So, the title of this post involves picking your “battles”. That doesn’t mean that I’m advocating fighting over finances. Actually, I think that compromise is a good option for most people.
Sometimes, for some people, it can be hard to know when to just accept that the other person has somewhat different habits. This can be especially true with joint finances, which are a good thing as long the concept of shared is understood.
A friend of mine dealt with one of these situations recently, when he didn’t like something his wife did financially. Actually, it was more along lines of not liking something she did in terms of spending. This is not entirely surprising, not because of her, but because he really hates to spend money in most cases. His interest is in reaching financial freedom instead of being excessively materialistic. That, admittedly, I can respect.
The “offense” was to go out and spend $200 on a dress. Apparently, they were planning on going to some local fundraiser, and she felt that she needed a new outfit. The thing is, I think that her assessment of “needing” new clothing was met by his thought that she was simply “wanting” new clothing. Again, I have to admit – I can respect his point of view in terms of differentiating wants versus needs.
He simply didn’t understand why she just went out and spend $200 on a new dress, and it really annoyed him to the point of him asking me if he was in any way out of line. To him, this was an entirely unnecessary purchase that was really a total waste of money. Once again, I happen to believe that he’s probably right about this.
As you can tell, I agree with most of his opinions. I think he’s right.
However, that doesn’t mean he should make a big deal about it. That’s where I see it differently.
I’m sure there are things that he might do that would irritate her. It might not involve spending too much money, because – well – he doesn’t like to spend money 🙂 But there could be other things unrelated to money that annoy her. Who knows?
What I’m getting at is that she probably compromises on some things. Therefore, he might want to compromise too. Ultimately, even if we disagree with a partner, we sometimes have to go along with what she (or he) wants. It’s just the way it is. In this case, they’re doing fine financially and this $200 expense – while not small – won’t impact them in the big picture.
The bottom line is that it pays to pick our battles, and save them for a situation that’s really outrageous (which we hope doesn’t happen). In other words, we should practice the art of compromise!
My Questions for You
Do you think there are times to simply be quiet and go along with your partner’s expenses – whether you agree or not?
Do you find the ability to compromise to be very important?
How do you think he should have handled the situation?