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casheroo's avatar

How do you compromise with your spouse when there seems like no middle ground?

Asked by casheroo (18017 points ) October 26th, 2009

I actually have two specific scenarios that I need help with, any advice would be great

Scenario #1-
What do you do when your spouse wants to make a large purchase, and you just do not agree with it. there are many specifics to the exact situation, but too many to go into and I’d prefer to keep it broad since this situation comes up occasionally Let’s say this is something you do not need, there is nothing broken meaning you’d have to go out and get a new one…example: a tv. But the specific tv is on sale for a great price, but still would have to be put on credit.
How do you approach it without being the “bad guy”?
Also, what makes it more difficult is one spouse does not bring home any income, they take care of the child(ren), yet it would be their credit that is used since they have the best and only credit in the marriage.

Scenario #2— Naming a child!!!
What do you do when you just cannot agree on a name for a child? How can you even compromise on something like that?
One side has tried to compromise by using the name, but wanting to call the child by the middle name, but one spouse refuses and becomes irrationally angry and refuses to talk about names or even consider other names.
How is it possible to find a name and make both parents happy? It seems impossible at this point :(

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51 Answers

aphilotus's avatar

Remember to negotiate on values- frugality, long term viability, etc, not on positions- “WE WILL NEVER BUY A NEW TV EVER YOU CRAZY PERSON!”. Is such a purchase worth arguing over, or can you nickel-and-dime other purchases to cover it? Is such nickel-and-diming too much of a hassle compared to spouse-anger?

With the names, try to not look at specific names. Instead, try to build consensus on what kinds of things the name should be like (Flowery! Not Flowery! Unique! Common!), and then look for names that fit all of the criteria you have decided on together.

trailsillustrated's avatar

In my experience the person who makes the bread has the last word as far as purchases. after all, who is going to be making the payments plus interest on that cc card? as far as naming the baby, let that wait. surprisingly enough, it will sort itself out. Have a long talk with your other about why buying stuff on credit can be a bad idea. And plead with her to wait on the baby name. Babies have a weird way of naming themselves.

tinyfaery's avatar

I see a general underlying problems that need to be solved—problems communicating, not having the same goals and desires for the future, the inability to see the others point of view. Until those are solved, little issues will continue to become big problems.

aphilotus's avatar

A good example of this at the global scale:

Israel and Egypt are arguing over the Sanai Peninsula, from which egypt launched it’s 1967 war on israel, which is now full of Israeli troops, and which neither country wants to give up.

Egypt says “Sanai has always been ours, it will always be ours, not one Israeli flag shall fly on it!”

Israel says “Our national security depends on keeping the Peninsula, we will not give you an inch. Every inch closer is an inch from which you will strike at us.”

They argued over position – split it in half, all to egypt, all to israel, and got nowhere.

Finally, someone bothered to ask “Hey, Egypt, why do you want to take back Sanai”

“We have always owned this land. We’ve had it since we took it back from the romans. It is about keeping our country whole- keeping the borders we’ve had for millennia.”

They asked Israel why they wanted it. “Well, it’s not so much that we want it as territory to settle. We just don’t want Egypt to fill it back up with tanks and missiles to attack us. We want it in that we want national security.”

Seeing that the reasons for the two sides were very, very difference, a peace was struck- Israel returned the Sanai Penninsula, thus making Egypt happy, but Egypt was to treat it as a demilitarized zone, and to not send troops into it, thus making Israel happy by keeping it’s National Security intact.

It was not a compromise for either country, rather it was a synthesis.

Now do that with your marriage!

casheroo's avatar

@trailsillustrated So you truly believe the partner who stays home and “runs the family” should have no say in any purchases? No veto option at all? Even if it’s their credit card being used? actually, that’s besides the point

SpatzieLover's avatar

I don’t know I usually win ;P

Actually @casheroo My husband & I had to come to an agreement with electronics/big purchases. He knows I won’t say “no” if we can put it on a 0% card (like Best Buy) for a couple of years & pay it off well before it’s due. He’s a “geek” and always needs the latest thing. So our appliances, TV, Blu Ray, Kindle-etc are ours for little down and good payment plan.

