I've never been the type of girl who plans.
My kids are well aware of this. When they ask me if we're going to do something, my response often falls somewhere between possibly and we'll see. Being vague creates the buffer I need to not overcommit. It also aids in preventing hurt feelings should something pop up and I need to cancel plans.
My husband is the opposite. On a scale of 1-10 with me being a 1, he would be a 20. He plans everything. What we're doing, when we're doing it and how much it will cost. I'm serious. He even wakes up planning. There was a time during the early mornings when he would wait for the moment I woke to pounce me with all of his plans for the day, like a tiger after its prey. I took me a while, but I had to condition him not start any planning discussions until after I showered and not a second earlier.
When I told my friends that he has our entire financial budget completed for the year, they thought I was kidding. I wasn't. It's done. I don't know all the details like he does, but I do know the basics of what will be accomplished for the next 12 months.
It sounds unusual for us creative types. For numbers people, it's like breathing. His passion for planning is natural. And overall, very helpful.
Since we've been together, he has brought a sense of order to my life. I don't worry about the finances and I know what we are able to do and when we are able to do it. I'm now better prepared for what is scheduled during our week versus not. And our family has more structure. His efforts don't go unrecognized are not unappreciated by any means.
However, the need to have every moment of our lives detailed out is starting to feel a bit...what is the word I'm looking for here? Restrictive. Yes, restrictive. He has placed us in his big square box all neat and tidy and has wrapped it with a great big ribbon of monotony.
The time to get my husband to be less of a planner was long overdue. As his wife, keeping him happy is one of my priorities. But on occasion, he was going to have to start meeting me halfway and put some spontaneity into our marriage, family and lives.
I wish I could say I approached him gently, but I didn't. I may or may have not used the word "dictate" when I told him how I felt the family operations are constantly under his control. I made it clear that I was perturbed (putting it lightly) about his obsession of making everything work just so. I explained to him, that while I do love that he works hard to keep us organized, I would like to bring things down just a notch.
He could have snapped back, but instead being the wonderful man that he is, he compromised. He let me decide what we were going to do for the rest of the afternoon that day. We packed the kids up in the car and he gave me the keys. He told me to do what it was I wanted to do. So I drove and didn’t say a word as to where we were headed. Of course, that drove him and the six year-old absolutely crazy - the two planners of the family. But the tween and I enjoyed the much needed flexibility.
We did a little shopping, grabbed some food and ice cream and ended up at a park.
The kids were so excited to run around! We hadn’t been to a park in I don’t know how long. And now that the boy is walking, he could keep up with his sisters. Watching them bounce around warmed my heart. And my husband’s. At one point, he and the six-year old (again, planners) said I should have brought my camera. It would have been nice to have pictures, but I have to admit I’m glad that I didn’t have it. I was able to just focus on them with my own eyes.
On the way home, I think it became apparent that we all needed some wiggle room. Including my husband. As he waived his white flag, we came to the agreement that Sunday afternoons are mine to (un)plan. I guess the smiles on our children's tiny faces reminded him about the importance of having balance in our lives. We need to have some fun. We deserve to have some fun. And often.
As we continue to grow in our marriage, there are times we forget that compromise is necessary for us to have a healthy relationship. We aren't selfish individuals, but when you start planning or over planning, it's easy to lose sight of the other person. Even though you are of one flesh, you shouldn't be making plans FOR, you should be making plans WITH.
Marriage is about partnership. Taking a bit of each of you and creating something uniquely wonderful. And that's what we're working on.
For my husband, I don't mind being in his box of planning, just as long as he takes the ribbon off so I can breathe.