Two Approaches to Improving Marriage

Brian Page, a financial literacy expert, is the founder of Modern Husbands. He joined me on this week’s podcast where we talked about the similarities and differences that Lead Dads and Modern Husbands bring to work, life, marriage and parenting.

I wanted to highlight a couple of interesting points he made (though hearing him on the podcast is worth the 30 minutes of your life). Here are some excerpts from our conversations.

Paul: What are favorite/least favorite things you as a Modern Husband do?
Brian: Cooking a really good meal and having everyone at the table enjoy it. One of my kids is a vegetarian, the other is picky. Now it’s not that I can do that every night because of my kids’ activities. My least favorite aspect is cleaning the toilets.

Paul: How do you think about money?
Brian: I love to save. I love to build her credit score and my credit score. I love to manage our finances. I have a tough time spending money unless it’s an experience or something nominal like a t-shirt. Or to give. I like to give. But I’m not normal. We have to buy new furniture – as in a reasonable person would sit on the couch and say you need to get new furniture. So with any of those things, I’ll say to Hope here’s what we’ve budgeted, go buy it. I didn’t even see our house before buying it. I only saw it on FaceTime.

Paul: How do couples make better personal finance decisions together?
Brian: One of the leading reasons for divorce is stress around money. If money is a tool to unlock more happiness and joy in your marriage we should try to help people talk about it together. It comes down to controlling money and managing money. Controlling money can be done together. Managing money can be done apart. It’s important to recognize that your partner may have a different relationship with money.

Brian: Where is the compromise?
Paul: I don’t get to do things that regular go-to-work dads get to do. I love golf but I don’t get to play golf on the weekends with my friends. I also do a lot of the sports I love with my kids, not with friends. I ski with my daughter. I play paddle with another daughter. My youngest likes golf and we play a lot. I feel though that as the founder of The Company of Dads I don’t have to make excuses any more.

Paul: How do you divvy things up?
Brian: My wife handles any bill that comes in the mail. That’s an odd way to divvy it up but that’s how we do it. I think my wife likes to do the laundry. I do it but I think she thinks I mess it up. I’m across all the activities. We had some bumps in the road. She had her way to do it and was efficient. So in the transition it was tough. I could feel her looking over my shoulder. It took some time to get over this.

Brian: What are a couple of things your wife still takes care of in the home?
Paul: One of the things I leave her to do – that took a lot of learning on my part – is anything to do with the house. It’s not sexist; I just don’t care. She’ll show me something and I could think that’s the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life, and I’ll say, that’s cool – do you like it? It’s the same thing with cars. I don’t care about cars. We got a new one and she liked it and that was that.

Brian: What do you need to communicate with regularly with your spouse?
Paul: Having the space to communicate. Taking a walk. Or if we have a babysitter, take a longer walk. It’s the only way we get the time to talk.