Lists and Marriage

I like being prepared. I like making lists. I like to make lists of my lists. These lists usually inhabit a small chunk of space in my Google Docs, and on my iPhone and iPad.

My husband hates my lists. He thinks I am always “overprepared” and anxious that we have everything before we leave to go somewhere. He scoffs at my compulsion need to list all the clothing to pack for a weekend trip to the in-laws. He thinks itemizing a picnic is a waste of time. He prefers doing his grocery list in his head and not sharing it with me so that he can buy extra stuff and I can’t say anything.

He’s sneaky. *narrows eyes*

We battle back and forth on the list front (I always win… Yes, I do! Don’t look at me like that). I share lists on Google Docs with him. He ignores them. I write out lists and leave them lying about in case he so decides to use them. I find them buried under junk mail. I corner him at his computer, and recite the list to him while he attempts to keep playing his video game, bristling at the enforced organization on his exceptionally male, carpe diem character.

It’s kinda fun to torture him with my lists and planning in a way… I love being married.

This is one of the big ways our personalities are so different. He likes to be spontaneous, I like to be prepared. I require a list written out in order to remember what we have to do. It keeps me focused and calm. I need advanced notice of big things, like trips, shopping, things to do around the house so I can feel prepared and can plan the activity. He can plan a day before (or that morning), keep organized in his head like a hard drive, and is perfectly happy to keep it there until he needs, never worrying he will forget something.

Which he does… A lot. But that is neither here nor there…

When we were dating, he organized a surprise trip to Florida for my 30th birthday. I had no washer or dryer at home (Bathroom reno), $50 to my name before pay day, and a dad about to go in for hip surgery the week after. It caused quite a lot of anxiety and tears, sobbing that I couldn’t go because I wasn’t prepared, as we drove towards the airport.

I don’t do well with surprises like that. My boyfriend (at the time) learned something very important about me that day.

Even with my horrific response to a loving and romantic surprise, he still decided he wanted to marry me.

He’s very brave.

I do think we help each other “loosen up” on our ways of thinking. I have learned to chuck the list (when it isn’t so important, which is like, never…) and just go, and he takes more time to plan now. I have learned to secretly type out lists on my phone while we are discussing groceries. He has learned to let me secretly create the list and then use it, while adding his extra items when I’m not looking, blaming it on our son after we check out.

I have learned to sweat the little stuff less. That is a big deal for me.

I love that my husband can be so prepared without a list so I can trust he will figure it out if I can’t. I also love that he lets me be a planner, and I think he appreciates it when we have everything we need. It makes the day easier and more fun.

He still hates my lists though.

I’ll wear him down eventually.


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