The secret to a successful marriage

Today I'm in the desert visiting Bubby. Yesterday -- the day I wrote this post -- I was preparing to leave for my visit with Bubby and was short on time.

In light of that, and in light of the wedding anniversary Jim and I recently celebrated, I thought I'd share with you one of my more popular articles from the past several years.

I wrote this more than 10 years ago, but it still gets published as a reprint here and there. In fact, you currently can find it HERE and THERE (where it was originally published).

No need to click to other sites, though, as I've posted the whole thing right here on Grandma's Briefs.

Dear friends, I give you:

The secret to a successful marriage: Don’t share (at least not everything)

In order to make our marriage work, my husband and I decided to split up. The bickering and blaming had gotten out of hand and something needed to change. Luckily, our solution didn’t require breaking up the family or maintaining separate domiciles.

No, what saved our marriage was opening separate bank accounts.

Individual Accounts, Individual Bills
My husband and I have very different approaches to managing money. He balances the checkbook – to the penny – on a weekly basis. I prefer rounding figures in my head and am perfectly satisfied if the account is balanced quarterly.

Budgeting and balancing sessions are now virtually non-existent. He maintains his account and I maintain mine. We do have joint access to both accounts in case of an emergency.

Moving away from shared finances required each of us to commit to ownership of specific household expenses. Because my husband makes more money than I do, he pays a larger share of the bills. Paying those specific bills are his responsibility and my bills are my concern.

We decided in advance who would pay for irregular expenses such as Friday night pizza, extracurricular activities for our children and doctor’s office co-payments. Holiday shopping is fairly divided, and emergency situations are handled as they arise.

Extended Separation
Once we realized the positive results of our financial separation, we applied it further. We now hold separate gas and credit cards, too. Again, the accounts are actually joint for practical reasons but we use different cards exclusively.

We never see one another’s statements, so questions regarding particular charges or overspending don’t exist. Honesty about the status of accounts is a given and we’re both conscientious about maintaining an excellent credit rating. Such an arrangement would not work if partners took out any hostilities toward one another through financial means.

Private Places and Spaces
Reflecting on the success of our marriage, I realize that separate finances aren’t the only reason we’re still happily together after so many years. Another reason is that we’ve never shared a bathroom.

We both come from large families with communal bathrooms and agree that flossing and flushing is something that should be done in private. What goes on behind a closed bathroom door should remain a mystery, in our opinions.

Another area in which we prefer separateness is in our e-mail accounts. It may sound trivial but addresses like make me crazy. We have separate interests and separate online friends so we have separate e-mail addresses. We don’t worry about what e-mail the other is sending or receiving. It’s not a matter of naiveté; it’s a matter of trust – and our computer being centrally located and accessible to all eyes at any time. Secret e-mails from online lovers are not likely in a household of nosy occupants.

Not for Everyone
Separation in a relationship is not for everyone. Luckily it works for my husband and me. As we move toward our third decade as partners, we realize that our efforts at being separate have made us happier to be together. And on that point we stand firmly, together.

Today's question:

What do you have the most difficult time sharing with others?

My answer: I don't like sharing the driving. I very much prefer driving anywhere we need to go, even on long trips. I'm a control freak and want to control the driving and the driver so it's much better for everyone involved if I'm the one behind the wheel instead of in the passenger seat.