I’m guilty of caring too much :)

Yeah I’ll be the first to admit it: I kind of get carried away when it comes to planning out my future. For the last 24 years of my life I’ve been responsible for one person…me. Now that I’m gettin’ hitched , I guess that needs to change. Apparently, Girl Ninja actually wants to have a vote in all decisions regarding our future… I know you are probably thinking “Wow that’s really selfish of her” and ya know what…I agree 😉

Seriously though, if I want this marriage thing to work out, I desperately need to get comfortable with sharing my life with another person, particularly in respect to planning our future. Girl Ninja may not be as financially savvy as I am, but that doesn’t mean her vote doesn’t count.

After the numerous comments I received on yesterday’s post, I had a rude awakening. I’m guilty of over thinking and undervaluing Girl Ninja’s feelings.

Here are two of those comments…

I agree with MattyIce, this should be a joint decision, i think its time to involve Girl Ninja in your purchasing decisions as this will affect her also.

and

I think you are being too ‘planny Mcplannerson’. Allow for just a smidge of flexibility.

What the heck do you mean I have to include Girl Ninja in my purchasing decisions? I’m the one that reads Personal Finance blogs, I’m the breadwinner, I’m the alpha male. Oh wait, what’s that? Those statements are all about me, and once I get married, ME becomes US. Girl Ninja is entitled not only to her opinion in our purchasing decisions, but it is my responsibility to actually LISTEN and RESPOND to her requests. If I put her in a situation where we live in an unsafe/dirty apartment because it “saved us a couple bucks” then I have failed as a husband. Consider this my promise to work harder at compromising and loving Girl Ninja selflessly.

The other comment hit the nail on the head. I’m the epitome of a Planny McPlannerson. Ask me how much I plan to have come retirement, I’ll tell ya six million. Ask me how much I want in the bank before we buy a house, I’ll tell ya $100,000. Ask me how many babies we are going to have, I’ll tell ya 2.5. Ya see, I’m a planner. Always have been, always will be. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t allow for at least some flexibility and spontaneity in our relationship. How depressing would our lives be if everything went according to plan? The adventure of not knowing what the future holds, is something I’m really excited about. I need to temper my desire to figure everything out, and allow nature to run its course.

Basically what I’m trying to communicate is this… I suck at being a husband. Fortunately, I’m not a husband yet, so I still have some time to change my nasty habits.

Thanks to all of you who dropped me a line yesterday and put me in my place. Sometimes I need a swift kick in the booty. I wonder if this is common in most relationships. Is one person usually a planner and the other more free spirited? Is the ability to compromise something that can be taught or just learned over time? Life would be so much easier if Girl Ninja just wanted to give me back massages and make me sandwiches all day (lol for sexism).

28 thoughts on “I’m guilty of caring too much :)

  1. It takes some getting used to. You can do it! 🙂 If you haven't done the Financial Peace University class yet, you should–it's really good about getting spouses on the same page with money.

  2. Aw I hope you didn't take my Planny McPlannerson comment the wrong way – I was just trying to convey that sometimes, being overly plan-ful isn't the way to go! 🙂 I think you are going to make a FABULOUS husband because you DO care too much.

    Relationships DO need spontaneity and flexibility, especially in your particular case with the impending marriage – as I said in my previous comment, you don't know what you'll be receiving for gifts or in cash, so don't go out and buy every little thing you think you'll need until you see what you get. Who wants to buy everything only to find out half of it has to be returned because of duplicates, right?

    I'm the planner in my marriage – my husband doesn't care what happens with our money as long as the bills get paid and he has a few bucks to buy beer with. So I make all of the day to day financial decisions but, when a fairly large or important decision comes up, the husband and I sit down together and discuss it (well, he turns away from his Playstation for a few seconds to give his input, hah).

    It will take some getting used to, the whole involving someone else in what you've been doing by yourself thing, but you can do it – and you'll LOVE it. 🙂

    Love hearing all about the struggles and triumphs of your upcoming marriage, and I hope to hear all about the things you guys will encounter once you are married, too.

    • If you go back to yesterday's post my mom commented on the Planny McPlannerson comment and she totally agreed with you. No need to apologize for pointing out an accurate observation 🙂

  3. "If I put her in a situation where we live in an unsafe/dirty apartment because it “saved us a couple bucks” then I have failed as a husband."

    <<<cringe>>>

    False. First, you would not have put her in that situation – you would have decided TOGETHER what apartment to choose and, who knows, maybe she even expressed a preference for sacrificing some niceties to save money. The key here is that you decide as a couple how to handle things.

