Monday, August 22, 2011

What Really Matters

When we first decided that I would stay home with Reese, we knew we were going to take a major financial hit. To combat that, we made a plan to scale back our lifestyle. The plan included an agreement that we would discuss any major expenses (which had actually always been our practice but the dollar amount we used to define "major" suddenly became much smaller). During the first six months of my unemployment very few things came up, mostly because we both knew we were pretty limited in the "extras" we could afford. Then in the spring I got invited to go to Atlanta and we had our first "major purchase" conversation.

If you've been following along, you know that I did end up going because I blogged about it back in June, but I never did talk about the conversation that led to my decision to go. When I first decided to talk to Matt, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would convince him that this was a good idea and a worthwhile expense. I thought about the questions he might ask and prepared answers for everything. I wanted him to know that I wasn't just doing this on a whim. My whole argument was based on the way I would react to an equally expensive request from him. But when it came time for the conversation, he had only one question for me: "How important is it to you?"

That's it. That's all he wanted to know. He didn't ask how much it would cost. He didn't care if it fit with his definition of "necessary expenses." He only cared about how much it mattered to me. At first, I didn't know what to say. This was the one question I wasn't prepared to answer. Almost immediately, I felt guilty. If the situation was reversed, I don't think I would have thought to ask him that and if I did, it certainly wouldn't have been my only concern.

Matt always tells me that my happiness is important to him, and it's such a wonderful feeling to see his actions prove his words true. I walked away from that conversation knowing that anything that's important to me is also important to him. I felt loved, supported, and validated, and I never want to forget to reciprocate that back to him. It's been several months and a similar purchase hasn't come up for him yet, but when it does I'll be ready with the only question that really matters.

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