Why I Stopped Asking My Husband to Plan Things

why i stopped asking my husband to plan things

First, I’d like say that my husband is basically a saint. Sometimes, I can be a bit out of handful so he deserves a lot of credit. And he has many wonderful qualities. He is kind and patient. Rarely is he ever in bad mood. He’s great at accepting things or people as they are. His honesty and integrity are something I’d never question. But he’s not a planner.

Most men aren’t the planners. Women are typically the ones that plan events, vacations and celebrations. Maybe it’s in our DNA. Maybe we’re just better at the details. Yet, most of us still long for our partners to surprise us with something they’ve planned. And then, we get disappointed when it doesn’t happen. That disappointment feeds a cycle of negative thinking. We think we aren’t loved or appreciated. We feel as though it’s our own fault.

The truth is that many men were never really taught how to be planners. This may be because their mothers did everything for them (as someone who was once married to a momma’s boy, I can attest to this truth), or they just didn’t have a role model who expressed this characteristic.

Communicating what you need is okay. Just don’t expect anything to change. I’ve communicated to my husband on several occasions that I wanted him to plan something. He has tried with limited success. I asked him to plan dinner for my birthday this year. I reminded him several times in the weeks before. He’s well aware of what I eat and what I don’t, considering we eat most meals together. So a few days before my birthday, I asked where we were going. He made a reservation at a steakhouse. I don’t eat red meat. Even worse, it was a chain. And I hate chain restaurants, even the fancy ones. My response to his choice was that it sounded more like somewhere he’d want to go. So he cancelled the reservations, and I made a new one at an Italian eatery. The moral of the story is either I should just make the plans myself or be very specific in my requests.

But I don’t think I’m going to ask him to plan anything, maybe not ever again. I don’t want him to feel pressured or stressed that I’m not going to be satisfied. I am rather picky about a lot of things. I don’t think I’m necessarily hard to please, but my standards are high. And he meets my standards in most every other way. So instead of feeling disappointed when he doesn’t deliver what I want, I’ll just take on the planning myself. It stops the cycle of disappointment and hurt feelings.

I accept him as he is, and he’s a man who can’t plan. I extensively plan our trips with spreadsheets. I’m not a complete a**hole or anything. I just like to be detailed about what to expect and how we want to spend our time. I didn’t print out detailed agendas for our European trip this year. I called it a “loose” itinerary. I did ask for his feedback and made sure we visited places of interest to him.

I believe that most of the time, we make decisions together. We’re a team. Some things he is better at – cooking, home improvement and basically anything involving a tool. I’m better at managing the finances, grocery shopping and planning. We can only hope that when we find love, we bring to the relationship our abilities and that there is a balance. We absolutely balance each other out in most every way.

So to every woman out there who wishes their partner would plan some magical weekend away or other fairy tale, stop driving yourself crazy. It’s probably never going to happen. If it actually does, it won’t be like the movies. It will not be perfect. Accept your mate as he is; don’t put any pressure on the relationship for misconceptions about what a man or a woman should do. Just let it go. If you want to do something, plan it yourself. It will lead to many more happy years as opposed to building resentments.

Monsters

I read this the other day and was saddened by its profound truth. As children, we are scared of what’s under the bed. As adults, we know better. We know it’s other people who commit the greatest transgressions.

As a child, I had fears not unlike many. I was exposed too early, perhaps, to Jason Voorhees and Freddie Krueger. They didn’t really haunt my dreams. I was enthralled by horror. I was drawn to Hitchcock movies and Stephen King novels. But as you know, humans more often than not were the culprits in these stories. It is too often that when unmasking the villain, we find just a person capable of the worst. How often were the monsters really monsters on Scooby Doo?

As much as we’d like to see the good in people, that seems to get harder and harder. We don’t live in a world anymore of unlocked doors and stopping to help someone out on the side of the road. We can’t trust so easily anymore. It’s just not prudent. Being compassionate can actually get you killed.

I try neither to see the good or bad that may be inherent in others. I try to see the truth, whatever that might be. Maybe it’s because I learned from the beginning that monsters weren’t under the bed or in my closet. They were right in front of me. They were people in my life that hurt me in ways that I’m still recovering from. I’m far from the only one who has found monsters among them.

