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.

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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.

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.

I want a marriage, not a wedding

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As my wedding day draws near, I’m asked often if I’m excited. And to be honest, no I’m not really very excited about the wedding. Not because I’m unsure or have cold feet. The wedding itself isn’t something I’ve focused on. In fact, most of it has just given me anxiety. To the point, where the wedding itself has become very minimal. We keep saying we should’ve just gotten married in Vegas last year! The wedding is just one tiny moment; the marriage, I hope will be a lifetime.

All this is in stark comparison to my first trip down the aisle. I planned that wedding meticulously for 18 months. I had a huge binder with every detail noted. It was a big wedding with all the ridiculousness that comes with such events. I focused so much on the perfection of that day, I saw nothing else. I was obsessed with being as tiny as possible so I was very “hangry.” I was equally obsessed with the flowers and cake and a million other things that had nothing to do with marriage. And when it was all over and the details weren’t there to absorb my attention, I was left with a marriage I didn’t want to be in. I know now that I did the best I could. I was just trying to live a conventional life and stay safe. But I’m anything but conventional.

Something big did change after the ceremony. I didn’t think it would, but I felt a shift in my heart. I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe, that marriage was gripping my lungs and not letting go. I knew I never wanted to feel that trapped again.

This doesn’t feel like a trap though. I’m not sure if I’ll feel different once we say “I do.” I think maybe a little. We already feel like a we. He’s already well informed that I’m a crazy person (but I’m his crazy person). We have differences. We have intense discussions. I think that makes us stronger.

So in a few weeks, I won’t be walking down an aisle in white. I won’t be carrying a bouquet. There won’t be a celebration nor any other elements of a wedding. And I feel empowered by this because weddings are what little girl’s dream of, a magical day where they are the star. I never felt like the center of attention not even on that “perfect” wedding day. But I’m not a little girl. I’m a strong, fierce woman. I want a partner, not a prince. This is why I am focused on a marriage and have no desire for a wedding. However, I am excited about the honeymoon. And cake, there will definitely be cake.