I was absolutely thrilled with my anniversary gift. And I have come to love my new car as much as the old one. If the old one meant a lot because it was the first car I bought for myself, the new one also has it's mushy, sentimental value because my husband gave it to me on our first anniversary.
But lately, the accumulation of a lot of comments & reactions has made me have misgivings. Everyone acts like this is something out of this world - that it just doesn't happen, that it's too much. All this disbelief has left me feeling guilty, like I'm a parasite bleeding him dry or something. The thing is, I don't know any other woman who gets anniversary presents like that.
So now am left feeling gluttonous, decadent, greedy etc...I don't like the image of myself as one of those demanding, gold-digging, obscenely expensive wives who drive their husbands to bankruptcy.
Even my aunt was lecturing me about how I shouldn't let him do things like that, that we are just starting our lives together & we haven't even started a family yet etc....so we should be taking this opportunity to save & invest for the future etc....that a sensible, wife would teach her husband to economize if he didn't know how, instead of wasting the money on motorcycles & new cars & holidays etc....
But the thing is, how could I have stopped him? I don't 'let' my husband do things with his money. He makes those decisions for himself. We keep our finances seperate. I don't even know how much he makes, for heaven's sake. I don't know anything about where he stands financially really. Which is worrying. Because now am starting to obssess about how well he could afford to buy me a new car. I don't want him spending money he doesn't have or getting into trouble or anything.
I don't THINK am an expensive wife. At least I try very hard not to be.
When I moved in with him, our rent & utilities were prepaid for a year by his employer. He's entitled to accomodation & utilities as part of his package. Am entitled to cash in lieu of accomodation & utilities - which he isn't - meaning I can have it in cash whereas he can only have it in the shape of a rented house/apartment with the clinic's name on the lease.
So it made perfect sense to leave the issue of rent to him.
The interior designer was a friend & refused to let us pay, insisting on doing our apartment as a wedding present. The furniture, we bought together, each of us picking up the pieces we liked or that were more important to us.
However since he never used to cook when he was living alone & never bothered to stock up on supplies, whereas I love to cook, I decided I should pay for food & supplies. He resisted that initially but couldn't keep that up for long because he's so useless at buying groceries & household supplies he never brings back anything useful and I end up having to go & buy them again anyway.
Our personal expenses are completely seperate. That means car expenses, phone bills, clothes etc....Except I can't say car expenses anymore because now he pays the monthly installements & insurance on my car doesn't he? Bummer.:(
What else is there? Well our dry-cleaning rule is simple. If you pick it up, you pay for it. When we go out together, he insists on paying. I've learnt to let that go because he's so stubborn about it & then make it up later by picking up something for him within the same price range next time I go shopping . Sometimes I make it up by buying something for the house, something we can both use.
When we go away on holiday, he insists on paying airfare & hotel bills so I try to buy tickets for theater, opera, boat/yacht rides, sports events etc....He won't let me pay while am with him so am careful to get tickets beforehand. Am also generally responsible for buying souvenirs, gifts for family, friends etc....
One-way or the other I've managed to keep things pretty balanced so far. And he keeps saying I hardly cost him anything, that we live like roommates.
I mean, I wasn't even particularly expensive for him to marry since my family insisted on paying for the wedding which was arranged back home without much input from me or him & was really out of our hands. Which was good because weddings in my father's family are huge, tribal events which go on for several days, with an uncle giving a dinner here or aunt hosting something at her house there etc...My parents would have paid quite a bit but most of the expense would have been shared out among our relatives & would be absolutely prohibitive if one person tried to pick up the tab on his own. Besides, my parents said it wasn't fair to make him pay anything when 99% of the guests were people he didn't know who were our guests & who we invited & not him. The wedding took place in my hometown not his.
That was another big point of contention. He didn't like not being allowed to contribute anything to his own wedding & kept complaining that he felt like a guest not the bridegroom etc...And my father essentially told him that once I was 'fi baito'(living in his house which Arabs use to mean a wife moving into her husband's house & becoming his property I guess), then my husband could pay things for me but as long as I was still living with my parents, I was their daughter & they would pay.
After the katb ketab, he had his bank issue me a sort of supplementary credit card. I took it because I didn't want to upset him further in the middle of all the tension with my parents over the wedding expenses but to this date, I have never even activated it. When he asks, I tell him I am keeping it for emergencies. The thing is, I've got my own credit cards, why would I charge things that I buy on somebody else's card just because he's a man & am a woman? It makes no sense to me.
My head has been so full of such calculations & balance sheets over the last few days. I am desperately trying to convince myself that I am not ruining him or condemning our unborn children to a life of poverty & destitution just because he bought me a new car.
I don't want to say any of this to him yet because I know he'll be upset that am reacting to his gift this way. He will accuse me of creating problems where none exist, not trusting him, being obssessive, being impossible to please, letting other people interfere in our life etc.....He will not like any of it.
How does a woman go about making her husband 'economize'? Any advice anyone? I don't see my husband responding very well to any attempt to tell him what he should do with his money. I really don't.
And the funny thing is, when he got himself that motorcycle for his birthday, a friend of my mother's told me that I shouldn't leave him with so much extra money, that men tend to stray when they find themselves with money to spare & that I should make sure I always spend all his money so he can never afford to take a second wife or have an affair!