Sometimes, you just need a little romance in your life. I believe that marriages that have budgets can also have romance. I don’t know how to make this work well yet, but I am determined to learn.
Last month, Dexter and I bought Wild at Heart by John Eldredge as an audiobook on iTunes. We listened to it on one of our many trips to visit family. It gave us a lot of insight about Dexter and a lot to consider as we make life decisions. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. There is also a “women’s version” of Wild at Heart called Captivating (co-authored by John and Stasi Eldredge) which Dexter ordered for me on paperback swap. Fitz chewed it up, but it survived and I’ve read most of it. Being the well-rounded, nice, Christian girl that I am, I didn’t expect to learn much from the book.
I was wrong. Although I did skim over a lot of parts that seemed more descriptive than helpful or that seemed to repeat what I had just read in Wild at Heart, whenever it was Stasi Eldredge writing, I felt like she was telling me about myself. I learned that a lot of women feel lonely, even when they have good husbands. Wow, am I glad that’s normal. The book also talks about how women are often made to feel guilty because they are “too much and not enough,” meaning that they require too much (attention, romance, consideration) but that they don’t have it in them to do what they need to do (raise kids, keep the house spotless, exercise and eat right, exhibit general perfection). Captivating argues that women’s desires to be loved and romanced aren’t too much, but that they are a reflection of the way God wants us to love him. Reading Captivating helped me to realize I can be (and need to be) honest with Dexter about missing the “good ol’ days” of flowers, little gifts, surprise dates, and gazing into each others’ eyes over mochas (or, since our metabolism has slowed down since high school, tea or coffee with skim milk).
In one of our conversations about ramping up the romance factor in our lives, Dexter mentioned that it was hard for him to plan things because he was never sure what money to use or how much was left at that point in the month. He has a valid claim. I keep all of our cash envelopes in my wallet, and I keep up on our spending on Quicken throughout the month. I don’t usually bother to give him updates because he is so rarely the one to spend the money.
In our date envelope each month, we get $50. We hope to be able to squeeze two meals out (or ordered in) out of this. That doesn’t leave a lot of change in the envelope for romantic gestures. We also each get $20 a month of “blow money” as Dave Ramsey calls it. Sometimes, this lasts a long time (when I don’t have time to shop!), but sometimes, on day two of the fiscal month I spend $13 on a wallet that fits my envelope system and have enough left for about two lattes.
So, I’m looking for your advice. My advice to Dexter was, “I don’t care. Get a credit card. I just want you to do something!” but we both knew how mad I’d be if that happened.
How do you budget for romance? Do you add onto your “blow money” fund? Spend what you want and hope it works out? Have a “gift” envelope? I’ll try anything!