Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Letting It Go

You may recall that I talked to you before about compromise, which is not exactly my strong suit.  Today is my three year anniversary (if you are doing the math, you can read here about our engagement, pregnancy, and wedding, in that order), and I have learned a new skill this month: letting it go.  

I love to argue.  I am always right and I like to make sure that the person I'm arguing with knows it.  It's never enough for me to know in my heart that I'm right.  I must explain to you, in great detail, all of the reasons why I'm right, cite past examples which bolster my case, and then send you three similar scenarios from various blogs that further elucidate the issue.  I'm kind of a pain in the ass.

I also love to fight.  I have always firmly believed that one of the reasons why Justin and I get along so well is that we are both able to just yell at each other, say everything we want to say, and then move on.  Some of those fights are doozies, but we get over it quickly.  I've always thought that the fighting is a valuable part of the process, it lets us blow off steam and get everything out in the open quickly so we can deal with little problems before they turn into big problems.  

A few weeks ago, I was more pissed off at Justin than I have ever been in the history of our marriage.  He was trying to buy a new car, and I was trying to stay out of the process.  I had told him repeatedly that I didn't think he needed a new car and should continue to drive the old one until it fell apart, but it really wasn't my business.  We both have our own checking accounts in addition to the joint account, which we deposit equal sums into each month to pay the bills.  We like this arrangement, and never, ever fight about money. 

I knew he was planning on going car shopping with my dad, so I called my mom to discuss my concern that dad would talk him into a more expensive car than he could afford, which could potentially disrupt our happy little financial situation.  We talked about this AT LENGTH, for like an hour, as I drove home from one of my many trips to Columbus.  It was perfectly clear that Justin needed to buy a car he could afford, and preferably one he could afford and then some.

The next morning Justin and Dad went out, and I was sitting at home with my girlies, blissfully unaware that I was about to get incredibly angry (and the girls were about to get infected with the daycare death plague, but that is neither here nor there).  They called me a few times to have me look up various options in the Consumers Report, and then Justin called asking if the joint account had enough money in it to cover his down payment.  

After hanging up, I starting thinking "Hmmmmmmm, that down payment seemed much higher than expected".  I called back, and Justin basically said to trust him.  I called back again, and learned that my father had given Justin some money to go towards the car.

Maybe this would not be a big deal to most people, but, let me tell you, this royally pissed me off. 

You may have already guessed this based on our 3 account banking situation, but I am weird about money.  I am especially weird about taking my parents' money.  My parents are wonderful people who are extremely generous and would do absolutely anything to help us out.  They do SO MUCH (TOO much) as far as the girls are concerned, and I already feel like I can't thank them enough.  There have also been times in the past, when I was younger, where I was made to feel like I'm ungrateful or like there are strings attached with them helping me out financially, so I'd just prefer (strongly) to take care of myself.  Justin KNOWS about all of these issues, but neither he or my dad felt the need to see if this arrangement was okay with me, or to at least give me a call to let me know it was happening.  

On the one hand, I wanted to be happy that my dad was treating Justin like he was just another one of the kids.  There was a long time (pre-marriage) where this was not the case, so TRUST ME, this wasn't lost on me.  And I know that Justin has never had a new car before and was getting caught up in the excitement of it all.  But I just felt SO BETRAYED by both of them.  

I felt the hurt and anger building up inside me, and you guys, I GEARED UP for a fight.  Do you do this?  I probably yelled at Justin and my dad in my head for like 2 hours after I was done crying, planning out the fight we were about to have.  

Justin came home, and I looked at him.  I could tell he was so sorry about not thinking about how it would all make me feel.  I could also tell he was super excited about his car and I was probably ruining what would otherwise be a pretty great day.  

So I just...let it go.  


It was kind of freeing, really.  I had the option to have this big crazy fight and then kiss and make up and go around for a ride in the car, or to just skip it and get right to the driving.  We drove the girls to the park and had an amazing day.  

Three years in, and I didn't really know exactly how much I love Justin until I was able to make the choice to just let it go.  


Pickles and Dimes said...

Could you come to my house and teach this skill to my husband? I feel that you and he are Fighting Twins.

Unlike you and Justin, Jason and I are polar opposites when it comes to our fighting style: I would like to talk about it - once - come to a conclusion, move on and then Never Speak of it Again. My husband, unfortunately, would like to talk about it, talk about it some more, let you think it's all hashed out, start another, completely different argument just so he can revive the dead horse to commence beating it again, bring up the same point 57 times, act like a martyr by apologizing (only the apology is a thinly veiled attempt to restart the fight) and continue on in this manner until I fantasize about murdering him and hiding his body. (Kidding!)

We also have 3 separate accounts because fights about money are the WORST. I still have bad feelings about it from my first marriage.

(GOOD FOR YOU for letting go, is what this long-winded comment was meant to convey.)

Kara said...

My husband and I also do the three bank accounts- joint account for house expenses, everything else into personal (though I get screwed because I buy groceries out of MY money every week). I almost died when he bought his new truck this year. I had a very strict budget when I got my car the year before. Little did I know that my husband had been hoarding money and had a large enough down-payment saved so that his actual monthly payments aren't as bad as they could have been. I still want to kill him sometimes, when I think of how much that stupid truck costs...

On other subjects, do you remember the song "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by the Spin Doctors? Well, the first time my Dad heard it, he said "wow, they wrote your Mother's theme song." She was in the room. They had the worst fight of their marriage over this comment. Thankfully, they're still married, however, he knows not to comment on my Mother's inability to admit she's wrong.

Swistle said...

I identify with your point of view so strongly, it was a total "WHOA" feeling at the end of the post!

Lacey said...

Ditto Swistle. I identified with every last sentence, and was totally surprised at the end. (I must have ignored the big hint in the title of the post.) I am going to work on letting it go too. Congrats to your husband on the car, and happy anniversary to you guys too!

Michelle said...

This is something I'm slowly learning to do. It is so hard. But, as much as I don't mind a good argument, I've found I just don't want to put my energy into it. Also, if I let it go, so will my husband and we can focus on better things.

Jessica said...

Wow, that's amazing. I have a very hard time letting stupid stuff go and if it's important stuff (like a car), no way. I would have lost it.

Emily said...

Good for you! That's a difficult lesson to learn, but it sounds like you did it perfectly.

Wiz said...

Oh my gosh - we have a LOT in common. John and I used to have separate accounts and it was the way to go. We never fought about money because we both had the freedom to do what we wanted with "our own" money. Now that I dont work, we have one. It was SO hard to let go of some of my independence. I also relate to the building up for a big fight. My husband never gives in. He just listens, lets me get it all out and get over it and then we move on.

Sorry I am so behind....trying to catch up!