Author Topic: control  (Read 12710 times)

SomeYoungGuy

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control
« on: October 10, 2013, 10:42:08 PM »
(FYI - I've edited the subject from 'what do you let your wife control?' to try to tone down the offensive tone, as pointed out to me later)
I am on the cusp of early retirement, the only struggle left is where our money goes, which is mostly dictated by the extra expenditures that my wife wants to incur.  I can understand that she wants to feather the nest, and it is still very early for me to walk away from a steady paycheck, but I am a very open minded person and she is very black and white.  In her mind, you just don't retire until something is killing you or you , have billions of dollars, and even then she would probably complain.  I can give her $600 cash a month without batting an eye, but this did not make her happy, so I am at the end of my rope on this.  I actually enjoy the challenge of taking whatever I can get my hands on and turning it into something.  I can only imagine what is possible if I had $600 a month... What else can I do?  I don't ever want a divorce ever, even if I have to keep working.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 01:00:00 PM by SomeYoungGuy »

iamlindoro

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 10:51:41 PM »
You don't mention whether your wife works.  If she wants to have more spending money, surely it's reasonable that she work for it?

Need more info to make a value judgment, I guess.

TS

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 10:56:00 PM »
If you earn a couple of thousand dollars a month, $600 a month on personal expenses would be outrageous.  If you earn $1 million a year, it would be perfectly reasonable (albeit not mustachian).  I think we need some more information to give you a sensible answer.  How much do each of you earn?  What are your goals and how close are you to meeting them?

In general terms though, I would say that as part of a couple, you have to balance both of your needs/wants/goals for the future to reach something you are each happy with.  You've said that you will keep working, so maybe you just need to have a proper conversation with your wife about how much is enough for her to feel comfortable with early retirement also.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 11:03:29 PM »
I think the issue here is summed up pretty well in your title: what do you LET your wife CONTROL. Relationships should be based on compromise, shared goals and caring for each other, and the title of your post suggests that maybe that's something you've both lost focus on? Personally I don't LET my partner do anything - he is an adult and responsible for his own choices, as am I :-) I would be horrified if he talked about "letting me have control" over something!

So assuming what you really mean is, how do you negotiate with your partner to get them on board with your early retirement dreams:
Sit down and work out your shared vision for the future. Focus on the things you both want: do you both want to have a stay at home parent if/when you have kids? Do you both want to have a large emergency fund so you never have to stress? Do you want to have enough financial flexibility to pursue jobs you want but that are lower paid (or unpaid!)? Once you have the shared goals, you can work out strategies together to help you reach them. I find that working towards shared goals makes people a LOT happier to work towards individual goals at the same time.

Another way to come at it might be to identify any alternative reasons to not spend the money... as you say "feather the nest" I wonder if she's spending a lot on "stuff" and the concept of avoiding consumerism, or helping the environment, might appeal to her more than early retirement?

One of the strategies I used was to find MMM articles that were 100% in line with my partner's beliefs (such as not wanting to commute long distances to and from work) and showing them to him as a hey, look at this cool article, it reminded me of you! gesture. Once he'd established some level of agreement with MMM beliefs in several areas, he was more receptive to the new concepts like early retirement.

GoStumpy

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 11:09:32 PM »
Yeahhh... this goes far beyond just a money issue.  This is about control.  And by the way you're talking, you're controlling, and she's pushing back. 

I can relate, when a woman feels 'controlled', they almost always spend even more, because 'he can't control me'.

It sounds like she doesn't want to take the risk of early retirement, perhaps you two need to talk together about how much is enough, what age, etc... If this is all your master plan of saving & spending control, there's little chance in hell she will go with you on it.
 

dragoncar

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 11:37:35 PM »
Nothing.  I rarely even let her out of the dungeon.

bikebum

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2013, 12:05:15 AM »
Could you ask her something like "Do you think I should work more than I want so I can buy that for you?" That's probably what I would do if someone wanted me to pay for luxuries. I'm sure you will know if that is a bad idea for your situation.

kt

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 01:31:52 AM »
i would agree with the others who say that your post is badly (or tellingly) titled.

can you tell us a bit more about you and your wife, do you both work, are your finances merged or separate or do you control it all (sounds like it from 'give her $600 cash a month').

