Do we really need china?

Gentlemen, I have some words of wisdom to share with you: Pick and chose your battles wisely. I am no relationship expert, but I have definitely learned a few things. Particularly, when to wave the white flag and admit defeat.

Getting married is a pretty humbling experience. I am constantly reminded that life is not just about me anymore. I’m learning to be less selfish and more selfless. I am far from a”perfect” fiancΓ©, but I do my part to love Girl Ninja as best I can. Sometimes that requires me to step outside of my comfort zone. The ability to compromise doesn’t always come easy, but it is an essential piece in any healthy relationship.

Here are a few areas were I had to learn to bite my tongue…

China

Apparently girl ninja is part Asian ’cause she has a strong affinity for china. No, not the country. The dishware. You know, the really expensive plates, bowls, and cups that you only use once a year. I’m willing to bet just about every dude out there (and probably a bunch of you women) don’t understand the concept of having extremely expensive dishes that only get used a handful of times. I’m right there with you. That said, it is extremely important to Girl Ninja that we have a set of china in our future home. Growing up she loved the days that family gathered around the formal dining room table and sat down to the fancy plate-ware (typically holidays and special occassions). To Girl Ninja, china is not just about expensive dishes. It has a much deeper meaning. China to Girl Ninja means enjoying a special meal with those that are most important to her. As silly as I think the expense may be, I can’t argue with the significance. Thus, we registered for this china set….

Our first place.

Yeah I know. I’ve blogged about it many times and I’m sure you are sick of hearing about it, but this is definitely an area where I have to learn to compromise. I’m currently paying 11% of my gross income towards rent each month. I have become so acclimated to minimal rent expenses that the idea of paying more for a place totally freaks me out. Although my cost of living is low for my income, it definitely has its downfalls. It’s not in the safest of locations. It’s pretty outdated. And it gets almost no natural light. It’s a total man cave and Girl Ninja would drop dead if she had to live here. We recently started apartment shopping and have been looking at places that are around 28% of my gross income. With the addition of Girl Ninja’s income it would really be about 21% of our household gross income. It’s nearly double the percentage I’m currently paying, but it’s still a totally reasonable number. If GN is going to feel more safe and comfortable in a place that costs a little more (but is within our budget) then you better believe I’m gonna provide for her.

Flowers

I know just about every guy out there reading this is shaking his head in agreement with me. What the heck is it about flowers that women love so much? Sure they smell nice, but so do brownies, and at least brownies taste yummy. Okay, maybe they can brighten a place up, but so can a 52″ flat screen TV. For as long as I live, I will never understand why Girl Ninja loves getting flowers as much as she does. She’s messed up in the head, but ya know what? If that’s how she feels loved, then I’m more than happy to drop $10 every now and again to make her day a little brighter. Do I like spending $10 on something that dies a week later? No. Do I like making Girl Ninja happy? Yes. Flowers it is then.

These are just a few of the areas of I’ve been learning to put Girl Ninja’s needs before mine. I’m slowly picking up on the art of compromise, but still have a long way to go. The old saying “Happy wife. Happy life” has never rang more true.

What are some areas of your life that you sacrificed for your partners benefit? Can one of you women please explain to me why you enjoy getting flowers so much? Ever seen a relationship fail due inability to compromise?

36 thoughts on “Do we really need china?

  1. Even though I cook (and I’m a good cook too), my husband feels the need to eat fast food all. the. time. It is ridiculous. I don’t see the appeal of fast food at all. In fact, it makes me sick every time I eat it. But he is my husband, so as soon as my student loan debt is paid off, we will have a line item in our budget for my husband’s fast food cravings.

    I’m a woman who has never understood the flowers thing. Now diamonds, I can get behind that. Save your ten dollars up for a couple of years and then buy me a diamond.

    As for china, I can totally see where your (soon to be) wife is coming from! We got the Chirp Lenox set, and I love it so much that I’ve been eating on it whenever I need a pick me up. It makes me smile.

  2. Flowers? Honestly, I am not too concerned about them…like Ashley above, JEWELRY! I have taught my boys, when asked what mum wants for her birthday, to say “Jewelry is always nice!” LOL.

    I also don’t get the china thing either. It’s nice and all, but you must make sure you use it and use it regularly. Nothing is worse than china that just sits in the cabinet.

