Marriage And Finances: Compromise and Delayed Gratification

EOD_ConversationCompromisepicMy wife is coordinating a ladies night out to take place mid-November. The original plan was for the group of women to start at our home, have dinner at a nearby restaurant, then head downtown to an art activities place to paint and drink wine. Since there will likely be alcohol involved, there was some discussion about safe transportation.

My wife began investigating the option of renting a party bus.

After talking to several party bus companies and comparing services, options, and prices she gravitated towards one specific services. Even the cheapest service was rather expensive, but my wife was really excited about the idea of making the night really special through use of the party bus.

Did I mention she wanted to pick up the entire cost of the party bus?  My first reaction was it was just too much money. But my wife was so excited, and the success of the evening meant a lot to her.

We sat down and looked at our budget.

We worked through how much we would have shave off each week’s entertainment budget for the next month to save enough money to pay for the party bus.  Later that day, the party bus representative called my wife just to check in. We were seconds away from reading off our debit card numbers to pay for the party bus, but my wife was a little hesitant in making a decision.. She looked at me to push her in one direction or the other.

“Why don’t we think about it over the weekend,” I said. It seemed like a reasonable action, given it was late Friday afternoon.

That might be the end of the story. This could have been a blog post about how if you really want something, even if it’s not a life necessity, you just sit down and work it out with your partner, and/or your significant other. This could have been a post about compromise, and how even though I didn’t think the party bus was a good use of our funds, I recognized that it was something my wife really wanted to do and worked with her to make it happen.

But, that’s not how the story ends.

I know my wife very well. She operates in the moment. When she sees something she wants, she goes for it. It’s one of the infinite reasons why I love her so much. If not for that attribute there’s a chance that we might have never become a couple, bought our first home, or had countless other life experiences. However, there’s other times when I feel like we need to slow the decision making process down just a little bit to make absolutely sure about the direction we’re headed.  This was one of those times.

Over the weekend I casually stated the case for not getting the party bus. I expressed concern over the value of having the party bus when they wouldn’t be on it very much at all. They were essentially using it for transportation between a few locations during the evening, when normally riding on a party bus is the main attraction of the evening. I also offered alternatives for safely getting the ladies where they needed to go. She seemed to simply absorb the information, and didn’t say much.

On Monday, the party bus representative called to see what my wife had decided. Honestly, her response surprised me. She said that it was just too much money for the amount of time they would be on the bus.

She passed on the party bus service.

This IS a post about budgeting, compromise, and spending your money on something that is totally unnecessary. I was ready to tighten the budget for a month to save up the money as a special addition to my wife’s ladies night plans. Had she told the representative she wanted to book the bus, I would have been 100% on board, no pun intended.

This post is about much more than that.

This post is also about value, weighing the pros and cons of every decision, and delayed gratification. She could have lived in the moment and booked the bus on the Friday when she talked to the representative. After thinking about it for a few days maybe she would have regretted her decision. Maybe she would have realized on the night of the event that she paid a large sum of money for very little value.

In either case it would have been too late.

When was the last time you purposely saved for and paid a large amount of money for sometime completely unnecessary? Did you later regret it, or did it turn out to be everything you hoped it would be?

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14 Responses to “Marriage And Finances: Compromise and Delayed Gratification”

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  1. I think that right there shows you the value in being patient with a hefty financial decision. You have more time to weight the pros and cons of the situation. Have you thought about uber? You can get a big car and you can also split the fare. And it’s the cheapest option of you don’t want to drive yourself.

    • Travis says:

      We did think about uber, actually…..but the amount of people involved is too many. The most viable option is to have me (and our mini-van) make a couple of trips. They’re not going that far between destinations, and it’s no big deal for me since I’m not invited anyway. 🙂

  2. This is also a post about how two people can make the best decisions by communicating, supporting each other, and playing to each other’s strengths. Sounds like a great marriage, Travis! I know my wife is also more of an “in the moment” person, but she knows I like to take my time. So today when she mentioned wanting a new winter coat, she had already sat on the idea for a few days, looked up possibilities and prices, as well as promo codes, and was ready to wait a few more days while I thought about it. It may not be “completely unnecessary”, but it is a want rather than a need during a time when we have a lot of other needs going on. Either way, it will be decision we come to together and we’ll both feel good about it.

    • Travis says:

      Sounds like you and I have a lot in common, Gary. What I find is that whatever opinion we start out with, the more we think about something we tend to gravitate towards the same decision. 🙂

  3. I love it how you guys worked together and neither got over-zealous in getting their way. This is where it hits the fan so many times when it comes to marriage and compromise. Because neither of you insisted on having their way, it worked itself out perfectly. Good job, my friends!

  4. Sounds like this is why you guys make a great team, you help balance one another. Also a good idea to let a major purchase sit for a period of time too. Nicely done!

    • Travis says:

      We make a GREAT team, Brian. Letting a major purchase “sit” gives us both time to think about it…imagine though if we both changed our perspectives. LOL.

  5. My husband sounds a lot like your wife. It’s especially bad for him because his ADD is severe. So he worries that if he doesn’t buy it right away, he won’t remember. Not in a “then you really didn’t want it” way. It’s just gone from his mind. It’s gotten a little better now that he’s medicated.

    To avoid more arguments about the impulsivity, I just created fun money accounts for each of us. That way, he can buy whatever he wants up to a point. And he actually tends to let it build up and not use it. Which is a far cry from his previous wanting to buy everything in sight.

    • Travis says:

      I like the “Fun Money” allocations a lot. I think we’d end up just combining them most of the time anyway. We don’t have very many disagreements about how to spend our money, but when we do it’s usually because of a fairly large expenditure.

  6. Kalen Bruce says:

    Hey Travis,

    This is a great story of what good communication looks like in marriage. My wife and I hold each other accountable when making financial decisions like this. That’s the best part about marriage and money. Once you’re on the same page, you have twice (if not more) the decision-making power!


    • Travis says:

      Thanks, Kalen….it also helps us keep each other from making mistakes. You have to be careful about how to present your opinion if it disagrees with your significant other though……I know I wouldn’t take to kindly to just being told, “No way, that’s dumb!” Think about it, talk about it, weigh all the data and then come to a decision together!

  7. I love this. What a perfect example of what communication can be in marriage. The “not yet” response to a desire to spend is so effective. The fact that you left the decision to Vonnie was very wise. The fact that she respected your input showed the kind of humility that makes marriages work. Well done, Travis and Vonnie!

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