Next time you go out to eat, notice who digs in first, who refrains until others have their share, and who decides to serve others before eating. The person you want to marry is the person who helps everybody first, and then helps herself. They are so rare that if you find someone with such thoughtfulness, never let them go.
Chances are high that everybody will help themselves first at a restaurant. This is the default setting in America. Nobody can fault someone for feeding themselves first before others. It’s a survival instinct that is ingrained in all that we do. Me first. You second.
I want to share a reader question about how he feels his wife takes him for granted now that he makes a lot of money. She used to be the one who helped others first. But now, it doesn’t seem like she cares anymore.
My Wife Takes Me For Granted
Jim writes in,
Now that I earn a sizeable income, I feel like my wife takes me for granted. We met 11 years ago and were college sweethearts. She was a freshman and I was a junior. We got married five years ago, and over the past several years, things have totally changed for the worse!
When she first got out of college, she had a tremendous amount of passion for pursuing her music career. She’d practice until the wee hours of the morning and constantly apply for gigs, large and small. Back then, I wasn’t making much money, so we were both kind of struggling to just get by.
Three years ago, I was able to win some big clients for my small business. My income went from $70,000 a year to around $500,000 a year. Like you, I still drive an economy car, don’t buy designer clothes, and constantly look for ways to save more money because I never know when my business income will end. I’m in unchartered territory here! Maybe I’m cheap. I don’t know.
Unfortunately, as soon as I started making multiple six figures a year, I noticed my wife no longer seemed to have the same passion for music. She stopped applying for smaller music gigs. After my first year of making big money, she stopped applying for gigs altogether. She also began getting up late because she’d be out partying with some of her underemployed musician friends the night before. Meanwhile, here I was waking up hours before her to work on the business. Oh, and she also doesn’t remember the cost of things when I ask her how much she spent. Isn’t this a sign of not giving a damn about money?
I feel very distraught because I feel my larger income has corrupted her desire to pursue her passions. She has no desire to make money anywhere. I’m starting to wish I was back to making only $70,000 a year. She makes me not want to get up early and hustle anymore. Why bother if she’s not? I don’t really need to earn this much money. I’m a simple guy. I’ve also lost some respect for her. I hate being taken for granted. What should I do?
Taking People For Granted Is Inevitable
The problem with being with people you love is that eventually you always take them for granted. Having money ruins people who don’t have a strong appreciation for what it takes to make money. It’s kind of like eating until we’re obese because we have no clue there are millions of malnourished people in the world. If we did, more of us would be fitter.
Here are some of my suggestion for you, Jim. I hope the community will share their own suggestions as well.
1) Tell her exactly how you feel. Sharing a feeling is an absolute. You can’t be judged for how you feel because your feelings are real. It’s important to tell your spouse exactly what is making you feel terrible. Do not let resentment build up. If you are afraid that your business might one day disappear, tell her. If you feel her inaction is causing you anxiety, speak up. Explain to her about your own prior financial difficulties and how you feel it necessary to work and save as much as possible when times are good.
2) Explain to her exactly what you do to earn. Ever since we were kids, it’s felt incredibly annoying to work with someone who doesn’t pull his or her weight, especially if you go above and beyond. It’s imperative you tell her exactly how much work you do to provide a better life for the both of you. The more she knows that you wake up at 6am every morning to speak to East Coast clients about business, the more she should appreciate you. If she continues to wake up hours after you with no idea what you do, then she can’t be faulted. Send her calendar invites about your events or share your entire schedule with her so she is more aware.
3) Show her exactly what you do. Sometimes, explaining things is not enough. If it’s not, take the next step and show her exactly what you do. Take her to work and introduce her to your colleagues. Take her to the gym to see how much you sweat. The more you can make her part of your life, the more she will understand what you have to go through. Seeing is believing.
4) Encourage her to play for you. An artist needs to be read or heard. Tell her how much you love her music and ask her to give you a show. The more you can compliment her on your music, the more motivated she will be to make more music. As a writer, I get demotivated when nobody shares my posts or comments. But the more my work gets shared and discussed, the more I want to write. I am absolutely sure she will feel the same because we artists constantly get rejected. At some point we don’t want to try anymore because rejection hurts too much.
5) Sacrifice even more to make her realize her good fortune. The best example I have about how to help sway someone to appreciate you more is the story I tell about a client who to motivate his son, started driving part-time for Uber while maintaining his full-time job. Prior to Uber, his son lacked perspective because he lived in a million dollar home, attended private school, and all his classmates were rich. After seeing his dad slave away for several hours until midnight, his son suddenly realized how hard his dad worked to provide for his family. Overnight, the son started getting better grades and stopped getting in trouble.
Relationships Take So Much Work
A good deal is when both sides feel like they’re winning. If you constantly feel like you’re losing, then you’ll eventually break up. Therefore, if you truly love someone, you’ll at least put in as much effort as it takes to make the relationship feel even.
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Updated for 2019 and beyond.