    My marriage failed…partly due to his inability to compromise (of course that all goes with the selfishness of the disease of addiction)…seemed I was doing ALL of the compromising…it’s all about both of you doing a little compromising here and there.

  3. I understand the china thing (and have my own “china” to an extent: A vacation home) but I’ll never, ever get the flowers thing. They just die! But you’re right, it’s not about you anymore.

    Good luck with the apt search.

  4. Flowers just make me happy!

    My brother-in-law gave his wife one rose for each year of marriage when they hit the 25th anniversary. His mistake? They were silk because he didn’t want to waste money on something that died. But it didn’t make my SIL happy.

    I have a set of china that I only use once or twice a year. But I’ve owned it for 15 years and bought it at an auction. You might not use it often, but you’re going to use it for 50 years; well worth the cost for the amount of pleasure.

  5. I am not at all a girly girl, but I love flowers and I love china too.
    Flowers are pretty. They are a little splurge you normally do not buy for yourself. They make your house look nice. When you look at them it is a reminder of how much someone loves you. So what if they die in a week, buy her another bouquet. They still last longer than a pizza or some other little splurge. No one ever looked at a combo #3 and thought wow he loves me.
    As for china, too bad we all typically don’t use it more often. Somehow a nice little candelit meal for 2 doesn’t seem so special on paperplates. But on china, next time you use it, you have that memory attached, as well as all the previous good times.
    Girls like romance. China and flowers are romantic symbols. Yeah, in the big world they aren’t a priority, but they can be a couple of the things that are the difference between ho hum and what a fabulous life I have.

  6. I don’t have china but I can see why chicks like it. My MIL’s grandfather used to take her out on her birthday and get her a fancy tea cup every year. It was the ultimate version of playing house…to have real china for her tea parties. Her love of china has grown ever since.

    It’s kind of an old timey to have a set of nice china. It’s not for me as I’m too clutsy to not break it all, but it will last a lot longer than a flat screen tv. Again, my MIL has a set from her grandmother that’s over 100 years old. In 100 years, I’m sure your flatscreen will be long dead. When you’re all old and wrinkly and having Xmas dinner with your great grandkids, it’ll be on that same china you’re bitching about today.

    Someday, I might get a set at auction but only after other debts and kid’s college is paid for.

  7. Flowers… maybe if you buy some flowers that are in dirt, you won’t have to buy them as much. A lovely potted plant in an apartment that isn’t a cave will probably grow, right? I’m not much of a gardening expert, so I can’t say for sure though. They’ve come a long way with silk flowers, but I’d be pissed if I got those too!

  8. I’m a girl and I don’t like flowers or china. I hate unnecessary items, such as china. It only adds to home clutter and provides yet another thing to care for and maintain. If a man wants to make me feel loved, I’ll take an Edible Arrangement…please and thank you. It’s a bouquet of fruit carved to look like flowers. And, yes, it’s yummy!

    The better apartment is a no brainer because the lesser apartment will come with a lot more than just outdated fixtures. It will usually be accompanied by the riff-raff that lives there.

  9. If you don’t like the fact that flowers die a week later, buy a blooming potted plant. πŸ™‚

  10. Oooh I love flowers and china too. Fresh flowers in a vase can brighten any room and I feel so happy to look them. Especially gerberas or daisies. πŸ™‚

    I am with GN on the china too. We really need a GN guest post

  11. Flowers are one of those little things that makes a girl feel special. On those crappy days when a girl gets to feeling unappreciated, coming home to a fresh bouquet of flowers without having to ask for them is like hearing a guy say thank you/thinking of you/ I love you/ I appreciate everything you do/ I’m sorry for being selfish without him ever having to say a single word. It means even more if the guy remembers to pick up her favorite flowers. Besides most women have plenty of jewelry, most of which they wear only a few times a year, but since flowers die she can always use more.

  12. I saw this on twitter and I HAD TO RESPOND. I have been married forever, entertain occasionally, and don’t like to do dishes. My advice is this; if your fiancee likes to entertain A LOT, and doesn’t mind doing dishes (or you don’t), then go for it!!! OTHERWISE, forget about the china. Get dishes you will use every day!!!! and don’t waste the money and space on china or 2 sets of dishes.
    I still have wedding gifts I haven’t used (& I was married in the 80’s)

  13. Ok, on the flowers question, first off, most women have been taught by pop culture and society in general that we are to expect flowers as a token of love and affection. Now, whether guys agree with this or not, its a built in expectation that many women have, myself included. But on a more personal note, for me flowers represent that my husband has looked beyond himself to what I might want. As you pointed out yourself ninja, you can be a bit selfish, as can many men, flowers are a tangible representation that a man has thought about the woman in his life outside of the kitchen or bedroom.