As for the naming….we’ve only been blessed once so far. For our first, he wanted a different first name than the one we’d settled on…it had been our first choice. Then I came up with the name we’ve given our son. It’s a family name (he’s the 8th of this name from great-granpa’s, great uncles, uncles first/middle names). I suggested we put it w/my husband’s middle name (which is also one of his uncles names), which makes our son have a wonderfully “famous” name which rings well with our last name.

If we ever have a 2nd, we already have two girls names (1st & middle) picked out, and have a short list for a boy.

Usually my husband is the logical one & I am the practical one. We come together on things better than we used to…however, when there is a disagreement we can usually sort it out so we’re both pleased.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Scenario 1. I simply am the bad guy. I don’t mind being the bad guy at times. I still explain myself but sometimes that still causes hurt feelings. I just wouldn’t “allow” the purchase and would take it back if necessary. If it were minor purchase I would probably just huff and puff and let it go. But if it were to put us in financial straits I wouldn’t have qualms about being the bad guy. And who makes the most income would have nothing to do with the conversation. Now if it were a large purchase that I didn’t agree with it but it did not put us in financial issues then I’d probably just huff and puff and leave it alone. That last one seems to be an issue of “picking your battles”.

Scenario 2. Dang now that is a hard one. I don’t think there should be a compromise when it comes to names. I think it should be a consensus. If both parents don’t like all the names then they should drop the ones they do like and find another they both can like. If they have to go through a bazillion names before they find one they both like then that sucks but that’s what I would do.

casheroo's avatar

@SpatzieLover We had two different girl names picked out, and would have been fine if this second child was a girl..but it’s another boy! So, that messed up our baby naming plans haha. The first was easy to name, and this time it just seems to unnecessarily difficult. We still have plenty of time though

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo I understand. Family on both sides backed up “my” first name choice. We put it out to a vote

YARNLADY's avatar

I agree with @tinyfaery on this one. The issue is much larger than “you get your way, or I get mine”. This sounds like a time when a marriage counselor is needed to get a different perspective for both partners. Both scenarios illustrate a non-negotiable position, and for a partnership to endure – long term – this type of position does not work.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@casheroo- the person who has to pay the credit off and the interest has the most influence, I think. The person that is actually going to be stuck paying it off regardless of whose credit it is, I think, should have the last say. I mean, it’s borrowing money, and, yeah I think both should have a say, but when it’s money that you don’t actually have, not cash , yeah.

jonsblond's avatar

If it’s your credit it is his credit. creditors do not discriminate when marriage is involved If you can’t handle the payments you need to show your husband what is coming in each month and what is going out. It sucks to put every purchase on paper, but sometimes it is necessary..

Concerning the name: Does either name involve a family member? When my daughter was born my husband wanted to add Dorothy as a middle name and I really didn’t like it but his grandmother was named Dorothy and it meant a lot to him. Say goodbye to my Dawson’s Creek middle name of Joey.

Emily Dorothy really grew on me though. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

In response to @trailsillustrated , I believe that it is a mistake to believe that only the wage earner in a family is responsible for the purchases. Both partners are equal in their responsibility, and therefore have an equal say. They both contribute to the partnership according to their ability and according to the mutual benefit of the partnership.

casheroo's avatar

@YARNLADY Marriage counseling is not feasible at all.

@jonsblond Both of us want to use a family name, just very different family names and for different reasons. I feel mine has more sentimental and emotional value than his reason, so it’s hard for me to back down when it would mean a lot to my family…and his family, well I don’t even think half of them know I’m pregnant (the ones who the name would affect) so to me this is difficult, you know?

AstroChuck's avatar

By surrendering. Ultimately I’m going to lose anyway. Why fight. I just say, “Fine.” and move on.

augustlan's avatar

First scenario: Logic rules the day. If the payments are going to be a hardship, the answer should be “no”... from both of you. He may need to see proof in order to believe it will be a hardship. If it has no major impact, then why fight over it?

Second scenario: I agree with others who have said that you toss the names you currently have in mind and start over. By the time our 3rd girl was born, finding a name we both agreed on was a major challenge for us. It took us far longer to find the name for her than it had for either of the other two. We actually ended up with a completely new name, one that neither of us had ever seen or heard before. We stumbled upon it in a Walmart ad, of all places!

