When I was single I paid the bills. When I first got married, I paid the bills. In fact, I paid the bills for fifteen years.
One day my husband opened a phone bill and flipped. He thought the finances could be better managed if he paid the bills.
Unclenching my tight little fists and giving him rein over that territory wasn’t easy, but he really wanted to and… he sweet-talked me.
Some of my friends nodded, said “Ahhh” and assured me when their husbands made similar requests, the new deal was short-lived. Their partners got tired of the responsibility fast.
Not my guy. Fast forward two years and he’s still plugging away. Meanwhile I’ve been biting my lip and grinding my teeth. I don’t think the arrangement is working because…
1. He’s late. Not all the time; not on everything, but enough to make me lose a beat when I open a bill and see it’s not paid. Although he’s been very successful sweet-talking his way out of late fees, I still cringe.
2. He’s not organized. There’s just a big pile of paper stuffed into a drawer. The mad rush at tax time to find receipts and explain checkbook entries is not fun.
3. He throws away (or loses) important information. I have no idea what he does with it.
4. His paying the bills does not bring our relationship closer together. Trust me.
5. Basic checkbook savvy demands entering the amount of the check into the checkbook and subtracting it from the total to accurately portray the balance in the account.
6. Did I mention he’s late? (Yes, I’ve run frantically over to Sears to pay the credit card bill on its due date. That’s true. But… it was on time.)
7. On-line is not necessarily better because… it can still be late. And, the off-line payments must be mailed.
8. Service to the Internet (or any other kind) can be cut off. One day my husband was home working on his computer when it went dark. He was dumbfounded to learn the paperwork he’d been tossing for months about our provider switching companies was actually a bill. Several hours later, he’d sweet-talked his way out of any penalties or late fees, but he was stressed to the max.
9. Although I’m not paying the bills, I find myself reminding him of certain due dates emblazoned in my brain.
10. My blood pressure rises to the danger zone when he’s stopped for speeding while we’re on vacation five states away. The officer checks the Department of Motor Vehicle Records and informs us the vehicle registration hasn’t been paid for a year. I gasp for air visualizing bad prison scenes.
I told you he was a sweet talker; somehow we drove away slowly with only a warning ticket.
I’m not so good at sweet-talking so I need to be direct.
You have a lot of stellar qualities honey, but bill-paying isn’t one of them.
The bills are coming home to Mama. ~JD here.
Hi JD – when I married my current (and last) husband, we decided to have “finance committee meetings.” This was our effort to sit down together every other week and pay bills, decide about spending and saving, etc. Well, I had purchased my own car and condo and was a single mom before we got married, so I had a pretty good handle on bill paying, or so I thought. Our meetings erroded gradually as I was cooking and taking care of pre-teens and an infant plus working a full time demanding job. It was practically painless because now, after 20+ years, I’ve let it go and become so clueless that I don’t even know how much some of the bills are! So, beware, if he does ever get better at it, you can become clueless too, and it’s often not such a bad place to be.
Candace, I appreciate what you’re saying; I wish it could be that way. I would love to let it go, but there’s still a boomerang following me around right now… Or maybe we could implement a “finance committee” type meeting (I shiver a little at the mental picture of that)… I guess it’s all a work in progress. Thanks for your insights, JD
That would drive me completely BATTY!! Call me a control freak (I am), but I could never hand over the bills to my husband. I’d have to be locked away in a padded room (which may end up happening anyway…)
Nice job with semi-detachment!
(LOL) Semi-detachment is a polite way to look at it. Quietly seething underneath trying to encourage and not nag is another. Because what happens when you’re both control freaks? Thanks for commenting. ~ JD
Aauughh! Men! Bills! Paperwork!
I pay the utilities, which is why the lights are still on. And the gas & electric, water & garbage. I pay for the land line phone, and my husband pays for the Internet. He is addicted to the Internet, and I think that’s an automatic payment, anyway. He recently talked with the new provider, who suggested that we combine land line and Internet on the same bill, with wonderful new features, for only $5 more a month.
“If you decide to do that, I’m giving you back that bill,” I said.
So far the phone still works, and I’m on the Internet right now.
Kathleen, There’s not much else to say except GOOD for you! ~ JD
Pingback: No “Easy” Button? Try This. | Sit. Desk. Write.