Harold and I married shortly after I graduated. We met on that first day of college and dated for a couple of years. We had a lot in common and he had great earning potential. By this time he’d begun a respectable career and you can be sure this dimension of his life was very important to me. Things were falling into place nicely. For sure I’d be rich. He was in Management Training with one of the country’s most prestigious banks. Our future was bright.
In the years we dated I never tipped my hand about my little spending problem. He might think poorly of me. Besides, it was absolutely unnecessary. Once we were married that would be my private history, the old me. I wasn’t bringing much debt or an overdrawn account to the marriage. This would begin a whole new chapter in my life, a chance to start over. And if that wasn’t enough, I’d have a brand new, unblemished, joint checking account with someone who actually knew how to reconcile it. I was living the dream I had designed. Life was wonderful.
My husband and I shared a cavalier attitude about our money. We got it, we spent it.
I was a little surprised that my new husband wasn’t as rigid with the money as I had anticipated. I knew he was opposed to incurring debt and overdrawing our checking account was unthinkable, but beyond that we didn’t have a plan to save or to budget. He wasn’t even worried about balancing the account, which came as a big relief to me. He could check the balance at work and as long as it wasn’t red, that’s all that really mattered. We shared a cavalier attitude about our money. We got it, we spent it. Our dual incomes and low overhead gave us plenty of opportunity to do lots of the latter.
Sometime during those first few months I suggested we should get a credit card. Harold didn’t particularly care for that suggestion. So I waited a while, and re-suggested. I was fairly certain I could get him to change his mind. He needed to be more progressive. With only mild persistence, he agreed to a Texaco gasoline charge card that required full payment every month. Success!
In retrospect, that first card was pathetic as credit cards go, but very significant for me. My first charge card filled me with pride and status. I was somebody when I drove in for a fill-up. I had a rather inflated opinion of how much dignity and respect the card afforded me each time I used it. But the best part, I could use my gas money for something else. My husband would pay the bill at the end of the month. It felt great to have a man take care of me. For the first time in my life I felt protected and nurtured. I soaked it up like a sponge.