Then I found myself with monsters within me. They were the voices of doubt, fear and disgust. The constant rumbles of not being good enough. The monsters kept me numb and dislocated from reality. These monsters mostly only did harm to myself. But I am not immune to being a terrible person. I’ve hurt others. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. Hurt begets hurt way too often.

Expelling the monsters, whether internal or external, requires more work than most are willing to put in. It’s easier to let someone keep destroying us or to keep destroying ourselves. It’s beyond comprehension what people do to one another. I’m not just talking about the most egregious evils. It’s the things we say or don’t say. It’s when we leave and don’t return. It’s when we look into another’s eyes and say nothing but the truth.

And right now there are many monsters among us. We are monsters every time we look the other way and just let things stay unchanged. That’s what is truly scary; not the boogie man. I don’t waste too much time on fear. It does little good to be overcome with fear about those things outside of our control. It won’t stop me from experience and opportunity. I will never let the monsters take these from me.

Monsters don’t just appear in fairytales. Those evil characters simply prepare us for the horrors of life. And the real life monsters are much scarier than the ones of fiction. We can’t turn those off. They play in our minds forever. I’m not sure if monsters can ever change. They are too good at it. Many want to be. They are orchestrators of chaos and discord. But we can’t let monsters have all the power. I let them have power over me for too long. Even though they can’t hurt me anymore, I still feel their presence. They still win sometimes.

I want to live in a world where monsters aren’t real; they’re just stories. That’s not really possible or realistic. What I can do and will always do is to realize my own role in the story. And try not to be my own worst enemy. We live a life of so much rejection and suffer a lifetime of being casually spit out by life. There’s no room for monsters. They steal your joy. And at the end of the day that may be what makes us human.

My “Golden” Rules

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I can’t apologize for being real and saying what I think. I do always try to say it with respect and kindness. But I simply cannot be something I’m not.

At this point in my life, I can see no reason or benefit to be anything less than 100 percent real. So it’s very unlikely you’ll find me small talking or blowing hot air.

I’m not perfect, but I am imperfectly real. I strive to lead an authentic life. If you don’t like me, I don’t have any desire to change your mind. And if I don’t like you then that’s probably not going to change either. However, I’ll never be cruel. Instead I’ll do my best to avoid you.

I live by three “golden” rules. I hope they guide me in my actions and decisions. I fall short regularly. But I believe in the power and freedom of self awareness

Rule One: Be good to others

I long for a culture where condemnation and criticism of the choices of others isn’t the norm. I long for inclusion. Whatever your beliefs may be, they are yours. And my beliefs are mine. So if they are different, let’s agree to disagree. Worry less about my salvation and more about your own. So as long as you’re not hurting anyone, it’s not my place to judge.

Being good to others is more than kindness and empathy. I’m not always great at these. I do realize that not everyone has the strength to pick herself up. There are a million horrible things that happen to us in life. You can waste your time with blame, or you can move on. You can’t do both. Choose wisely.

Being good to others is often about saying nothing. It’s about not being a judge or jury. It’s about not discounting the experiences of others. It’s their experience; not yours.

So when I live this rule, it’s not that I’m selfless and full of inspiration. I’m not. I do respect the views of others. So please respect mine. Our differences make us human. So why are they often what tears us apart?

Rule Two: Be good to animals

I’m suspicious of those without pets. Of my inner and extended circle, I can think of no one who doesn’t share their home with an animal or three. Having an animal makes every home better. But my rule extends beyond the domesticated. We have a duty to care for and protect animals. Yet most see animals as something to control or use.

So I worry about the dogs pacing the shelter floors. I worry about the elephants prized for their tusks and nearing extinction. I worry about the bears in Alaska who have lost critical protections.

My ask of anyone is to see the beauty in nature; a beauty created by animals and plants. They do not need man. They were here long before us and will probably survive us. People often say that humans have personified animals; that they simply don’t have feelings. I would argue with this all day. They may not be as complex as we are, which is probably a good thing, but they most definitely feel and grieve and love.