your wife's concerns about early retirement may stem from two places
1. financial concerns - will you have enough. if you can show her the sums (investment income, outgoings budget, stats on market returns over time) you may be able to reassure her. but it might be a long process. i am getting used to the idea of investment although i won't be able to invest for a few years yet and though my head tells me it makes sense, my gut isn't quite happy yet.
it also sounds like you might keep doing some work (enjoying the challenge of taking something and turning it into something). it's worth saying that if things do go wrong you can always go back to work.
2. social concerns - what will people think. as in, what will people think if you don't work. and also linked to the first, will we be able to afford the things people expect us to have.
also, how will you cope personally. it might help if she knows what you want to do with your retirement. also, does she get to retire too? maybe she fears she'll be working and end up having to keep you (again, understanding the sums may help).

i agree that you need a joint master plan.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 02:43:31 AM »
I can relate, when a woman feels 'controlled', they almost always spend even more, because 'he can't control me'.

It sounds like she doesn't want to take the risk of early retirement, perhaps you two need to talk together about how much is enough, what age, etc... If this is all your master plan of saving & spending control, there's little chance in hell she will go with you on it.

Yes, definitely.

I'm pretty much in charge of our finances. My wife has certain goals she wants to reach. Almost impossible goals, but I try my best to get a tight budget so we can make it happen. She'd get upset anytime I mention that maybe she shouldn't stop at the grocery store on the way home from work every day, and buying lots of expensive food (much of which ends up being thrown away). I'd push, she'd push harder.

Eventually I figured that the "normal" way to handle it is to sit down and talk it through. We had joint goals, I'm trying my best to meet them. I show her how much was being spent on groceries (actually added up the past several weeks...I didn't try to pick a particular bad week). Explained how frustrating it was for me, because I'm supposed to figure out how to make Y happen, but she gets mad if I try to...you know...make Y happen the only way I know how. We were able to figure out a solution together. I'm still not thrilled when she goes over budget for the week...but I'm able to let it slide a lot more than before. And she knows I'm not trying to be controlling for the pure heck of it.

Talk with your spouse. Ask what he/she wants, say what you want. Proceed from there.

SnackDog

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 02:46:50 AM »
Figure out what she spends it on. If she really needs more, see if she is willing to get a job.

lentilman

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 04:26:27 AM »
Some specifics would help.  How old are you and the wife?  Does she work?  What are her lifestyle expectations in relation to the income level at current FI?

steveo

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 04:40:14 AM »
Nothing.  I rarely even let her out of the dungeon.

Thats slack. I let mine out to change nappies, clean the house and cook dinner.

It works great.

ender

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 04:42:28 AM »
I think the issue here is summed up pretty well in your title: what do you LET your wife CONTROL. Relationships should be based on compromise, shared goals and caring for each other, and the title of your post suggests that maybe that's something you've both lost focus on? Personally I don't LET my partner do anything - he is an adult and responsible for his own choices, as am I :-) I would be horrified if he talked about "letting me have control" over something!


Well said.

chasesfish

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 05:01:00 AM »
Anything she wants to control?  That's the correct answer for a happy marriage.

happy

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 06:10:30 AM »
Well what does she let you control?


Mega

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2013, 06:38:31 AM »
Well, my wife is a teacher and absolutely LOVES her job. She wouldn't retire even if we won 50 mil in the lottery (not an endorsement of lotteries).

I have explained to my wife how I would like to spend the summers with her and our children. She responded back that no company would let me take summers off. I explained that IF I am FI, I get to set the terms of employment (e.g. Quit if they don't give me summers off).

She didn't quite grasp the power of FI, but I think I made a crack in her mental schemas regarding work.

Maybe you can find a similar way to alter her mindset.

GuitarStv

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2013, 06:48:22 AM »
'Let' ?

We're an equal partnership, working towards the same goals.  I let my wife do anything she wants because I trust her.  You need to talk everything out with your wife and get both of you on the same page with regards to spending and needs/wants.

oldtoyota

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2013, 07:33:04 AM »

I can relate, when a woman feels 'controlled', they almost always spend even more, because 'he can't control me'.
 

Same goes for men. I think we're really talking about humans even though you guys are blaming women.

The type of reproductive system one has probably doesn't factor into finances.

