Silly little thing, but it's something I picked up here and I wanted to share.
My wife wanted a pair of fancy boots, but couldn't justify the expense to herself. We have an unspoken rule that an item that costs over a certain amount has to be a mutual decision, and I think that's a good plan. In this situation, I actually don't care about the cost. In the larger scheme of the family budget, it's not a big deal, so if she wants them that badly, I want her to have them. Plus, she looks hot in boots.
So I told her to splurge and get the nice thing for herself. Yet she didn't take that as a satisfactory answer. Instead, she balked.
So for the past few days she'd been milling about the house in a funk, trying to figure out how to get those boots without feeling guilty. I kept repeating myself, but she kept declining.
Provider/Beta me is mystified. What's wrong with my offer?
Today, my wife came home with a few treats she bought from a girl who was using the money to pay for summer camp. Her parents told her that if she raised half of the money on her own, they would pay the rest.
As my wife told me this story, the solution to the 'boot situation' came to me: Treat her like those parents treated their child. Give her a chore to earn the reward.
We have some pictures that needed framing and hanging. I kept putting it off because, frankly, I hate that shit. So I said to my wife, "I'll tell you what: you frame and hang those pictures, and we'll get you those boots."
She immediately left the house - chipper as a blue jay - to obtain framing supplies. She hung the pictures, then went and got her boots.
By taking away the 'equality' aspect of the financial decision and turning it into a dominant one, it gave her an 'out' - a penance of sorts - that gave her permission to get something I would have given her anyway. And rather than having her milling about for the next week feeling queasy about the purchase, judging by her mood, there are good things in store for me tonight.
Like I said, it's silly and small. But every time I apply the lessons I have learned from TRP, my life and my marriage improve.
Rock on, fellas.
EDIT: Such lively discussion! TRP and Marriage - can it work? I just wanted to address a few comments:
"Mutual Decisions" : Anyone Married with Kids knows that all resources are really in a pool, and the functioning financial phrase of most families is 'opportunity cost'. As a family unit, everything we buy uses money that could be put elsewhere. So when one of us starts thinking about a significant purchase, I think it's healthy to talk about it first. It's not about 'permission' - it is putting the decision to the test that it makes sense in the context of the bigger picture. Could I go out and buy a new car without telling her? I guess. A segment of TRP thinks that hers is only to follow. But my wife is smart and responsible, and I value her input. Furthermore, following the Captain/First Mate ideal, I believe that decisions of a certain caliber should be made in agreement rather than a vacuum - if nothing else, to share the burden of responsibility and prevent mutiny. Blue Pill? Maybe. But if it potentially affects the family, I think she should have some say. That just seems like basic respect.
"OMG boots!": No, she doesn't have 1000 pairs of shoes she never wears. Her wardrobe is remarkably spartan by American standards. Both of us are very pragmatic, and the point in this case is that it was a frivolous purchase, but she wanted them to an unusual degree. The situation is reversed when I want to buy a new computer. I think to myself, "so much money, and I could get by with what I have - where could it be put to better use?" This is the same process she was going through about the boots. In fact, I think she was expecting me to talk her off the ledge, tell her how non-pragmatic they were, and was surprised when I said to get them. The mistake, I think, was that I rebounded the decision back to her, and she couldn't pull the trigger.
"She's withholding sex!": No, no, silly. I'm saying that by taking away the responsibility of the decision, I relieved her trouble about it, which made her happy, which made her excited and enthusiastic, which worked out for me. Plus those damned pictures are up to 'boot' (har har).