    Best flowers though, are the spontaneous ones. These say to a woman that her man has “warm fuzzy” thoughts about her during the day and wanted to see that look of adoration that a woman gets when she gets surprise flowers.

    As to china, I love the stuff, but I have chosen to wait and inherit my mom’s set, along with all the happy memories that it brings up.

  14. First, I had the same discussion with my live-in. I came from a family that would use the good dishes every night for dinner. We decided a long time ago that the family we have and the guests we have for dinner company are just as special as the holidays and thus began using the good dishes every night. Yes it can be a pain to do the dishes after-wards since they are definitely not dishwasher safe…but it’s part of the family time we spend together and gives us a chore to do while we are talking about our day or what have you. Plus if you only save those dishes for Christmas and Thanksgiving, that’s a lot of dust to clear off first. And it shows people that the holiday is more important than the people sitting at the table (at least to my family).

    The flowers thing is more of the outward symbol that you were thinking of us and wanted to do something to make us smile. They could even be a bouquet picked from the garden you planted. It’s the action of caring for us and showing us that is the big draw to them. I like the comment above that they last longer than a Combo #3, and go a lot farther in the memory than saying – hun I thought about getting you flowers today and then I just didn’t, or I thought about you today. Both will turn negative during the hard times.

    Flowers, jewelery, a magazine we like to read, bath salts to help us relax, a spa treatment gift certificate, or anything of that nature (for some of us sporting event tickets, or equipment may be the same thing) show us you care enough to do the little surprise things that make us feel good about ourselves and remind how absolutely wonderful you are. The trick is to find something that continues to give us a little surprise each day – even a little note would do the same.

    I like that you are understanding some of the compromises that are necessary to keep a relationship growing and moving forward.

  15. I can see the value of a nice set of china. It’s funny how a good set of dishes can make food taste better. I think it will add to your quality of life factor. Lately, I’ve been more interested in a nice set of knives…

    I can understand that your wife cannot appreciate the beauty of saving money on rent/mortgage. As much as we both would love to get a “nicer” house, we still can’t truly afford it. This is why I hate budgets, it reminds me of how “poor” we are.

    I’m with you on the flowers bit. I cannot stand to buy them because they go into the garbage in less than a week. My wife does suffer from my unwillingness to buy flowers for her. And on that note, I’m going to get her some flowers tomorrow πŸ™‚

  16. I certainly don’t need flowers but I feel like flowers are a quick way to say “I was thinking of you and I knew you would like these so here you go.” When my fiance buys me “just because” flowers, I think it’s really sweet. It’s not that expensive, and they are something that you can look at and enjoy for a week, as opposed to brownies which you eat up and then they are gone, plus you have gained 5 pounds.

    Jewelry is nice too. But since jewelry – nice jewelry – is expensive it’s hard to surprise someone with those that often.

  17. Flowers, I absolutely love them and our household actually has a budget for them. I use to be a florist and I can totally understand spending $5 or $10 on a bouquet but I can’t understand anyone spending $5 or $10 buying take out coffee or fast food. Men have been bringing women flowers and comparing their beauty to them since Roman times. When you get your first house make sure that you plant flowers and bushes that you sweetie can cut and bring inside.

    China? love it, I use to be an antique dealer and I can appreciate the quality and care it is made with. We use our fine China at every opportunity I can think of because I believe if you own beautiful things then use them.

    Might I suggest you go to Craigs List as see if you can buy place setting of your china from there. In my experience when marriages break up or people have to down size or move they tend to sell of their china for a fraction of the price they paid for it. In the antique business we also use to run classified ads for specific china patterns and buy them for about 30% of the list price.

  18. Ummm…getting flowers for me isn’t about the flowers, it’s about the surprise factor that he was thinking about me enough to change his day a little to make me smile. Chocolate, a hand made card, a silk flower, or even a bunch of bananas (I’m an addict) would make me feel the same way. That edible arrangement that Young Mogul mentioned sounds amazing…now I want one of those. πŸ™‚

    My husband appreciates my surprises for him too (usually Magic: The Gathering cards or a board game he wanted). I think it is truly “the thought that counts”.

