A Team of One
I was never trained to work on a team. I was an only child, participated in competitive (but not team!) sports at school, and always worked out my solutions by myself. When I found myself working on committees for my job, it was a disaster. I am soft-spoken, so my voice was drowned by the excitement of the others, I went home feeling useless and hurt. Until a friend told me a Jewish proverb, “A camel is a horse put together by a committee”; that was consolation (humor always is) and I made up my own little verses, like “a committee of one gets things done”.
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Learning to Share
Sharing responsibility with my husband is hard for me, and the sense of guilt only makes it harder. I work it out in my mind (what to pay, what to save, what to fret about) and his differing opinions are a threat instead of helping me. So, we had it all out; but even if I cry, how can I change?
Making Change Routine
I now try to change each and every day, and view my progress toward his point of view as a gift, as a little kiss when we get home at the end of a day’s work. We have a check-in and a celebration over brunch every Saturday. Practice does help.
Decide and Move On
Now we pick a middle ground (say, how much to automatically save towards debts each month), and the key to make progress is to forget about it afterwards (I don’t mean we should revise our financial situation! That, we’ll do periodically. I mean we stop worrying over right/wrong, since we picked the answer together).
I would like for us to set up a timeline, but we have not worked on the larger picture! We choose one detail at the time, and we feel good because we’ve come together and we changed the conversation. I am still myself, of course, and quite a bit scared, but this was a very important step to save our relationship: money as a stressing factor can make things ugly and irreparable.