First of all I hope it was clear
that I was only suggesting that you would tell your wife that you were willing to change your behavior for one month. February being the shortest month it makes the most sense to pick that. One of the basic facts of life is that if you want to keep getting what you're getting, keep doing what you are doing.
From what you have told me about her, I find some of her behaviors similar to the ways I would handle my life in the past. Even though I swore to myself I would be different than my dad and not work hours on end, I did. I think working excessive hours on a regular basis in my case was based on three assumptions. One being that perhaps I knew I was not getting done what I should be getting done in the normal eight hour work day. And how is that actually defined in a white collar job.
Having a low self-esteem, well you naturally want to have your peers and boss like you and think you are a good worker. Then there is the feeling if I just take a little more time I can reach this or that milestone. Regardless of the fact that you are the only one setting that milestone.
Then there is always the control issue, God forbid I let something go, take a little time off and they find out that someone else can do my job. Yes that certainly could happen, but letting the fear of that outcome overtake every waking moment on the job is not good.
Last but not least, it is certainly true that any supervisor worth anything in today's bottom-line-is-all-that-counts climate would be a fool to tell any employee they are working too hard. The only time users get away with using, is when there are usees around to be used.
Money is always a thorny issue. I assume if both of you lost your jobs tomorrow, where you would live and where your next meal is coming from would be a problem needing solving in an instant. It is interesting that with the lack of any long range financial planning by my parents, I tended to live in the here and now while my brother went on to live the 'good life' financially. Only goes to show that given the same life examples, two different results can occur.
Boy I am on a roll, I hope if nothing else you enjoy reading my dreamer's approach to a life, even though I have none to speak of (life that is).
On the spending money issue, the purpose of dates is not to see how much money you can spend, but provide a different environment for you two to relate to one another. There is a new country song, that just so happens to be playing now, that talks about a little kid emptying his piggy bank with a few cents and asks his mom how much of Daddy's time would that buy. I will see if I can send you the lyrics.