    China just isn’t my thing…we’ll just break it and feel bad we broke a $25-$200 whatever. We were registered at Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond for our wedding. We wanted things we could start life with, but we both agreed that a $75 bread plate wasn’t for us…

    Although, if I ever have to buy a set, I think the set you two picked out is gorgeous! Elegant and simple…absolutely fantastic!

  19. The flowers are all about the thought that went into giving them, and the life they represent, their being alive themselves… Okay, so I went all deep on you there, but suffice to say it’s a double bonus and chics dig them — EVEN if they didn’t come from their man! So when they DO come from you… Get it?

    As for the china… They obviously represent so much more to her, and I say if you have the space to store them and you actually do use them at least once or twice a year, then by all means, have them. They never much floated my boat; if I have something nice, I’m all about using it on a regular basis (more than once a year) or I might as well not have them. The closest we come to “china” is nice Christmas dishes we were gifted from my mom and thus I could never get rid of. So, I pull them out at Thanksgiving and we use them until after Christmas. When the kids ask, “Why are we eating on these when it’s only Thanksgiving?” I reply, “Because we can.”

  20. Girls either love flowers or they don’t. I’ve found that for me, flowers are great because they say “I like you enough to buy you something that has no other redeeming value other than to make you happy” and they make me happy because, well, they’re a nice little touch of something that doesn’t have to clutter up my life (precisely because they die) and that I enjoy. I enjoy them because they are pretty and soft and go away after a little while. Flowers are a special occasion thing for me; if I got them all the time they’d lose their luster quickly.

    Buying me jewelery would be hell on someone, because I am very picky and probably wouldn’t like it. I’d be pissed if someone wasted their money on something I don’t want and yet feel obligated to keep around forever to show them that I appreciated their gesture. I hate cards for this same reason.

    China, well…I already have my great-grandmother’s set, so why would I get another? I wouldn’t use them anyway, just like I most likely won’t use hers.

  21. Dear Ninja, you already knew the answer to all this before your blog, Mr. Psych major. Classical (Societal) Conditioning. It’s the same reason why many women expect so much for Valentine’s Day.

    Personally, I am a victim of the project system of loving flowers. China? Eh. It’s an outdated thing that I don’t really care about. Just another “thing” to store and pay for and feel bad if it’s broken. No thank you. Even though it’s not a design I absolutely love or might choose if I did like China, I’d love to have my Grandparent’s set, just because it was theirs and I like the idea of carrying that on.

    As a girl who loves jewelry I can’t ever seem to get enough, but know I already have way too much at my young age. I have my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother’s wedding rings and (almost) don’t see the point of me getting my own if I get engaged simply because I already have two gorgeous antique beauties that don’t get worn enough. It’s a battle with what I have been told to want and like as a girl/woman.

  22. I think china is the biggest waste of money in the world. It is a pain to wash and people rarely end up using it. You can always spend money on a decent set of everyday dishes that you will actually use. You also know where you store china right? So plan on dumping some money on a china cabinet too. We were broke when we got married and moved right past the fine china and straight into regular dishes. They still came in a ‘set’, I think 19.99 a set, and I still use those dishes 19 years later.

    Flowers? I am allergic. However, I like what they represent- that you care about girl ninja. Chocolate is my version of flowers, and my husband always provides (without me asking) when he knows I am having a rough day.

  23. im with you, flowers are something i will never understand, but like you, if it makes my girl happy, its def worth the ten bucks. i do think youve been lucky so far only paying 11%, but on the other hand i think you will be quite happy moving up to a nicer place. since it is your home, youll be surprised just how much happier you can be if your home is inviting and comfortable for you and your girl ninja.

    Preferred Financial Services

  24. If you entertain people on a regular basis, china may make sense. Otherwise, it sits collecting dust. It’s the same thing with crystal, specialty cookware, or specialty barware. If you don’t use it then why bother?

  25. You’ve gotten a lot of good responses about flowers and china, so I would hope you’ve gotten your answer about why (most, it looks like) women enjoy them so much. You also sound like you’ve accepted the role of flowers and china in your life, and that’s a very good thing.

    Along the same lines, I couldn’t help but notice in your About Me section, from the looks of the photo there, that you’ve collected a boatload of BMX trophies over the years. I would guess each trophy represents a tidy sum in training, equipment, entry fees, travel, etc. and a wonderful memory, of course. But now, there they are! NOT to make comparisons, or anything, but I think storing china might be tidier than storing all trophies. Are you taking those with you into the new Ninja kingdom? Or are you leaving them with Mom Ninja??