Rule Three: Be good to yourself

The hardest rule not to break, for we are all too often unkind to ourselves. I am my own worst critic. No one has ever been or ever will be harder on me than me. I’d say I’ve called a truce with myself. I try to have boundaries, so that yes I can push when necessary but also let off when I’m hitting the wall.

Someone told me the other day they had high expectations of me, and I answered, “I have high expectations of myself.” I expect to be perfect. As I’ve already told you, I’m not. So there’s this winding trail of disappointment.

I am honest with myself. It took me a long time to get here, to be self aware. It was work, and I didn’t do it alone. It’s peaceful though. It’s calming to know that I control my attitude and choices. Nothing nor no one has this power but me. Don’t ever surrender the power you have to be your own person. It’s hard to get back.

Be patient. Be considerate. Understand that if you are trying every day to be better and be authentic then you are doing great. You’ve survived everything that’s happened thus far, and hopefully can still smile.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Always know in your heart you are far bigger than anything that can happen to you.” I hold this in my mind a lot. Maybe you will as well.

I’m no inspirational leader or motivational speaker. I’m just a woman who loves to write and is sometimes not afraid to be vulnerable and honest. I just have moments of courage, and they happen to come out in sentences. If my words every mean something to anyone then I’ll feel heard; I’ll feel purposeful. I’ll feel I’m following the rules.

This is Marriage

this is marriage

My husband and I regularly have discussions about the bathroom habits of our dogs. Unfortunately, one of our dogs, Fawn, has had several accidents in the last week. So we’ve spent time trying to dissect what caused the poop on the floor. I’m not trying to be graphic, but this is marriage. If you’re unwilling to accept that much of it isn’t very exciting then it’s probably not for you.

We often say our schedule revolves around when they need go out, and that isn’t really a joke.  Along with the regular discussion about dog bathroom habits, there’s the eternal question of “What’s for dinner?” If I haven’t pre-planned the meal then this is the dreaded and loaded question. He likes everything; I like some things. So he always puts the pressure on me to decide. Sometimes though I just can’t make one more decision. I think 87 percent of our “disagreements” stem straight from this topic. So if anyone wants to plan our meals for us, we’re interested. But he is such a saint about it; it’s not easy to have to eat with me and my don’ts.

So, yes this is marriage. Marriage in the end often comes down to who you can stand to have most of your meals with. Because that’s what you do, you eat with the one you love.

The other frequent topics of conversation are the renovations. I’m not involved in the work really; I design and get out of the way. Yet, he likes to keep me updated on all the different problems that arise. For instance, there’s not a wall in this place that’s square. He’s told me about all of them. He’ll often go into detail about how he’s going to install something. I honestly stop listening. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t.

I can only take in so much information every day. And the information I refuse to retain is where things are located in Lowe’s. I know my stores; I can tell you where most anything is in the stores I most frequent. So I expect him to know where stuff is at Lowe’s. He does not. I usually have to actually go with him, and every time we do, I remind him, “This is your store.”

This is marriage; pretending to listen, hoping that the other person knows stuff you don’t. He has knowledge in his head, I could never absorb and vice versa. We’re a good team. We even each other out.

Essentially marriage is about really liking someone. It’s different than the love we feel. Love is a powerful emotion that’s rarely stable. It has peaks and valleys. I look at him sometimes and just think, “Damn, I love him.” And sometimes I look at him and think, “Damn, I want to smack him.” However, most every day, I’m pretty confident I like him. He doesn’t get on my nerves very often; although sometimes I’m just irritable, so it’s not really him. I’m a woman, my mood isn’t constant. That would be no fun.

So liking each other, that’s the “secret” to a long marriage. At the end of the day, I like talking to him. I like watching TV with him. I like that he’s prone to be silly and sing me back the end of the sentence I just said. He says this is to indicate he heard me. I think he just likes to sing.

Marriage is not for those chasing big highs or relentless passion. That’s not what happens when you create a routine or a schedule with someone. That’s marriage; less exciting more humdrum. I’m totally okay with that simply because he’s the person I most want to do nothing with.

5 Benefits of Resting Bitch Face


I’ve been writing a lot of heavy pieces lately. And there’s so much I’ve been holding back. I want to be brutally honest, but there are still many things I’m not ready to share (or as I tell people, you’ll have to buy the book for the really juicy stuff!) 

