they never let their kids know about the issues until they were older.

I know that the type of relationship I have with my boyfriend is very different than what our parents have but having that thought in the back of my mind always makes talking about money problems an issue for me. It’s not that I have a problem sharing my money with Nick or that I think he will try to control me, but I feel uneasy about the unequal balance of money. He makes way more money than I do and I don’t like the feeling of spending the money on stuff that’s just for me when he was the one who earned it. In my household, who ever made the most money was the one in control of the major expenses rather than a team effort. Although I see us as a partnership, I am just starting to adjusting to things that are truly “ours” and not just his or hers.

Taking this class has allowed me to observe and understand my partner’s behavior and beliefs about things. His reasoning behind what things are “ours” is because he truly feels that way with me already. For a while when, we first started dating he wouldn’t let me pay for anything and at that time I didn’t mind. The longer we were together though it bothered me that I couldn’t contribute to our relationship financially. He told me the only way he was able to accept me wanting to pay was to look at it a different way. This is where his idea of the “our money” concept came into play and that is when he was a lot more accepting of me picking up the bill at restaurants or paying for movies. He has no problem sharing money or expenses with me now.

Nick is an only child so he never had to share with siblings like I had to. Having an older sister, I was the most spoiled out of the both of us but that didn’t mean my parents didn’t make us share. We shared toys, and as I got older, clothes and make up. When times were tough, we even had to share a bedroom. I am commenting on this because of something Dr. Dean said in class: a child that is never told to share is more likely to share when they are older rather than a child that has been told to share their whole life. This is because the child that was never forced to share has a better understand of what is theirs, and the one that has been forced to share wants to hold on to everything they have. When he explained this in class everything seemed to click into place for me about this situation. Nick understood how to share better than I did and was more used to the idea because of his family history. While I don’t have a problem sharing my money with him, I would hate to burden him with my expenses

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Comments (1)

  1. Tanner Swanson

    Reply

    Heather, you have a wonderful evaluation of yourself and your relationship in this piece. I would be very interested to know more explicitly what you feel contributes towards a more stable environment. I know from experience that my father manages the finances in our family, but both my father and my mother put a certain percentage (like 5%) aside for themselves to spend however they want. This means any fixed costs (i.e. house, car, insurance, food, etc.) are paid for mutually regardless of income and who uses the item, but all discretionary spending (eating out, movies, etc.) are all paid for from their personal account. At the end of the month leftover money in the mutual bank account is put into savings for investment or a rainy day.

    I think this does well in balancing the need for “ours” and “mine/yours” because all necessary costs are contributed to by both parties and unnecessary costs, usually the source of conflict, only come from one persons’ resources.

    Although I do wonder if only having a mutual account would be preferable, I wonder as to the benefits because I see the above situation superior in most ways.

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