Attitudes towards money
People’s attitudes towards money vary enormously and are largely influenced by the values they were brought up with and, to a certain extent, how much money they have now.
Assuming there’s enough money to keep a roof over your head and buy basic food stuffs, what you do with the rest of your money will depend on your particular attitude. The following three statements broadly sum up the most common attitudes to money in today’s western culture:
1. Money is for enjoying – money is for spending on the things that make you happy. No one knows what the future may hold, so you should enjoy what you have when you have it. Money’s no use when you’re dead, so live for today.
2. Money is for security – money should be spent on making life comfortable. Once you have the basic home comforts, it’s important to have money put aside for a rainy day. No one knows what the future may hold, so it’s sensible to be prepared.
3. Money is for sharing – money should be shared generously with those you love and those less fortunate than yourself. Buying presents, entertaining others and giving money to charity creates feelings in yourself and others that are priceless. No one knows what the future may hold, and some day you may need the favour returned.
Negotiating the money minefield
If you and your partner have the same attitude towards money, the only thing you need to agree on is who’s going to manage the income and expenditure. (To see if you share the same attitude, see Your financial agreement.)
If your attitudes are quite different, you’ll need to agree on some basic budget priorities, such as how much money you’ll spend on household essentials and bills, how much on leisure and entertainment, and how much you’ll save. For help with this, see Creating a monthly budget.
However, if you find that no matter how hard you try to sort out your money differences you still end up arguing, perhaps money isn’t the issue at all.
Tidiness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us is brought up with a different view of what’s an acceptable mess.
If you grew up in a home where vacuuming and dusting was a daily duty, you’re likely to have a very low tolerance to untidiness.
If you were brought up to believe that a bit of mess makes a home feel lived in, your tolerance levels will be much higher.
There are no golden rules, and no right and wrong – just matters of opinion. So why do we hold on to those opinions so zealously?
Dirt, disgust and shame
As a child you may have been told ‘Your room is filthy’, ‘How can you live in this pigsty’, ‘Your bedroom is disgusting’ – possibly accompanied with a look of revulsion.
Shame is powerful weapon used by many parents to encourage their children to keep to the house-cleanliness rules. Tidiness can become a moral issue. Many people are brought up to think that the state of our home is a reflection on our character and we wouldn’t want to be thought of as slovenly or lazy.
It’s these feelings of disgust and shame that often fuel housework arguments.
Rotas, fairness and respect
We’re generally taught that housework is a menial, even demeaning task. After all, people with money and status employ other people to clean up after them.
Many people find rotas a useful way of avoiding housework battles. When everyone can sit down together and share out the work fairly, problems can be resolved.
Too often, though, rotas are written by one person and then imposed on others. If you want your rota to work, you must make sure it’s drawn up cooperatively.
Sex in the early days
When you meet someone and fall in love, your whole life revolves around getting to know them better, particularly their body. After a while, however, you realise love won’t pay the bills and you settle down to ‘normal’ life.
This is generally when sex becomes something you do at night in bed – preferably before you fall asleep. But, after a hard day’s graft, sometimes there just isn’t enough energy left.
Quality not quantity
At this stage, quality becomes more important than quantity. When you’re having sex as often as you like, it doesn’t really matter if you have the odd unsatisfactory encounter. But if you’re only managing it once a week – if you’re lucky – you need make the most of it. Which means making sure you’re not hanging on to any unrealistic expectations.
Another myth is that sex should be entirely mutual at all times. Apparently, you should caress one another at exactly the same moment, fuelling passion in perfect synch. But that’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Yes, it’s possible, but it means you can’t concentrate properly on either activity. How can you focus your attention fully on giving pleasure at the same time as luxuriating in the sensation of being touched? It’s not possible. Someone will miss out.
So take it in turns. Enjoy the look on your partner’s face as you build them into a frenzy of sexual excitement. Then relax and enjoy when it’s your turn. Mutual sex is great for a quick one. But if you have to plan the time together, use it to the full.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Trisha Macnair in August 2005.
First published in November 1997.
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