Today, I thought I’d share something a little lighter that perhaps prompts a giggle or two. Because in all honesty, my mood right now is depressed, irritable and hanging on by a thread. (Sorry, husband, you are such a good sport and always happy!)

So on to the resting bitch face (RBF). I can’t remember when I first heard the term, but I knew I qualified. RBF is an unconscious neutral or stoic expression. Some call it sullen, but I like the term stoic. And listen up, it’s a real scientifically validated thing. Science hasn’t quite determined if RBF directly correlates to a hidden layer of contempt. But science does concur that most people see RBF as negative. Because the world, okay men, expect us to always be smiling as the gentle, fairer sex. I call b.s. on all that! My RBF isn’t really an indication of my mood; it’s just how my face “rests.” I’m not always sad or angry or hungry. It’s just my face!

But I have found some real benefits to a lifetime of RBF:

1. No crow’s feet. If you are a chronic smiler, you’re more likely to have those pesky lines sprouting from the corners of your eyes. Not me. This permanent non-smile keeps me looking young. 

2. It’s easier to conceal your emotions. Okay so this doesn’t always work. My expressions can give me away. If I’m disgusted or think I’m being fed a lie, my RBF gets trumped by just bitch face. However when I was botoxing for my migraines, it was easier to keep the world guessing. 

3. It takes a lot for me to smile so if you get one from me, it’s genuine. I strive to be genuine in my words and actions daily. I don’t blow smoke or have a fake voice. Saving my smiles, I don’t think is a bad thing. 

4. It can deter conversation. I always think I’m not approachable, that it’s clear that I wear armor every day. Yet strangers ask me for help all the time. The other week I helped a lady get her train ticket and find a seat. Maybe I don’t look as tough as I think. Maybe I look competent and confident instead. 

5. It keeps others from being able to read me. I always think that a mentalist wouldn’t be able to infer much about me, that I wouldn’t react to questions or statements. That I’m a mystery. But I’m not a mystery. Although it takes considerable time for me to warm up to people. I’m cautious. I like protecting myself. The world is full of people who want to devour you. And on the other side, there are many who radiate kindness. I believe in kindness, even in the face of so much hate. But I’ll stick with observing first, acting later. 

Well maybe this post wasn’t that light after all. It’s my RBF coming through I suppose. I’d like to leave you with one message: whatever face you put on every day, let it be your true one, otherwise your life becomes a role you play and not one you own. 

What would you change?

choice

Unfortunately I don’t have the benefit of foresight, and life doesn’t really allow for do-overs. But what if we had that opportunity? What if we could go back to those pivotal choices in our life and change it?

If you’ve seen the movie Arrival, which is amazing, then you know that the main character does hold the power to foresee, yet she makes the same choice, knowing that this choice will bring her both happiness and despair.

If we could go back and make a different decision, would we? Because each decision in our life, specifically the ones that we control, has moved us in one direction, leaving all others closed. We are a collection of our choices, whether good or bad, and they inform our character, our relationships and our next choices. I am a strong believer in embracing all the choices I’ve made, even the wrong ones because they’ve made me who I am. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t change some of them if given the chance. Moments mark us with experience, sometimes they leave a scar. So if given the chance to change a moment, there are some I certainly would.

What I would change

I’d go back to what I believe was a critical misstep in my youth. I was pretty obsessed with being liked or loved or wanted by boys. This desperation for acceptance and attention destroyed my self- worth. This hunger to be attractive and desired gave me no real compass to figure out who I was. It led me to so many mistakes. I chose every time to dismiss myself in favor of some boy. It also made me insecure and kept me on a roller coaster of self hate. And this insecurity and disconnection made me unfaithful, which was a pattern that started at 15. My message to my young self would be, “Focus on you. None of these boys will be a source of happiness. And if you respect yourself, the next 20 years will be better.”

I went to the college my mom chose for me. It wasn’t what I wanted. And I left after two years to be in a place more diverse and affordable. I don’t completely regret my first two years, as I met one of my true life-long friends. But if given the chance, I would have gone to the college I wanted to go to on full scholarship. And I wouldn’t still be paying back school loans! When I transferred, I also made another mistake. I joined my best friend’s sorority because I loved her and knew many of the people already. I needed to feel like I belonged to something, anything. I do appreciate that many of those girls were kind to me and supportive. But it wasn’t where I belonged. I never felt like I was part of it. I always felt like an outsider. So I should have found my people, the outsiders. I just wasn’t confident and felt so invisible.

