I remember having this exchange with my wife when I mentioned to her I was thinking we needed to hire a gardener to take care of the lawn.
It seemed like a good idea to me. We'd have more family time; I'd have more free time. And how much money are we really talking about here?
But when I approached her, she got annoyed. Okay, upset. I couldn't figure out why.
I approached her kindly, or so I thought. Didn't yell. Didn't address her in a condescending way.
After a lengthy discussion, we discovered that my wife and I have very different views on money.
I think of money as an opportunity to make my life easier: It buys me freedom, luxuries or free time.
My wife, on the other hand, thinks of money as security. Knowing we have money in the bank; in investments; in a college fund; or for a rainy day brings her great deal of comfort. That's a quite a difference. My desire to spend money on apparent luxury goes against her desire to save money to feel safe.
So here's my advice to couples: Have this discussion on money. You'll find it very enlightening.
1. Before opening any dialogue, identify what money means to you.
2. Attempt to figure out what money means to your spouse.
3. Talk about money with your spouse and see how close you are.
This discussion won't eliminate future arguments over money. But it will give you a greater understanding or where your partner is coming from. And that's a good start toward compromise.