    Second, you do not "fail" as a husband for ending up in a crappy apartment. A crappy apartment is how most of us started out. You only "fail as a husband" if you let the crappiness of said apartment negatively affect your relationship with your wife.

    • What I meant when I said "fail as a husband" was if we live in an unsafe/dirty apartment because I decided we needed to save money. Essentially saying Girl Ninja's vote doesn't matter. I have no qualms about living in a
      "crappy" apartment if that is what GN and I decide is best for us.

  4. Welcome to being married (almost). Everything you do, the big decisions you make with your money is now something that she'll have to live with too. And vice-versa, you have the right to weigh in and be considered on big decisions she makes as well. It definitely takes some getting used to, but you can make it work.

  5. What if she decided that you needed to live in a house for whatever reason (kids?) and you didn’t have as much saved as you wanted (only 40,000). Would everyone still feel the same way? I think that he knows more than his to-be-wife and she should recognize that while providing input and balancing him out.

    Great couple of posts, I love it

  6. "Is one person usually a planner and the other more free spirited? Is the ability to compromise something that can be taught or just learned over time?"

    Rent the video of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

  7. Ninja, are you guys doing any premarital counseling through the church to talk about "living together" issues like finances and the like?

    I know a few people who have done stuff like this and they said that it did WONDERS for their first few years of marriage because they got off on the right foot because the counseling helped them focus on what issues they should talk about before sharing their lives together.

  8. I think the best relationships are a case of "opposites attract." While it's not necessarily absolutely imperative this be the case, I think having one planner and one free spirit is the best way to go. Can you imagine if neither of you cared whether there was enough money to pay rent? Or if you had to pencil in time to kiss each other goodbye in the morning? I think either would be dreadful. My friend's mother told her once, "It's better if there is one lazy person and one hardworking person in a relationship. More things get done." While it's not always fun, I think it's the way to go.

  9. When it finally comes time to tie the knot, just remember Len's golden rule of marriage and everything will be fine: "What's hers is hers and what's yours is hers."

    Seriously, if you want to reduce stress in the marriage my belief is that it is imperative that you work as a team when it comes to the household finances. The Honeybee and I have been acting as the household CFO and CEO , respectively, since the day we got married 14 years ago and we've never had a major fight over finances.

    (I define a "major fight" as one that involves deadly weapons – then again, I guess "deadly" is also in the eye of the beholder.)

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  10. Well, we're coming up on our second anniversary, and I'm still learning to be a team. So it's a process.

    Like you, I tend toward inflexibility. And it's hard when you're the more financially prudent one. My husband was in deep debt when we met (defaulted student loans) and had terrible money habits. Also, he has ADD which means he wants at least every other thing he sees.

    So when he talks about wanting to spend money, I tend to tune him out and assume it's a passing thing. 90% of the time, that works. But every so often, I'm basically dismissing his wants and needs. We've learned to use certain phrases that help the other person clue in to that fact that this isn't just any old request.

    As with most couple issues, I think a lot is solved by learning what makes the other person pay attention/remember/whatever. Tim's bad recall means that he can literally sit down at the computer and forget what he was doing. But, unlike when I do it, he can't remember if he stops and thinks about it. So, if I want him to remember something, I have to make sure he's not watching TV or otherwise engaged in something else. If I want him to remember something later, I need to make sure he sets an alarm for himself.

    For his part, he has to get me to talk about spending while also ducking and covering when my knee-jerk NO comes out because I'm uptight.

    We're both working on it.

  11. I think in any relationship, one person will be relatively more of a "planner", regardless. I notice that these roles can get polarized if you're not careful.

    The way DH and I describe our relationship (in which I'm more of a planner and he's more spontaneous) is that I hold onto his ankles so he doesn't get his head lost in the clouds, and he pulls me up off the ground with his spontaneity so I don't get too entrenched in my planning and let moments pass me by. Perhaps an odd image, but it makes sense to us. Really, it just means that we try to make the best of our differences (which are sometimes challenging) and see them as an opportunity to see different sides of life, which I figure, is part of the point of being in a lifelong partnership.

    You and GN will figure it all out-I can't imagine you'll be a bad husband!

  12. Married life is easier when you ask yourself everyday "what can I do to make my spouse happy" and then try your best to do it. If you both ask that question every morning of yourselves it will help put everything in perspective.

  13. Haha… you're getting your first taste of married life, welcome…

    Not gonna lie, it takes a while to get used to. We've been married for almost 3 years, and we still fight about the me vs. we thing.