The choices I’d most want to change are the times when I put myself in harm’s way. I just didn’t have a fear of going off with people I didn’t know. What I know now is that I got lucky. The only reason I can give is that I didn’t care what happened. I let myself be in the moment and unafraid of consequences. I could have easily never been seen again. Women often put themselves in danger simply because we do not recognize our worth. Bad things did happen to me, but I was all too quick to blame myself. I made the choice, I deserved what happened. Until I found myself in the worst possible situation. I’m not ready to share the details, but for a few moments, I was sure it was going to be the end of me.  It was the last time I ever made that kind of choice.

Nothing I do can change my choices. But when reflecting on them now, I can reach a new perspective, a perspective without judgment or blame. And I can release it, not hold on to it and let it drag me down. I’ve hurt myself almost as much as anyone else by making bad choices. I’ll never be able to go back to that moment in time and change my answer. I’ve got one life to live as me, and even though these choices have shattered me in many ways, I say: I am not broken. I am a million pieces of wonderful and sorrow and joy and courage.

I refuse to have a conventional marriage

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Marriage has been a part of society for thousands of years. Of course it has dramatically evolved. In the beginning, it wasn’t about love but rather the need to strengthen alliances and bare legitimate offspring. Polygamy was actually the norm up until around the sixth century when the Catholic Church interceded. But men still had much opportunity to be promiscuous. Marriage has since become more of a contract with a license being needed and the state’s involvement. Yet women did not have equality in marriage with marital rape still being legal in most states until the 1970s. Some would argue that women still aren’t equal in marriage or in society in general. And of course now, the laws of this country have finally turned to allow same-sex couples to marry.

So that was a short history lesson on marriage. The majority of marriages that have occurred during humanity’s reign on this planet have had nothing to do with love. It was business or a religious necessity. Arranged marriages still happen throughout the world.

I provide this history only because the idea of marriage isn’t some romantic, beautiful experience as we are told to believe by the bridal industry (which is a billion dollar industry). As you can tell by my tone, I don’t buy into any of the conventional nonsense about the sanctity of marriage. So why did I get married? Well for me, and for him, it wasn’t about a contract or the need to produce children. Our ideas and feelings toward marriage are completely unconventional. We cared little about the actual wedding and more about what it meant to us to be joined together, not in a religious manner or a civil manner, but really what it means to be husband and wife.

But I refuse to have a conventional marriage. Justin and I don’t ascribe to traditional roles in the marriage. He’s the cook; I manage the finances and “operational” parts of our life. We play to our strengths, and we make decisions together. However, we don’t have to ask “permission” to spend money or make plans.

I think I’m a good wife thus far. But you won’t catch me waiting on him. I’ve certainly made him coffee before, but he’s an independent man who can take care of himself. He doesn’t need me to do it. Nor do I need him to take care of me. We don’t “need” that from each other so it actually happens very organically.

And I’m not taking his last name, which has always been the custom and another way in which men are provided the lead. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that at this point, I’ve had this last name for 12 years. It’s a part of my brand. You may think it’s odd that I’m still going by my ex-husband’s last name. Maybe it is. Let me explain. I was glad to shed my maiden name. It was liberating because I didn’t want to be that person anymore. That person was gone to me in a lot of ways, and I certainly had no desire to continue with a last name that was relating to my father. So I didn’t change it back after my divorce. It’s a lot of work to change your name. In the end, it’s just a last name. It is completely inconsequential.

So the biggest question is: does it feel any different now than before we were married? We already lived together and had been building a life together. But I would say yes it has changed slightly in a really positive way. I like calling him husband. The permanence of it doesn’t make me freak out. I feel secure and safe in a way that I haven’t much of my life.

I never thought I’d try married life again. But then this amazing man showed up in my life. Any doubts or concerns I had about what marriage is and what it can be disappeared. I don’t really believe in happily ever after. I believe in happy right now at this moment, and I sure am.