Friday, August 11, 2006

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

This seemed so easy and self-evident a week or two ago.
Just Submit

... I wrote in a post that I seem to have edited out of existence.

But the opportunities for doing that seem to feel few and far between. Partially, that's because we live almost insanely busy lives. But partly it's my waxing and waning attention to details.

Last night I was contemplating this post, and I gave myself the proverbial dope-slap and went up and did a load of laundry. Laundry is perhaps something I should do more of (our division of labor is that I do the dishes and she does the laundry). But right now I'm trying to keep this to something I can realistically do.

Today we were figuring out how to get to the movie we want to see amid all the other commitments. I think she said that she didn't want to eat out, but I still mentioned that I was interested in Chinese food. As I said it I realized I shouldn't have, and she suggested bringing home take-out if I wanted. I think we'll just cook at home.

This is a funny area because we work together well and tend to get along best when we're engaged on a project together. On the other hand, if I'm serious about a wife-led marriage, I'm going to need to learn to defer instinctively on all the stuff that is just preference. Submitting to her preferences seems to me to a good long term goal for a wife-led marriage, and in the short term about as much satisfaction as I'm going to get. On the other hand I think she has a right to expect that on things where a second set of thoughts would contribute to the best possible outcome, I have an obligation to contribute that, and once I think the point is understood, let her make the call. That should be a fun mental exercise.

We're planning a vacation - just the two of us - for the first time in since-forever, and it has been an interesting process trying to figure out when to defer and when to say what about my preferences. We probably won't go to this particular place more than once, and I'm figuring out how I feel about letting go of some of the things I always thought I'd do there. Mostly this is because there isn't time to do what I want, so I think her judgements are good ones. But even if they were just differing preferences, I would love it (well, I think I would love it) if they just went her way in the context of an explicitly defined wife-led relationship.

Maybe someday.

For now, I advice to myself is to remember to look for the little things; pick up on the "you coulds" and "why don't you's". I know I missed at least one yesterday; who knows how many more went right by me.

So I guess the opportunities for submission are endless if I just look for them. That will be a fine exercise.


saratoga said...

"On the other hand, if I'm serious about a wife-led marriage, I'm going to need to learn to defer instinctively on all the stuff that is just preference (as opposed to contributing thought to the best possible outcome). That should be a fun mental exercise."

Interesting how relationships and women differ. For example, with my SO, I know she welcomes my inputs to make something the 'best possible outcome.' She wants that from me. If she doesn't like my particular solution, she'll tell me so.

There are small things, her preferences for which I've learned. But on something like a weekend/time away, she prefers a joint planning effort to start with.

So, I guess it must be your wife's style to not want that from you now?

Not criticizing, just curious how you have come to that conclusion. Was it explicit discussion, or your interpretation?

Jamie said...

I expressed myself poorly - I think it's important to contribute to those things where it makes a difference to the quality of the outcome. As you say, I think she would want no less. On the other hand, there are a lot of meaningless preferences on which we sometimes quarrel, and it's really pointless, especially if I mean what I think I mean about an FLR, to have an opinion about those. Chinese food falls in that category.

I hope I've clarified the post.

Thanks for pointing that out.

helpmate hubby said...

So what are the vacation ideas your kicking around? Sounds like a wonderful idea to have a getaway, should allow you time to open up even more about your desire for LFA/FLR based marriage.

Lady Julia said...

Letting go of the little things is a great way of letting go of control. I think this is a really nice place to start, Jamie.