My wife doesn't understand me!

I am sure I am not the only person on this forum whose wife looks on their obsession with music with disdain and as an inconvenience to normal life. Example; whilst my wife is happy for me to pop into HMV and she shops for clothes elsewhere she is not happy if I come out with a handful of music. Also, Amazon deliveries have to intercepted on the doormat and smuggled into the house as if they are illegal drugs.
I am planning to upgrade my equipment next year (£15,000?) using monies inherited from the death on my mother but I am sure this will be viewed as frivolous and money that could have been better spent on holidays, home improvements, etc. What are other members experiences? Any advice on how to get your wife onside with expensive upgrades?

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Wow, Mrs Bruss doesn’t understand my need to spend on cars or hifi, or just about anything else, but hiding stuff? We agree to differ and I understand her reluctance to spend but do my best to reassure her that we can afford anything that she or I want at our current rate. If circumstances change then spending will stop.

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I remember a guy who worked in a hifi shop and was keen on buying classical LP box sets. He had his own room just inside the front door and had shaved off the bottom of the door to his room so he could slide new acquisitions underneath before his wife saw them. He was rather proud of this but I thought it was a bit pathetic.

I don’t know how long you have been married but it sounds like it’s time to sit down and have a good talk about money. The last thing you want is deception or constant aggravation, which upsets both of you.

What we do is this: all our income goes into a joint account. We have monthly transfers to a holiday fund, a car fund and a general household fund to save for lumpy expenditure. All routine spending - council tax, house insurance, heating, petrol, food etc - comes from the joint account. We then get equal amounts of pocket money to spend as we each see fit, while ensuring there is a cushion left in the joint account for odds and ends that inevitably arise each month.

When we have inherited money we agree together what to do with it. When my dad died we each had £10,000, about £20,000 was spent on home improvements, with the rest going into savings. The savings are divided down the middle and held separately. So say we inherited £60,000, after our £10,000 each, and improvement, we’d have £20,000 to save, so £10,000 in each name.

I spent my £10,000 on improving the system, she put hers in savings. She’s bought a few paintings with her savings and has the rest to do with as she wants.

Before retiring we were both accountants so this is entirely logical to us. Some of our friends have adopted this system and are really pleased with it. We originally read about it in a Guardian article and have operated it for 25 years now. It’s at least worth thinking about. Put it all on a speadsheet and then stick to it.

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This sounds like a sensible approach. The sum inherited will be considerably more than £60,000 so giving her £15,000 to spend/save would be fair. We also plan to gift £10,000 each to our son and daughter.
It does not help that I am reaching the limit for LP/CD storage although I do send some items to the charity shop once per year. My wife cannot understand why I have more music than I could ever listen to on a regular basis.

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The issue may be that she will object to any significant expenditure when not involved with the decision, so perhaps a bit of straight talking honesty is due?

Ask her what she’d like to spend on a holiday next year and that you are also planning to change your system, because that would be a permanent thing to remember your mum by.
‘Upgrade’ seems an ugly word to some.

Edit: Sorry to learn of your loss. If its any help, my brother passed away 4 years ago almost to the day. He loved classical & sang with an operatic society, played the piano and the flute quite well. So I spent some money on updating our system. Its a very good way to remember some one.

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For what it’s worth my wife doesn’t understand why I have nearly 5,000 albums and still want more, nor does she understand why I might want to improve a system that’s already very good. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t understand. She will never understand and why should she? Let’s face it - nobody ‘needs’ 5,000 albums, nobody ‘needs’ a £20,000 stereo. It’s all jolly nice if you can afford it, but keeping the house shipshape and looking after the children should come first.

I’d gently suggest that you should view your inheritance as ‘our’ inheritance, rather than ‘my’ inheritance. Sit down together, agree what needs doing and then how much you should spend or save. Getting everything on the table is the key thing, whether with inheritances or day to day spending.

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Try listening to music together maybe?

My wife never buys music herself but I do my best to make sure some of what I buy will be to her tastes and it gets played when we are sitting together. I figure she shares some of the value that way.

Men tend to be more obsessional about hobbies and also techy possessions. Vive la difference.