Like dragoncar, I also do not let the spouse out of the dungeon. Makes marriage a WHOLE lot easier.


oldtoyota

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2013, 07:35:23 AM »
Nothing.  I rarely even let her out of the dungeon.

Thats slack. I let mine out to change nappies, clean the house and cook dinner.

It works great.

I love this forum. I get so many great ideas. I'm going to let mine out to cook and clean too. Never thought of it before.

SomeYoungGuy

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2013, 07:41:05 AM »
Anything she wants to control?  That's the correct answer for a happy marriage.
Wow, thanks for all the feedback everybody, this is a great community!  OK, the title wasn't the best, but it was what was on my mind when I got started on posting, it's not like I think like that, I love my wife and family, but ER has become a source of friction.  A little more info, my wife has not worked since our first child 10 yrs ago, we have 2.  I don't think that my income is necessary to disclose, let's just say I'm at the prime of my career.  However, I love spending time at home and my job gets in the way more and more.  Sometimes I think the trade-off is reasonable, even if we do have good savings, but there are more and more signs that I should hang it up and make ER work.  For instance, this week I was driving home and saw a guy in a nasty motorcycle accident and thought about how much I hate my commute and how short my healthy life may be.  Yesterday, I had a typical one of those stressful time rushes between getting home late until going to bed of getting a child across town for tae kwon do while my wife ran our daughter to gymnastics, getting dinner, getting my jog in after the sun was setting, shower, read with the kids...  I was on MMM, exhausted, and know that there is a better way to live!

I was of the opinion of the person I quoted for a long time, but it means that I stay at the grindstone even if I know we can live within our means and have conquered the ER math (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement).  I thought a nice chunk of cash would give her the freedom to be independent, and if she wants to go back to work while I stay home, she can also spend that.  I have tried to convince her that we are financially independent (if I handle the finances), but without a paycheck she thinks that it's not possible - too many unknowns lurking in the future.  Sometimes I feel like we have pulled a 'Mustachian 180' in the wrong direction!

oldtoyota

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2013, 07:53:28 AM »
It sounds like you need to sit down with your wife after the kids are asleep to have a good conversation. Lay out the budget, the new income streams post-retirement, and anything else she needs to see.

The Shockingly Simple Math really is shocking to folks. If you can be patient and educate your spouse, then you'll probably see some change over time.

Also, you can "sell" it in terms of benefits. How will you being around more help her? What is the benefit to her?

Although married to a fairly frugal person, I still had some challenges. Get this. Recently, the spouse said, "What you've been doing with the finances is getting to me, because I am looking at the things in this place (store/food place) as delays to retirement."


willn

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2013, 08:07:20 AM »
If I was a wife of a good earning husband and he suddenly (more or less) came home and said "I'm retiring", I'd be scared and pissed probably.

I can't help thinking if you put yourself in her shoes and think about this major life change that way, you'll understand the source of friction more and be able to address it.

I know MMM is all about 'retiring' but I also sometimes wonder if people use that term without realizing what it can imply -- are you going to retire from life? Or just your current job?  Are you going to fish all day?  Play golf all day?  After 6 months of that you'll hate fishing and golf, I bet.  (This was my experience--I've lived life a bit in reverse, basically retiring first, then starting my careee--I spent years as a climbing bum--hanging out with climbers for 3 weeks at a campground will lower your IQ by 20 points, golfers are probably even worse)

So, what are you going to do?  You say you're at the peak of your career, I have a feeling you have a lot of value left to offer, but you can do it more on your terms--maybe you don't earn as much as you do in your current job but you can do something you love. If you're not sure what you love, you have to figure it out--most wives want their husband to be happy while being productive.


Spork

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2013, 08:17:28 AM »
Nothing.  I rarely even let her out of the dungeon.

Win.   ^^


But as to the title/post:  My wife controls most of the finances.  Why?   Because she's awesome at it.  She has a focus for detail and BY GOD THE BOOKS WILL BALANCE TO THE PENNY!  She has a proven record of being able to detach emotion from financial decisions.  (I used to buy stocks because I believed in a company... she will buy stocks/funds because they have a really good chance of making good returns.)