AstroChuck's avatar

Btw, I’m not kidding.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@AstroChuck Yes, but that’s your job as the husband~

MacBean's avatar

Second scenario: PACO.

augustlan's avatar

You should just let us pick the name! Not. :P

casheroo's avatar

@augustlan I’m scared to make a name thread on Fluther lol

augustlan's avatar

You know Allie will pop in with RUFUS. :)

jonsblond's avatar

This reminds me of my hospital stay with my first son. He was born by cesarean section, so I was “fortunate” to stay in the hospital for several days. I shared a room and my roommate would have nightly arguments with her husband about naming the child. The father insisted on naming the child “Dooley”.

I still have nightmares of that long and strange evening.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jonsblond Dooley?! I’d have peeped in and asked him what he was smoking

casheroo's avatar

@jonsblond I can’t imagine my husband ever arguing with me after watching me give birth. lol and Dooley? dear lord.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo my husband has given in to many arguments due to witnessing the birth ;)

jonsblond's avatar

@SpatzieLover & @casheroo I can laugh now, but I remember those sleepless nights. Dooley… really!?!

MacBean's avatar

@jonsblond Do you know if it was a family name, at least? Or did the guy just randomly like it?

jonsblond's avatar

@MacBean I remember it rhymed with the last name, but that’s about it. I was full of drugs from the cesarean. =)

augustlan's avatar

Dooley and it rhymed? Oh, that poor child.

YARNLADY's avatar

@casheroo Why is counseling out of the question? You may have insurance coverage, and even if one doesn’t want to go, the other partner can still profit. I have to ask, what part of “partnership” is not working for this situation?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo Does this help you in name deciding? Maybe writing out the first, middle, last name and seeing if there are any potential bullying choices to eliminate?

casheroo's avatar

@YARNLADY I’ve never found counseling together to be a viable option, it doesn’t help us. He has sat in on therapy sessions before, but we both feel nothing gets accomplished (for our relationship..I know it works for others) and I highly doubt it’s covered by my insurance, which I only have because I’m pregnant. We are usually insurance-less. also what do you mean, “what part of “partnership” is not working?” I’m confused by that.

@SpatzieLover I haven’t even done that. I guess I just assumed he’d be okay with the name I like. I need to break out the baby name books and find some options to present to him, because he has shot down the names I’ve already suggested.
Oh, and to add…he wants to name the child after himself, which is hard for me to understand even if it’s a semi family tradition.

YARNLADY's avatar

@casheroo Counseling is only as good as the “fit” between you and the counselor. I had one ‘dud’ in the four experiences I had. Counseling can be beneficial for one partner, if the other does not choose to participate.

See my private message for the interprepation of the rest of my answer.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo Uh-huh! I told my husband that was a “No”...that “tradition” wouldn’t be shared if it were a girl, now would it? Besides, on his side of the family there are now a ridiculous amount of Richard’s and variations of Richard’s because of his gramps, dad, elder bro and most of his elder bro’s boy children.
UGH! I prefer kids have their own identity.

Personally, to me it doesn’t sound like counseling is needed. This seems like “normal” married stuff.

jonsblond's avatar

sounds pretty normal to me too

fyi I named one out of three children… men! :P

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jonsblond The “it’s my vagina” argument didn’t work then, huh? ;D

For mine, he really wasn’t gonna argue with a woman that weighed as much as he did edema or hadn’t slept a wink insomnia or that had a raging migraine for a couple of trimesters in a row

augustlan's avatar

Wait, he wants to name the second son after himself? That’s kind of unusual.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@augustlan Some men would prefer to have all their kids named after themselves my BIL and George Foreman come to my mind

casheroo's avatar

@SpatzieLover lol I remember outweighing my husband. So intimidating hahaha.

