Married Life

When I first got married, I strongly resisted the notion that baby-making was to be the new focus of my married life for a number reason, not the least of which was that I wanted to establish a more exciting lifestyle. I felt I was too safe, boring, and not much of a risk taker. I didn't want to bring children into the world who fell into that mindset by default because of our married life. In the past ten years that I have been married, I've made a lot of changes. I've started flying regularly (yes I'm ashamed to say flight travel is not my favorite). I still don't like it, but I decided if I'm ever going to get anywhere in life, it won't be by bus. I have a passport and have traveled internationally several times. (Once by myself during which time I had the scare of being singled out by customs. After the agent learned I was a minister he let me go.) I've started a business (two in fact when you include Empire). And I've also picked up two graduate degrees along the way. I've traveled to preach, taught at conferences, and connected with some pretty accomplished people. So how is it that Husband and I have become the very thing I was trying to avoid all those years ago- a maried couple whose social life consistently includes tv-trays and the dvr?

The answer is simple, I just didn't take control. I control what bills get paid, what we eat for dinner, the household cleaning schedule, and many other little daily details of everyday living. Yet somehow I neglected to take control of our social life. I kept waiting for Husband to express interest in vacations he'd like to take and outings he'd like to go on, but truthfully he's always too tired and like most husbands, when he gets home he'd rather watch tv. For a long time we were focusing our finances on Empire, so I heard the familiar refrain "we don't have money to do that". Well I finally go wise and decided that I'm taking over the reigns of our social life. Here are a few tricks I have up my sleeve that I picked up from Domestic Chic (my niece), my mother in law, my big sister, and a few of my other married sista-girlfriends:

Always remember that most husbands would rather buy electonics/cars/toys than go on a trip- This was a hard truth but a very enlightening realization. Years ago my mother in law told me, "My husband doesn't want to travel, my husband likes to buy things." That one statement suddenly explained why I could never seem to get Husband to nail down a date for Vegas, yet we had three ginormous televisions in our home.

Make the plans yourself- I have always felt like I needed Husband's buy-in before planning any trip. After all I want him to be just as excited about the destination as I am. The hard reality is that generally husbands won't be that excited about going anywhere until they get there, so you might as well go on and pick the destination. When we first went to Mexico, Husband couldn't have cared less and was only going to appease me. After we got there he loved it so much that we went back with a group of friends, and we even discussed the possibility of that being our second home. This also goes for weekend outings, day trips, and other leisure activities. I can't tell you how many street festivals and other events I had to drag Husband to only for him to later say he had a good time.

Agree on an overall budget, but don't discuss itemized costs- Chances are if your husband is not excited about going wherever, he will probably think that every hotel, every flight, and every car rental is way too expensive. On the other hand, if you can agree on an overall budget then he will have no idea how much the hotel costs per night and probably won't care so long as you remain within your budget. Remember to add about 20% to the amount you say you will need because he will likely want to negotiate you down. This way you land where you actually want to be.

When he asks where you're going, tell him "you'll see when you get there"- Unless you absolutely have to, don't bother telling him all about the destination before you at least book the hotel because he will start asking a million questions about what there is to do. I guarantee that he won't think he wants to do anything there is to do before you get there. The flip side is that you must consider the needs, wants, and interests of your husband as you plan. If you plan a trip without sharing the details and he has a great time, you won't have to expend quite as much energy twisting his arm the next time you want to go somewhere (although there may still be a little strong-arming involved).

If you're having trouble getting the the husband to commit to a trip/outting, talk to God about it- I can't minimize the importance of this because every trip I have gone on, I've had to talk to God and pray that God would talk to Husband. It's only God who has made it so that we could go on every trip we've taken.

Much of these tips have been battle-tested, but it has been some time (hence the tv-tray purgatory). This May makes ten wonderful years I have been married to Husband. For six months I heard "we don't have money for that" in response to my request for an anniversary trip that includes blue water. Well now (thanks to God's favor) we do have money for that, and I'm planning the trip!