Yours, Mine and Ours
BY ELIZABETH CHILD
One couple models a giving philosophy that reflects their holistic view of marriage - and the importance of each spouse's contributions.
The strong, 45-year bond between Kathy McNamara Mucha '66 and her husband, Joe, has been nurtured through equal — if separate — contributions to their partnership. "Kathy invested in raising our children," says Joe. "I invested in a career."
The couple has moved from Japan to New York, from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley. They've renovated homes and shared chores from yard work to cooking. Their equal partnership extends to giving, too.
Every dollar that goes to Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, Joe's alma mater, is matched with an equal gift to St. Catherine University, and vice-versa. The couple established the principle early in their marriage.
Giving experts say the Muchas' agreement is rare. Spouses who earn less often don't feel the family's money is theirs to give — and don't see themselves as equal partners in financial decisions.
"Money is the power tool in our society — you get a say based on your earnings," says St. Paul financial educator and author Ruth Hayden.
That caste system doesn't work in a healthy relationship, she adds. Couples need to recognize the many ways that each partner contributes: "Money is one way we give to a relationship. We also give physically, spiritually and emotionally."
"It's very empowering to give equally," says Kathy, who majored in occupational therapy at St. Kate's. "I know that I am respected for being a wife and a mother. If we believe that I am as important as my husband in the relationship, then my power to give equally is tremendously important."
PHOTO BY REBECCA ZENEFSKI '10