The concept of giving and helping has been around since the beginning of time. The question is, is there such a thing as giving/helping too much? And how can you find a balance that you and your spouse are both comfortable with?
Craig & Angela Bickford share their thoughts in this week's He Said/She Said blog.
I have found that on many occasions my wife and I have had discussions on if it is okay, if one of us gives to a particular charity, or does some sort of charitable act. And I often have caught myself thinking, am I trying to do too much? I had a conversation several months ago with a gentleman at work. He told me that his wife's family was always calling her asking for money and often times she would give it to them. It was bothering him, because they were not in a great position financially. The story goes that her nephew called and asked to borrow $100 so he could buy an alarm system for the car he had purchased recently. My co-worker knew of the young man’s position financially because he had assisted him in purchasing the vehicle. He knew the young man should have had at least $1000 after he finished with the title transfer, taxes, and registration. My co-worker questioned his wife as to why he needed the money for the alarm system, and stated to her that he should have had plenty of leftover money in order to take care of the alarm without borrowing the money from her. She then told her husband that the young man had bought a stereo system for his car and was $100 short of being able to add the alarm also. My co-worker wondered why the young man had not put the alarm system in before he added something that would bring attention to the vehicle and make an alarm system necessary. I share this story because I have found that in many situations, people in need are often in need because of their own bad decisions. This is where I struggle with giving to others. I do the best job that I can to not put myself in a position to need help from others, and I often don’t understand how people get themselves into the positions they are in. One of the things that I love my wife for is her need to give back. But I feel there have been many occasions where she has gone a little overboard with the amount of help that we or she is able to give. She always figures out a way to come through and fulfill her commitments, but often to the detriment of something else in our lives. The one thing that I can say is she always looks for a way for any of her charitable endeavors to only cost her time and not money. In the end, I feel that it goes back to communication. If you and your spouse discuss the situation together, then the right opportunities to give back will present themselves more readily.
Craig and I have always differed on this topic. I would help anyone and anything. Hurt bird in our backyard - I'm trying to catch it and call wildlife rescue. Lost dog that needs a home - I'm taking it in while we look for the owner. Lost litter of kittens - I'm walking around an apartment complex for 2 hours in the heat of the day looking for them. It's the same for people too. Taking in a family member, giving money to someone in need, making promises I know I shouldn't be because the need to help is so strong. I'd be a foster mom if my husband were on board. I'm just a do-anything-I-can-for-anyone-who-needs-it kind of gal. Is that a bad thing? It can't be wrong to want to help others can it? Well, here's what I've learned... it can. There has to be a limit. I've had to learn to set boundaries. So, now, I run everything by my husband first - he's a good boundary setter. I think about how it will affect our marriage, our current pets, our finances, our long-term plans, etc. before I make any decisions (not always easy I might add). I have learned to say no, even when it's hard. I have started charging what I'm worth when it comes to my business. None of this comes easily to me, but it's necessary for my sanity and my marriage. And, I think my husband has seen this little change, because he's been a little more willing to give in when I come to him with those puppy-dog eyes asking for something he knows he's going to regret saying yes to. :) Love that man!
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