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Day 23: Fights

I made $46 on Monday night. That’s good money for a Monday.

Man. I know everything about money.

I know what it looks like. I know what it smells like. I know how to count it. I know what it represents. I even know a few of the Presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. There’s another Prez on a different bill that looks like Michael Jackson. Another looks like an extra from The Patriot. The guy on the $20 looks windswept.

If you can wrap your head around money in any way, I’ve got you covered.

This is why marriage is so interesting. My wife knows, too. But she also feels. She feels the reality behind the knowledge.

I’ll give you an example. I know that money is exchanged for goods and services. My wife is the family Exchanger. She asks me what I want from the store. I tell her: Kit-Kats, cream soda and lunch meat. Oh and vegetables.

I kiss her on the cheek after putting in my order, grab my keys and head for the door, confident that I will see at least vegetables and lunch meat. I say goodbye to the sweet little princesses. They are being adorable.

The four year old is smearing powdered sugar on the table through a mixture of saliva and orange juice. She punctuates the potion by stabbing the table with the tines of her fork.

The six year old is weeping. I don’t know why. I ask the four year old.

She shrugs. Stab stab.

The one year old is feeding the dog handfuls of blueberries. Cute.

I say goodbye to my wife one more time before leaving for nine hours to play on computers with cool, adult, powdered-sugar-not-smearing people.

Then the feeling happens. Amazewife takes said Presidents to the store. She gathers much in the cart, returns what our children contribute, and heads to the front. She gets to the cash register and counts each bill out.

Twenty. Forty. Hundred. Hundred-fifty.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

We are swiping cards less and less. FYI: use cash so you can feel your money.

If money were bears that got too close to humanity, I just see where the animals were kept. She feeds them, trains them, then jabs them with a tranquilizer, hauls them to the forest and releases them in the wild before they wake up and maul her. Amazewife feels the money leave our family’s budget. I don’t.

It wasn’t always this way. We used to fight each other about which bear to tranquilize first. We used to rationalize a lot of debt. We used to cut a lot of corners for the sake of fear or acceptance or both. Now, we budget. We sacrifice. We tell our money what we want it to do, then we subdue it together.

Today I had the audacity to believe we weren’t in the money game together. A budget item came up. She was open about it. I listened. She told me I would say it was too much. I promised I wouldn’t. I even pinky swore.

And I meant it. I still haven’t said it.

But wow, did it begin to fester. I started to tell myself these amazing stories that helped me justify my vain and stupid expectations. I started to feel more and more hurt the more I told myself how wronged I was.

Wait no. How right I was.

“But RI,” you might be saying, “ there was a whole Elder’s Quorum lesson about resolving conflict in marriage this past Sunday.”

Yes. Yes there was. And I failed. Nobody told me about the pop quiz. I couldn’t even review my notes before the Teacher announced it.

“Attention, Class, and by class I mean RI, your wife is going to say she wants to spend a bunch of money. Wait, she just did. Ok, now you’ve got to resolve your own internal conflict, then have an intelligent, diffused conversation with the love of your life before coming to a mutual agreement. I started grading when your adrenaline kicked in. Begin now.”

I bombed it.

I felt terrible. I went to work on that terrible felt. I punished myself with four pieces of pizza and some diabeetus juice.

Mid-way through the night, I felt depressed. I couldn’t take it any longer. I called up AW. She was happy to hear me. I was happy to hear her. I asked if we were ok. She assured me that we were. We apologized.

I don’t know anything about money. I mean, I know some stuff. And I do feel some stuff, too. I feel our money when we’re using it to pay down debt. I feel our money when my wife celebrates staying in the grocery budget. All of those things feel so amazing.

And I see our future financial selves. I see freedom. I see giving. I see gifts coming out of our noses. I see us dispersing them to the masses of people that we know and love after we wipe them off. I see so many opportunities to just go buy fun experiences and fun stuff. That’s a ways off, though.

And I hate how fuzzy that picture gets when I have the audacity to fight with my wife instead of alongside her. I’m supposed to get the bear in the half-nelson while she sticks a needle in its butt. I’m not supposed to poke it with a stick as she approaches, only to run away like that kid on the Simpsons.

“Ha ha!”

I hope y’all can learn from my mistakes. Fight alongside your spouse. Do not approach dangerous animals without your wing person. Such animals may be finances. If the statistics are right, finances are at least one of your critters.

It might be other things like addictions to drugs, pornography, or even food or work. Whatever the case, be slow to speak, slow to wrath. Work together.

Then, together, you can grin and bear it.

ROE INTENSE

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