Saturday, March 05, 2005

Personal Space

David Brooks' recent column about married couples maintaining separate checking accounts hits home for me. My wife and I have maintained three accounts - one for each individual and one joint account - since well before we were married.

All of our income goes into our joint account, from which we pay all our normal family expenses. But, we each take a monthly draw for our personal wants and needs. Neither accounts to the other for how that draw is spent. I can spend it on golf, clothes, or getting a haircut. No explanation is required or desired. I cannot recall either of us even asking the other about his/her draw in the eight years we have used this system.

Brooks writes "We should pause before this becomes the social norm." Later he clarifies his reasoning by writing "It's so easy for the powerful force of individualism to wash over and transform institutions - like family, religion and the military - that are supposed to be based on self-sacrifice, loyalty, and love."

I would argue just the opposite. In a faithful and successful marriage, particularly with children, it is easy to lose one's individual identity by practicing the virtues Brooks describes. By maintaining a small niche for which we are the sole boss, we are able to concentrate solely on our family duties the other 96% of the time.


<< Home

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010