Figure out how to be a team in the financial realm.  If she has different goals, work on either finding a way to meet BOTH yours and hers... or find a midpoint that you can both aim at.   If she's a Spendy Spenderson with 10,000 pairs of shoes, you may find that your goals are 100% opposite.... but I don't think putting a saddle/bridle on her will really fix that problem.

cats

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2013, 08:43:55 AM »
I agree that if I were in your wife's position I would probably feel a bit freaked out by my husband coming in and saying he wanted to "retire" with two young kids at home and no income other than his.  I would also suggest having a long think (and then a talk with your wife) about what "retirement" would really mean.  Do you want to completely quite and earn zero dollars ever again, or do you think you would still want to work, just with a lot more flexibility?  If it's the latter, start laying out some specifics of how you are going to make a more flexible work situation happen.

Also, not to dismiss what your wife is doing as a SAHM, but do you think she would have any interest in working at all?  I know with my parents, my mother enjoyed staying home, BUT my dad was also working in a career that demanded a lot of long hours, so for her to have worked while we were younger, he would have had to cut back on his work hours a bit and take on some of the home/childcare responsibilities that she handled.  She basically felt that she wouldn't have many options for employment if it had to work with his work schedule.  If your wife feels this way also, maybe point out that you working less will give her more freedom to develop a career of her own?

SomeYoungGuy

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2013, 10:02:50 AM »
Thanks, this has been a really helpful exercise to hear everyone's input (even the 'funny posts', but it's too late to change the title now...).  I have been discussing ER for over a year on and off, trying to put a fixed date on it, so it's not like I'm making a snap decision.  I have some fuzzy plans on what I'll do after retiring, I have a website but could probably make more money mowing lawns.  I'm also nervous about sharing finances online... 
Of course I understand my wife's nervousness.  She is not convinced by the 4% SWR data, so I have also laid it out that we are already better off than many people that are already retired.  Probably the easiest thing to say is that my retirement is not set in stone, but as hard as it is to get out of the rat race, I'm pretty sure it will take financial Armageddon to make me consider going back to work, at least in a high earning position.
I will try some of the discussions people have suggested.  I'm at work right now, spending all this time on MMM (and FS, and countless other random links), so I think my days are numbered either way...

StarryC

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2013, 10:32:17 AM »
Are you saying that the ability for you to retire is dependent on her giving up/ not spending money on X things?  It might be worth it to determine why and how much she values X things.  It is easy for me to say that pets are a waste of money, haircuts are for losers, and all the cool kids eat vegetarian 3 days a week.  But you'll pry my nail polish purchases out of my cold, dead, beautiful hands.  If it is important to her, you might need to respect some of that. 

This seems like a key situation for a rental or other passive income stream if possible.  If you have 25x your annual expenses right now, and are therefore prepared to retire, would you be able to purchase for cash a rental property that would rent out at say $2,000 a month?  That might increase her comfort level as she could see income coming in every month that wasn't just imaginary stock market returns that aren't realized until sale.

Alternatively, if you think you can afford it now and you feel "done" with work, maybe you can ease in to it.  Ask at work for a "sabbatical" of 1 month off over the holidays (no pay).  Enjoy the time, and take the time to show your wife what your income would be in that one month from your investments. 

geekette

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2013, 10:42:52 AM »
I still can't get over the people implying that because your wife doesn't go to an office, she doesn't "work".  Wow.

My husband is currently temporarily "retired" (with the intent of going back to work next year).  Once I pointed out that I will never get to retire because food still needs to be procured and cooked, the house needs to be cleaned, laundry, dishes, bills paid, investments followed, appointments made, family stuff...etc., he's been helping out. 

Neither of us is spendy, though, but it has kept me from grouchily working while he sits and reads.

 

sassy1234

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2013, 10:56:55 AM »
"I think the issue here is summed up pretty well in your title: what do you LET your wife CONTROL. Relationships should be based on compromise, shared goals and caring for each other, and the title of your post suggests that maybe that's something you've both lost focus on? Personally I don't LET my partner do anything - he is an adult and responsible for his own choices, as am I :-) I would be horrified if he talked about "letting me have control" over something!"

I will second that comment.  I was highly offended when I read that title.   Marriage should be a partnership, and should not rely on controlling the other person.  That goes both ways between men and women. 

