More Than Money
Issue #40
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Money and Relationships

Table of Contents

“What Does Money Change? Thoughts from Sally Arnold and Chris Weir”

Personal Stories

MTM: Money came into your relationship rather suddenly, didn't it?

Sally: Chris and I both grew up middle class and never expected to experience anything other than that in our lifetimes. When the high-tech company Chris worked for went public, a lot of money dropped into our laps.

MTM: Did that change your relationship in any way?

Chris: I don't know that our relationship itself changed much at all. Author Jack Canfield once said that money doesn't really change things, it just magnifies them. 1 If you were materialistic before, now you can buy even more. If you were generous before, now you can be really generous. That's been true for us. I don't think we have changed how we relate to each other but what we do together has changed. Traveling, gardening, entertaining, activism-we always did these things, but now we do them on a much grander scale.

Sally: Other than that, I think the biggest change has been that Chris was able to "retire" at a young age. We had both worked for decades in community and nonprofit work. We went from working long hours without a lot of pay to not having to work at all. Chris chose to leave her paid work while I chose to stay at my job as an elementary teacher.

The dynamics of having Chris at home while I go out to work are different than when we were both working six days a week. Chris puts in a total of about 40 hours each week for a nonprofit board and managing our house remodeling and other home projects. Because it is unpaid work, I think it's harder for her to feel acknowledged for it in the relationship.

Another change is that I had been raised with a strong ethic of financial independence, so at first it was hard for me to accept a lifestyle that was more than my salary alone could support. It took a lot of heartfelt discussions about values to reach some agreements about how we would share this money. We subscribed to More Than Money magazine, ordered the back issues, and spent a few months avidly reading. For years now, we have been participating in an ongoing More Than Money discussion group. All of that has helped us construct new identities for ourselves around money.

1 See "The Conscious Use of Money: A Conversation with Jack Canfield," in More Than Money , Issue 29, 2002, "Money Changes Everything-Or Does It?" pp. 12-13.

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