Marriage – Joint decisions are tough decisions

When I was single, if I wanted a hamster, bird or dog, I bought one, simple.  I fed the pets, took them to the vet and even dug the hole to bury them.

This week I wanted a puppy, made enquiries and built up a fair level of excitement at the idea.  I assumed that Cliff would feel the same, I was under the impression that he is a ‘dog person’.  On detecting a chilled reception to my enthusiastic quest, I asked if this was not what he wanted.  Well I was wrong, he does not want the responsibility of a puppy / dog.  Well that’s it then, no puppy.  I could say that I will share the chores but if there is any problem, I know that he will say “I did not want this”, then there will be tension.  I would get upset by his moaning and making me feel bad for the decision.  So it simply won’t be and I’m sad about it.

I mainly wanted a puppy for the children’s sake.  As a child the pets which my father bought were constant companions and givers of unconditional love.  I spent hours in the aviary talking to birds cradled in my lap.  My ducklings followed me around the garden.  I played with my guinie pigs.  The bond which I shared with my dog Dumpty goes beyond description.  When Dumpty died I told God that I hated him, then worried myself sick that I had committed the unforgivable sin.

Marriage brings two individuals together.  They then work and operate as a team (in theory).  With time couples rub off on each other and become a more unified entity.  Sometimes the give and take is not easy.  I would not trade it for being single, but it’s not always easy.  I’ve had to give up something which I really wanted.  Compromise sounds lovely but in this situation do you have a dog Monday, Wednesday and Friday or maybe half a dog?  Fact is sometimes you just don’t get what you want.

He’s not a bad person for expressing his wishes on the subject, our wishes were simply not aligned.  He’s an amazing father and wonderful husband, not wanting what I wanted is no indictment on him.   I guess you win some, lose some, the trick is to pick your battles.

The big one looms on the horizon.  We live in Boksburg due to accidental circumstance.  It’s not where either of us want to spend the rest of our lives.  This forthcoming decision is one so highly charged that we have never discussed it.  He will want to move to Cape Town because his family are there and I will want to move to Durban.  I can see us staying where we are because neither of us and to face the conflict inherent with that choice.

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  1. As a relatively newly wed, I know exactly what you are talking about. Compromise in a marriage is not always just a little give and take. It can mean all or nothing for one partner on an issue. I guess as you say “picking your battles” is the key. Thanks for a great post.

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