BoulderTC

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2013, 11:01:13 AM »
I think the issue here is summed up pretty well in your title: what do you LET your wife CONTROL. Relationships should be based on compromise, shared goals and caring for each other, and the title of your post suggests that maybe that's something you've both lost focus on? Personally I don't LET my partner do anything - he is an adult and responsible for his own choices, as am I :-) I would be horrified if he talked about "letting me have control" over something!


Well said.

+1

kt

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2013, 11:03:28 AM »
as well as assessing how she feels about the stuff she's buying, perhaps also see if there are things she'd rather be doing which she could do if you were able to look after the kids during times when you're now working.
also, you could approach 'retirement' as a one year/six month/whatever sabbatical to start with. i think this could be quite useful for getting you both to look at what you want to do with that set period of time and then at the end deciding if you enjoyed it and want more, if you didn't and want to try something else with your free time or if you want to go back to work. less scary and possibly more productive than 'work stops now'.

livetogive

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2013, 11:06:03 AM »
I think the issue here is summed up pretty well in your title: what do you LET your wife CONTROL. Relationships should be based on compromise, shared goals and caring for each other, and the title of your post suggests that maybe that's something you've both lost focus on? Personally I don't LET my partner do anything - he is an adult and responsible for his own choices, as am I :-) I would be horrified if he talked about "letting me have control" over something!


Well said.


+1


Just to play devil's advocate, I don't "LET" my wife control help with anything related to accounting and/or tax because she's just naturally bad at it, just like she doesn't "let" me help with anything related to decorating because I flat out suck at that.

The reason I say "let" is sometimes she tries to help out with the accounting and I freak out based upon past mistakes (we had a phantom $10k incident once) just like she freaks out when I decorate because she doesn't want our modest apartment to look like a homeless shelter.

BoulderTC

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2013, 11:11:49 AM »
I was also insulted by the title of this post.

I am the wife and I handle all of our finances for precisely the reason your title indicates -- if my husband handles the finances, he feels he should be in 100% control and becomes demanding of how money is spent and why, and that was not healthy for either of us. He wanted me to eat out less, buy less 'stuff', etc. But he also realized he was being unfair to tell me what I can and can't do. So, his solution was to give me 100% ownership of the finances. I set up a Personal Capital page that has all our accounts and we both have access to it anytime we want. I communicate with him often about how things are going financially. Guess what - now that I have done all the research myself to realize what each dollar means and how much it could work for us, I like being frugal too. The result has been that we're both completely on the same page and we both have a reverence for money but know that neither of us is in control. And that our marriage and happiness is far more important than who is 'control'.

Maybe giving your wife more 'control' than you'd like to hand over is the solution to your problem.

mollyjade

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2013, 11:28:35 AM »
We still don't have a lot of information about the way your household runs, but it sounds like the division of labor has her taking care of children, grocery shopping, and cooking (and perhaps many other household chores?) while your job is earning money. From her perspective, you're criticizing the way she performs her household role and planning to abandon yours.  No one likes being micromanaged. Step up and offer to take over some or all of the shopping and cooking. Not because she's doing it wrong, but because it's a step towards improving both your lives.

oldtoyota

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2013, 11:47:38 AM »
We still don't have a lot of information about the way your household runs, but it sounds like the division of labor has her taking care of children, grocery shopping, and cooking (and perhaps many other household chores?) while your job is earning money. From her perspective, you're criticizing the way she performs her household role and planning to abandon yours.  No one likes being micromanaged. Step up and offer to take over some or all of the shopping and cooking. Not because she's doing it wrong, but because it's a step towards improving both your lives.

Great first post. Welcome to the forum!

jba302

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2013, 11:57:45 AM »
I let my wife control whatever she tells me to.

secondcor521

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Re: What do you let your wife control?
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2013, 12:26:57 PM »
"A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still."

OP, you sound a lot like me when I was married.  To be a little melodramatic to get my point across:  I tried your approach with her.  She's now married to a different guy, who is actually more patient and giving with her than I was ever going to be able to be.  She has softened with his approach and is in fact even more reasonable with me (thanks to either being older or being married to this other guy) as we try to co-parent our kids.  I'm now FIRE/OMY, but I'm also single and miss the good parts of the relationship I had with her.

It will take longer to align both of your lives together than just convincing her that you're right about FIRE, but you'll have a better chance of remaining or becoming happily married.