Friday, September 21, 2012

The valuable lesson an iPhone taught me

When we were engaged, S had a work phone that he HATED, but it was free, since it was through work.  He really, really wanted an iPhone...I had one, he was jealous, and he wanted one.  When we were together, S would scroll through the apps and talk about how much he wanted one, one day.

One night, S got more serious.  He started sounding like he was really ready to make a move and go buy one.  We talked it out, and I thought I had convinced him that it would be silly to spend money on a phone when he has a free one through work.  After a few minutes, he said, "OK, we can be done talking about this...", and I felt satisfied that I had convinced him of my argument. 

Flash forward to the following day when I went to go visit him at work.  I asked him a question, and he said, "I don't know the answer to that, let me look it up on my fancy new iPhone", and whipped it off of his belt clip (another issue for another day!) to look it up.  I was shocked!  What happened?  I started arguing with him, and said, "I thought we decided you weren't going to get an iPhone, and here it is less than 12 hours later, and you got one!"  To which he responded, "No, what I SAID was that we were done TALKING about it.  I already knew I was going to get one and didn't see the point in continuing to talk about it when my mind was already made up!"   

I was furious because it was long commitment, lots of money, etc...but I learned a valuable lesson about listening more carefully and picking my fights.  Did I really care about the extra money, or was I more worried about the larger issue of us learning how to make decisions together...or was I even more worried that he was a man with his own ability to make decisions and might not always listen to what I thought was clear logic?? 

As it turns out, it was the latter - and part of what I had to learn (am still learning) is that just because he doesn't "listen" to me, doesn't make it the wrong decision and also doesn't mean that he doesn't value my opinion or love me. It also doesn't mean that we are going to go broke, that he's irresponsible with money, or that we will be always fighting about money.  I am not in charge of him, just like he's not in charge of me.  We are both adults with incomes, and up until we got together, we were both able to make completely autonomous decisions about how to spend our money - now, we were going to have to learn how to compromise, how to give and take, and how to let one another have some latitude to do the things they wanted to do with the money they earned and not let it impact our relationship negatively. 

It meant that we were two adults with different opinions, and that sometimes, it's alright to disagree. 


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