    The problem is, unless you both are the most selfless people in the entire world, there is always a "me" (for you and her). You'll need to learn when to battle and when to stand down and believe me, that's the hardest part cause it's a fine line. If you battle too much, it appears selfish, and if you stand down too much, "we" turns into "her".

    Yeah… it's cynical, but it was an eye opener for me.

  14. Hi Ninja,
    I have some more bad news for you – The "getting used to being WE as opposed to ME" never stops, and if you have kids, it gets even more complicated.
    Apparently once kids learn to speak they shortly thereafter have opinions as well (SHOCK HORROR) which further complicates everything.

    Sometimes (being our households Planny McPlannerson) I have to let go of the financial reins a bit and just say "whatever, its only money" – which goes against every control freak bone in my body let me tell ya!

  15. I'm not married, but I can imagine it is hard to make the adjustment from 'me' to 'we'. I assume there's a transitional period. Don't beat yourself up, just learn to include Girl Ninja more. And who knows, she may be comfortable with you making the bulk of the financial decisions due to your extensive knowledge.

  16. Compromise is what you do when you a) don't care about something passionately enough to start a fight over or b) are both so passionate over the topic that you debate for unreasonably long periods of time. After wearing each other down, one or both people decide making a concession is better for your sanity than spending one more minute debating.

    Compromise happens and it must be felt by both parties, or it becomes a bully/pushover relationship. The good news is that alot of times, the other person doesn't really care about things that may be important to you. You may care about what kind of car you drive, but give a rats a** about what color area rug you have in your living room. So alot of the time, you can just delegate the decision to the person who cares most about the issue at hand and save the negotiations for the important stuff. It's not that bad really once you figure out a system that works…It does take a while though.

  17. GN already knows you are a planny mcplannerson, and she loves you for it, not in spite of it , i bet anyway…

  18. Just have a few thoughts:

    1.) You are doing great! So don't stress over this stuff (i don't think you are but just wanted to stop and remind you to have fun along the way!)

    2.) I think its great to be a planner about some things (finances being one) but realize too that you are probably also a very spontaneous a fun person…i.e. your engagement story. So don't let your financial Planny Mcplannersonness overshadow perceptions of everything else about you (just making the assumption that you are prob a fun guy and that it's ok to be strict in one area as long as it doesn't define all the other areas).

    3.) I'm sure you are very conscious of GN and would never exclude her on purpose but sometimes its difficult not to by accident if you are the sole person responsible of finances…my suggestion would be akin to april's comment and just do a double check with yourself and ask "have i heard GN's input on this" so you don't accidentally ostracize her, would probably not only make her feel included but she may have some great insight for being able to look at an issue from outside the box.

    4.)Just a thought on the topic if GN does decide to guest spot. Maybe have her discuss what she likes best and least about your PF obsession. They may not even be what you expect!

    ***Best of luck to you guys and thanks again for being so open and willing to discuss stuff; as someone who's a little younger and not going through the same stuff yet it's nice to have a reference!

  19. I think you two are fortunate that even one of you is a planner! Not saying GN isn't, because maybe she is. But I know of countless couples where neither person is a planner. They equally contribute to the building debt with no plans to get out. You need someone who compliments you. Maybe your planning allows Girl Ninja to be the free spirit because she knows you have everything under control. And maybe she brings that free spirit out in you because you feel safe doing so because A) you know things will be okay because you have planned, and because B) you want to be care-free like she is.

    Good idea to include her in these decisions. I think you are already a far better husband than many men would be.

  20. You'll get the hang of being a husband sooner or later. Well, you don't really have much choice when you get married, do you? It takes everybody a couple years to settle into the new role. Talking to each other is probably the most important thing. My bet is that you guys are doing just well since you even resolved a touchy issue like your students loan pretty well. All the best!

  21. Yes, in a relationship there is usually two people that sit on both sides of just about everything. Compromise is not a good enough word, it is working things out that make the relationship work. Of course this can be a lot of fun also.
    Don't worry, there are no "perfect" husbands or wifes out there.

  22. "just wanted to give me back massages and make me sandwiches all day "

    I actually do that for my husband some days. He does it for me on others. That's what marriage is about – communication, compromise, and loving each other enough to take turns spoiling the crud out of each other.

    It's working for us…we've been together for 9 years and have been married for almost 5. We're happier now than we were in college…every day gets better and better.

    Hopefully, including Girl Ninja will become second nature. I'm not positive when I started using "us" and "we" more than "I" and "me", but it came naturally and stuck.

    Good luck!

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