Bruce

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Exactly.

You need to talk. Then talk some more. Clearly you are currently correct. Your Wife doesn’t understand (part of) you.

So… do you want her the understand that part - or just accept it…? Maybe explain how money put into Naim hardware doesn’t really depreciate. Its a push to claim its an investment, but you could try. Easier to do if you are buying pre-loved kit. Much more tricky with new… :thinking:

Maybe some things to think about…?

Sorry Bruce, for me ,that way lies madness. Mrs Bruss has noise on in the background. I listen to music, or drama, or a quiz program. Mrs Bruss can sit through 55 mins of a drama and then 5 mins before the end denoument will get up and start hoovering. :slight_smile:

My wife doesn’t understand me either! However, she is highly supportive of my hobbies. We share a passion for photography, a passion for mountain biking, hill walking etc.
This year she bought me a twin stack of full fat Fraim. She was encouraging when I upgraded my amps, and she is very supportive of my planned spend on an LP12 in 2021.
To balance things, I am supportive of her bookworm ways. She devours books and with over a 1000 books, I relinquished the front room and built her a library.
As for money, we pay the bills, save some, and give ourselves an agreed amount as pocket money to be spent as we each see fit. We never get loans or credit, if we can’t afford it, we don’t have it.
No, my wife doesn’t understand my passion for hifi and music…

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My wife wanted to swap to a more Eco friendly (and very expensive) boiler system with biomass last year. That was important for her. Wouldn’t have been my priority.

Mind you I am sat waiting for somebody to come and fix it just now… :grin:

Bruce

Playing good music to compensate of course!

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The converse is the people who feel not understood is that they probably do not understand their partner’s perspective. Do the people complaining about being misunderstood complain about some of their partner’s spending and wonder why they do it? As a family therapist, I usually found that lack of understanding went both ways, and often there was one partner more unwilling to see their partner’s viewpoint. Talking together and accepting your differences in priorities is healthy, I would say. I think @hungryhalibut and partner have a very healthy way of dealing with this and have developed a good solution that works for them, one that may work for others.

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Hifi is a bit of an abstract hobby as most people see no value in it. So the thought of spending £thousands is hard to compute for many, especially if they can’t hear a difference.

Fortunately my wife is brilliant and has never had any issues with my interest in music or hifi. But then we both have interests in different things and that’s fine.

I really don’t understand the music collection thing. Perhaps if artists stopped making music but it’s like buying books. Although I guess a compromise could be to rip and archive or give to charity.

If finances are broadly even then I don’t really understand what the issue is. Providing your focus isn’t solely on hifi i.e. no holidays, home improvements or anything else your wife values, then I’d view this as being a bit unreasonable.

I’d personally have an open conversation about it to get to the root of the issue and why it really bothers her when you seemingly have a balance, financially.

Alternatively…

Just say your going to blow £20k on a Harley Davidson or similar bike, she will think £15k on HiFi is quite sane!

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We have already discussed some aspects of how to use the inheritance monies (reducing the mortgage, gifting to children, locking some away for weddings, etc.) so we do talk about such things. We also have a joint account so all income is viewed as one pot. I do not have any other vices or hobbies so do not feel guilty about buying some music now and again.

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I’m guessing you both have different priorities with money and probably different family backgrounds. I know that Mrs Bruss and I come from different directions and value money differently. We rarely discuss it but we do as soon as something seems to be causing tension, and then we remind ourselves of what our joint priorities are and agree where we differ. With mortgage, under age children, future weddings alongside current wants and needs etc, I can see how a difference in priorities might arise. Time to talk and reset the agreed shared priorities?

As a retired mental health nurse, I have to agree with you. I talked with so many people whose basic problem lay with a lack of communication. Accepting, supporting and encouraging constructive differences is healthy. Help your loved one to be all they can be.

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Perhaps one issue is that my wife does not have an equivalent hobby (she works full time and is the primary carer for her mother) but does spend some of her downtime seeing friends. Her interest in music is purely passing (Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Texas, etc.) and she finds most of my music unbearable, not that I play it much when she is in the house.

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Do you understand your wife?

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