@augustlan To be fair, I named our first son pretty much completely. The middle name is a name I knew my husband has always liked, and so have I..and it just flowed. But, we were not married and going through a rough time (really just me being hormonal, I get very mean while pregnant) and I think he just wanted to please me. He agreed to the name with no argument, I don’t even remember discussing it really, because of how set I was. He was to name the second child, regardless of the sex of the baby. But then my grandmother passed away and I really really want to honor her and he changed the middle name from the name he had picked out (his first name, plus my fathers first name as the middle) to help honor my grandmother…but I want to use that name as the first name….that’s where our issue lies. Also, the fact that I really don’t want to call my child by my husbands name..it really creeps me out. It’s the same name as his father, who rarely sees his first and only grandson so far, oh and is an alcoholic who destroyed his family life and caused lots of problems for my husband…so I don’t see WHY he’d want to name the child that. Ugh, now I’m looking too deep into it, right?

augustlan's avatar

Oh, man. This is getting trickier. If you gave him the right to name the 2nd baby, and he’s compromised on the middle name for you… you might have to give him this one.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo If anyone even suggested I name a baby after my alcoholic father (which was also the name of my terrible step dad) I’d make sure they understood that would never happen.

No, traumatic memories are best not made daily via a shared name IMHO.

I find “same” names sooooooooooooooooo difficult. For example, my BIL is the eldest, but was known by his parents as “Ricky” until about 10 yrs ago when his son arrived and was named Richard. Now, that our nephew has turned 9 he wants to be known as Richard….there are currently 3 living Richard’s just on my husband’s side.

Could you convince him that trauma and toxic relationships are best left behind? That his first name would be better a middle name?

knitfroggy's avatar

We didn’t have any trouble naming our daughter, we both agreed and it all worked out nicely. When I was pregnant with our son, my husband was absolutely set on naming him Augustus and calling him Gus. I wanted to name him Jack. We debated for several months and finally we agreed to name him Jackson. We call him Jack though. I personally have found in my marriage that sticking to my guns and not backing down will eventually lead to a pretty good compromise. Also I kept saying what would become Jack’s full name to my husband and it finally grew on him. He also thought that if his name was Gus people would call him Pus at school and ruin his life.

filmfann's avatar

My wife and I disagreed on buying something, and I finally told her she could do what she wanted, but I got to decide what color to paint the house next time. I then constantly reminded her of that, and how much I love the color Hot Orange. (I ended up trading that choice for something I really wanted).
On naming the kids, she named our daughter, I named our son (though I stayed away from the crazy ass names I threatened using—I really wanted to name my son Gunnar Thelonius).

ShanEnri's avatar

Here is the way I think…He works hard and spoils me rotten! I do not work outside of the home and most of my days are pretty easy! If he thinks we can afford it then I tell him to go for it! After all I feel he deserves it!

casheroo's avatar

Just a little update so far. My husband called and said “If you say yes to the tv, you can name the baby.” This still does not sit well with me.
How could getting a new tv be more important than naming a child what he wants? He says it’s because he knows he won’t win anyways, and he might as well try to get something out of it lol.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@casheroo TAKE him up on it now! ;D I would! And I’d remind him when he was trying to put in his two cents about the name how nice the game looks on the new screen ;P

ubersiren's avatar

I admittedly have not read through the thread, so forgive me if this has already been mentioned. Maybe you could tell him that he can have the tv, but you would rather just wait. It would make you more comfortable, especially with a baby on the way, if you held on to that money, at least for a while. You’re not saying “no,” you’re just saying “not now.”

The baby name thing- I got no clue. Let me know when you find out. My husband and I absolutely cannot agree either.

TheFonz_is's avatar

she looks after your kids. Give her what she wants. You married her and you have the power to put a smile on her face or give her something she really wants. When was the last time you honestly did that?

Sometimes you have to lose the battles to win the war :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I was raised in a family where the Father had the final say on everything. It was a benevolent dictatorship, and worked fine for the whole family. He ruled with love and wisdom. I always lean toward to letting others have their way, as long as it doesn’t hurt me. My mother always used to say “In 100 years, who is even going to remember any of this?”

Rangie's avatar

This is a beautiful event. It shouldn’t be a cause for arguing. The fact is, that there is going to be a little baby. The fact is, this little baby will need a name. You both need to turn down your power to low. Each take a piece of paper and write down names that you would like to call your child. All new names you haven’t talk about already. No talking, just write. When you are done, you go to the table, exchange papers and let each other ponder over the others list. Then pick out the ones you like from each others list and write them down. Continue until you have reduced the list down to a few names.Keep using the process of elimination. You might come up with a couple of names you both like. Come on guys, you are grown up enough to have child, I am sure you are grown up enough to choose a name for this happy occasion.

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