DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiancee wants a luxurious wedding and refuses to compromise on her wishes even though I’m the one who works, and we would be much better off using that money in other ways.
She argues that this is the only time in our lives when we will have such an occasion, but I can’t help but feel as though it’s frivolous to waste all of this money on something that won’t really benefit us in the long term. I’m trying to reason with her, but she seems completely dead set on having a big day, regardless of what I say.
How do I get her to realize how much more practical it would be for us to spend our money elsewhere?
Waste of Money
DEAR WASTE OF MONEY: You are dealing with a dream here, which is why it feels impossible to reason with your fiancee.
She has likely thought about what her wedding would be like since she was a little girl. Budget typically has nothing to do with dreams, which is why they can be as extravagant or fantastical as one can imagine.
Let your fiancee articulate her big dream with all the trimmings. Then let her know what budget you believe the two of you should allocate for the wedding. This is where you can establish some boundaries.
If she can get creative within a specific budget and still have many of her ideas in place, that’s wonderful. If she finds it impossible to make it all happen within the given amount, this is where your real discussions of compromise and planning for the future come in. It’s all good, but it may be difficult to navigate.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I tell my husband something that’s going on with me, he interrupts me and offers a solution on how to fix my problem.
The thing is, I’m usually not sharing a problem and rarely am I asking him for his advice. I’m just telling him about my day or about something that’s going on.
It’s even worse when I do have a problem. I can hardly get out a sentence before he has jumped in and given me a thousand solutions without even fully hearing what’s going on.
How can I get him to listen and participate in a conversation rather than always feeling the need to tell me what to do?
Learn to Listen
DEAR LEARN TO LISTEN: I will start by somewhat snidely saying, “Good luck with that.”
I think men are hard-wired to be problem solvers. Typically, their knee-jerk reaction to just about anything is to look for a solution immediately. Sometimes that can be helpful, but in day-to-day conversation with a spouse, not so much.
The good news is that you can talk to your husband and point out his patterns as well as your desires. Thank him for wanting to support you by always coming up with solutions. Point out that solutions are not usually what you seek. What you want most is a good listener who will hear what you are saying and talk to you about it.
Let him know that you will ask him directly if you need him to solve a problem for you. (Warning: This only works occasionally.)
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.