One of my friends says that I often use the phrase ‘I love my husband dearly but…’ and she knows there will then be some sort of mildly incredulous comment on his behaviour that I don’t want anyone to misconstrue as a formal criticism. Last time she mentioned it, as I put the phone down following a conversation about chops, or a discussion from the aisles of Wilkinson’s about which airer to buy, I thought perhaps I should analyse my reasons for being so cagey. Was it that deep down I believed in some pre-emancipation notion of a husband’s right to be a bit daft without fear of his wife’s response? Was it I that I genuinely thought my husband was doing something quite reasonable actually and it was my response to it that was in some way irrational? Did I think he is perfect, and therefore above a genuine tongue lashing? I have to say I came to the only conclusion possible – I had no idea. But basically it was my issue not his.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love my husband dearly but… at the weekend we had another discussion (there have been many, with lots of boo-hooing and stress and , well you know what I mean) about my continuing unhappiness at work, my desire to devote myself to my freelance writing and research again and my willingness to try hard with the family budget to ensure that bankruptcy might be averted – just. We had a such a positive discussion I felt a weight lift from my shoulders and with his full backing promptly handed my notice in on Monday morning. Now, gradually, as we come to Wednesday his resolve seems to be weakening. His gym membership can’t be cancelled for another year, his car (a gas guzzler that costs a heap to tax and which I can’t drive because it is too heavy) shouldn’t be sold to swap for a more economical family model because we would just be wasting money and buying something unreliable so he would rather go on the bus (said in a somewhat peevish tone.) He would love me to be able to give up work ‘until I find something I really want to do’.
What do I do? I want to discuss it sensibly, but he will just avoid the confrontation by saying ‘OK I will sell it’. Should I just say ‘Great!!’ and get him a copy of Auto Trader? Should I say ‘Oh darling if you really think it is a bad idea then don’t do it’? Or should I say nothing, and come up and write a blog about it, as I am doing at this moment and hope he decides to make some grand gesture for the sake of my mental health?
I hope no-one reading this is looking for the answer, although I am living in hope that someone out there has it. I am sure I am not the only supposedly liberated woman who supports the feminist cause and is committed to equal opportunities who when faced with the sulky face of the one they love, wavers slightly from the path to righteous indignation?
The funny thing is – in more than 20 years of marriage we have rarely made a sensible financial decision either together or separately. I have no more reason to think he is right than he has of my being level-headed and emotionally mature about the whole thing. So what now?!!