Yes, my EC and I get into fights occasionally. Shameful, but true. What is really weird is we never seem to fight about anything big or important. Not us. We rarely fight, but when we do, we find the dumbest, most trivial things imaginable, and there we make our stand. I’m sure none of you could possibly understand, but humor me.
Over the years, one of our favorite topics of contention – which we chose to re-visit on a regular basis – is best demonstrated by a simple conversation:
Me: Where do you want to eat?
She: I don’t know. You choose.
Me: I don’t want to choose. I chose last time.
She: I hate choosing. You do it.
Me: I want to go where you want to go.
She: Well, I want to go where you want to go – anyplace is fine with me. You choose.
Me: Serious? Do I have to choose ever single time???
She: Nevermind. Let’s just go home. (She escalates.)
Me: (soothing voice of reason) OK, I’m sorry. I’ll choose. Let’s eat Chinese!
She: I don’t want Chinese…
Now, I am sure we are the only couple on the planet who has ever engaged in such silliness. You would think that over 30+ years of marriage, and a lifetime of decisions, this would never happen. Sadly, I can be decisive in most areas in my life, but ask me where I want to eat on Date Night, I become a bumbling mass of indecision. My EC always has decision-phobia, so together, we are paralytic.
Part of the problem is that I want to make my EC happy, by taking her where she would like to eat. She feels the same way. So we fight about putting the other one first. Ironic?
But we don’t fight about this anymore. We found a solution – and I am going to share it with you.
This solution takes two. It is not autocratic, and leaves open the opportunity to try and please each other.
All it takes is a smartphone.
If we are going to go to dinner, I send Chrissie a text – even if we are in the same room, or car. It is a list of places that we can consider for dinner. For example:
2 things to remember: It has to start as an EVEN number, and you can load it with your favorites, her favorites, or a combination – depending on how charitable you feel.
Next step: Chrissie copies and pastes the list in a message back to me. Then she removes ONE restaurant from the list. I repeat the same process, back and forth, until the list gets winnowed down. Like this:
From 8 to 7, to eventually one:
Looks like it is Italian food this time.
Here is why it works: The person that makes the list (Usually me) has already pre-screened and determined every restaurant on the list to be somewhere they would like to eat. That way, the person that makes the final choice already knows that their honey is happy with either – so there is no wrong answer!
On the other side, the ultimate chooser gets final say, without fighting, or even talking about it. No one can get saddled with their least favorite choice, because they get filtered out soonest.
In our dynamic. I tend to make the list. It is also helpful because if money is tight, Outback and Sushi can be replaced by Rubio’s and Pizza, etc. (Or Del Taco or Wendy’s)
You might think we are silly, but we no longer argue about where to go out for dinner, and the process is kinda fun- and I see that as a win for both of us.
Come to think of it, this could work when going out with another couple as well.