Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Facing Problems Together

Have you ever read Willard F. Harley’s book, “His Needs, Her Needs?” It’s a rather interesting book, showing the five most basic emotional needs for men and women. If you’ve never read it, it’s worth picking up. Doesn’t even take all that long to read.

Amongst the needs that Harley states for women is Financial Support, he describes it as “She needs enough money to live comfortably.” “Live comfortably,” now, there’s a tricky term. What may be comfortable to one definitely isn’t to another. The filthy rich people out there call themselves “comfortable.” So, if we go by their definition, you’d better be a millionaire. Yet on the other end of the scale, in Veggie Tales story of “Madame Blueberry” the French family living in a tent was more comfortable than the Madame. So, according to Big Ideas Productions, you need to get rid of your house, and pitch a tent in the park.

Actually, comfort really doesn’t have much to do with how much you have. It has a lot more to do with what you do with what you have. How you live isn’t just a result of having money, but of using what money you have in a way that makes you comfortable. C’mon now, let’s be honest, you really don’t need a 14 bedroom mansion to be comfortable, do you?

Okay, so if we don’t need that huge mansion, does that mean that we really need to move into the tent? No, I wouldn’t suggest that extreme either. Regardless of how happy those veggies were in the tent, I don’t think your wife is going to be any more comfortable there than my wife would be. No hot baths, no running water… just a little bit short on the creature comforts. While us guys can handle that pretty good, our wives really can’t.

So, where’s the balance in this equation? Well, it has to be somewhere in between. Let’s just shoot for middle class. Actually, any sort of middle class will do, just as long as it’s middle. Now, how does one live comfortably within those limits?

As I’ve already said, it’s not so much what you have as what you do with it. The first rule of comfort is that you can pay the bills, when they come in, without having to worry about them. If you haven’t seen it already, let me tell you, your wife can put you to shame worrying about the bills. She’s an Olympic champ at that and you’re a rank amateur. So, if you have trouble paying the bills, she’s not going to be comfortable, no matter what.

The next thing I’d have to say that is necessary is that you have some money set aside every month for fun. Yep, entertainment is an important budget item. The reason that it’s important is that we all need a chance to relax and unwind. Not having that opportunity builds stress; and that’s another place where your wife can make you look like an amateur.

Thirdly, I’d have to say that you need to have enough to eat. Here’s one place that many families blow it. They spend way too much on food, because they’re too lazy to cook. Eating out all the time, even in fast-food joints is expensive. If you’re taking your family out to eat all the time, you’re throwing money away.

No, I’m not saying that you can’t go out to eat; but what I am saying is to make it reasonable. Don’t get yourselves so busy that there’s no time to cook. Oh, and by the way, you can cook too. Don’t make your wife do it all the time. If you don’t know how, now is a good time to learn (warming up frozen prepared foods isn’t cooking).

Finally, if you’re going to be comfortable, the home you live in and the cars you drive need to look and work descent. That doesn’t mean that they need to be new; nor does it mean that they need to be perfect. What it means is that you need to fix whatever is broken. Many couples spend a huge percent of their income making payments on two cars. That’s the biggest money waster there is. By the time you finish paying for it, the car is worth about 20% of what you paid. In the meantime, you’ve paid as much per month for those cars as you paid for your house.

My wife and I drive older cars. Hers is a ’99 and mine is a ’96. However, they are both clean, run well, and in decent shape. Hers looks almost as good as it did when it rolled out of the showroom and mine would if I got it an Earl Sheib $199 paint job. The only reason I don’t is that it’s the car I drive in Mexico, and I don’t want to look like I’m driving a new car.

If your furniture is starting to get run-down looking, cover it up; make it look good again. If your kitchen is looking drab, paint it. If your carpet is wearing thin, put a rug over it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home look comfortable and in good repair. More than anything, you’ve got to spend a little bit of imagination, making things look better. That might cost a few bucks, but more than anything it will cost you a little bit of elbow grease. Cheap.

If you could do those four things, you could honestly say that you have allowed your wife to “live comfortably.” Why is that important? So that she’ll feel secure; that feeling of security will translate directly into a feeling of being loved.

1 comment:

  1. Rich, you are so right. Most of us don't need a lot of fancy stuff and luxury items (not that that isn't fun!) What we need is to feel safe and secure, and that sense of security is a vital ingredient for feeling loved.