    • Lola, I love that you commented on the BMX trophies and sound somewhat familiar with the sport. I did have a relatively successful BMX career in my young adult life. That said, the picture in the About Me page with all of the trophies was taken for a reason. I gathered them all up for one last photo op before I donated them to goodwill. I only kept one trophy from when I finished 6th in the nation in a race. I’d definitely be a big hypocrite if I kept the trophies but freaked out about some dishes.

      • Very good! It was nice of you to recyle the hardware.

        You’ll enjoy the dishes, believe me. So what is on your registry in the way of flatware and crystal, hmm??

  26. We didn’t even register for china. We DID register for fancy flatware, and got it as a gift. Didn’t see the need to have fancy china in the beginning of our marriage. Like another poster said, I’ll probably find a set when we’re a little older and have a NEED for it.

    Not much for flowers, myself. They die. Want to do something nice for me? Send me to the spa, even if it’s just for a $25 manicure. Or take me out to a movie. Do something that creates a MEMORY as opposed to a compost pile addition.

  27. Man… China? That’s gotta be like… A really impractical thing to waste all that money on.

    I never really did understand the enjoyment of plucked flowers, either. Visual, I suppose. But that time would be better spent growing spices or food. That would be more appealing, at least to me. Besides. I think chocolate’s a better flower anyway.

  28. I remember when I was 17 and moved to college I became really interested in collecting kitchenware and dinnerware and began to request it as gifts at all gift giving times, I felt it was important for me to own, to establish a home (maybe some of me thinks a “proper” woman has a well equipped kitchen and dinning room). Now 9 years on I have everything I need. My husband had no firm thoughts on what a “home” had to contain but over our years together my interest in cooking and entertaining has inclued him, and we enjoy these things together, he appreciates my nice dishes etc. Likewise over the years his interest in computers and general geekery has come to include me, and it is okay that we have three computers in the house and one in pieces, we spend money on the hardware and stuff but we both benefit. It starts out as needing to compromise and communicate all the time about your wants and expectations, but after a few years I found that as a couple we grew up together, and alot of our wants have combined.

  29. I’m right there with you on china! But I also understand why GN wants some. At least she wants it for the significance and not because she’s got expensive tastes.

    Flowers… Well, I’m sort of with you there too. My cats eat flowers when I bring them home, so that means I spend the week after I get flowers yelling at the cats constantly. And they do die. But I think women like receiving flowers so much because it lets them know that their man is thinking of them. Just don’t leave it to holidays only. When Mr. Red and I first started dating, I let him know early on that I was obsessed with Christmas. (It was November at the time.) He surprised me by having a very Christmas-like bouquet sent to me at work out of the blue. So romantic! πŸ™‚

    You’re right on the money about compromise. It’s the key to making a marriage/relationship work.

  30. Dudette here. Welcome to marriage – it’s all about compromise & acquiring some seemingly unnecessary pieces that make a home & evoke strong memories (Xmas stockings, family dog, matching hand towels). Just warning you – might have to finish the set if you don’t receive it all as gifts. Good news – there are outlet stores for housewares! Though, 1 year after our wedding we still haven’t completed the set & only invite as many people as we have place settings. Anyway, you can’t host Thanksgiving in your 1BR apartment w/o Aunt Nana balancing china on her knee! Btw, can live w/o the extras – gravy boat, bread & butter plates, soup bowls. I only have dinner, salad & dessert plates, and 3 serving dishes.

    @Red – your cat is hilarious!

  31. “If you are unhappy and your wife is happy, you are still far happier than if you are happy but your wife is unhappy.”

    She has a tea pot. We don’t drink tea. “it’s decorative”
    She saw an old table saw I never use since getting the manly one. Asked me why I don’t get rid of old one. I told her “it’s decorative”

  32. Ninja,

    I’m a chef and a husband. I know China and flowers aren’t practical at all but I think that’s the point. GN will love the flowers precisely because they have no practical value, in other words, the ONLY reason us dudes would get them is because we know our women like them. China is a bit different. Good food tastes and looks better on good China or good dinnerware. When I’m having a dinner party I know my guests will appreciate the food more when presented well. Hint, hint, China might just be a little more practical than you realize—i’m sure you’ll use them more than once a year.

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