We were having our weekly status meeting in the cafe when a neighbor walked in and asked what we were up to. “Status meeting?” he laughed. “Are you the board of directors?”
Well, yeah man, that is sort of the point. If not us, then who?
A conversation commenced in which we tried to determine who is the president and who is the CEO. “I’m actually the treasurer,” joked my husband, to which I replied that I was the one with formal treasurer experience.
Our neighbor, who is recently divorced, found everything about the premise of Status Meeting uproariously funny. He left chuckling, and we carried on our conversation.
The thing about a two-party marriage is that it’s not really a democracy because there are no majorities and no tie-breaking votes. Whatever a marriage is, it’s better when it’s a clearly defined something-or-other. There are so many business decisions involved - finance, property, logistics, strategic planning - that a lack of clear policy can only lead to...
Endless rehashing and relitigating?
The same issues coming up over and over again, either addressed or ignored until an inevitable crisis point.
Most couples handle these issues as they come up, because the idea of setting policy is not really a part of the pop culture understanding of love, marriage, or dating. Others handle issues the traditional way, in which they are divided out by gender role. Whether one couple’s method works or does not work can only really be determined by the decade. Are they still married, or not? Are they both happy, or not?
Are they in a perpetual detente over money, housekeeping, and childcare? Thinking that’s what it’s like for everyone, mustn’t grumble?
My husband was recently on a city bus, and he related that the driver tried to rope him into a conversation he was having with another male passenger. The driver asserted that a woman should submit to her husband. (Unsurprisingly he was single; surprisingly, he was around thirty). He wanted more male backup when the first passenger disagreed with him, and was dismayed that a second male also disagreed.
That’s the Board of Director model, I guess. One person is in charge and makes all the decisions?
Better be good decisions then!
In the business world, it can be really expensive when leadership makes poor decisions. The company can go under and thousands of people can lose their jobs. That’s an awful lot of responsibility for one individual.
Same thing with marriage. If everything depends on one person, and the other’s job is just to stand by and gnaw their fingernails, how fair is that? Sharing decisions means sharing the load and sharing the stress.
Everyone starts out single, and that’s fair in its own way. That’s when you really are the Board of Director. One person, one life, one career, one set of executive decisions. Either you’re doing just fine in that role, thank you very much, or you’re hating it and really wishing you had someone else to rely on.
Before I got married for the second time, I was doing well. I had my own little house, I managed my own portfolio, my career was on the rise, and I cooked for myself. There were a few areas where I felt like I could really use a partner:
Getting the flu
Having a wasp or hornet get in the window
It hadn’t yet occurred to me that I could hire professional movers and buy boxes. I had no idea what that sort of thing would cost. Now I know the answer to that but I still don’t know who I could hire to get stinging insects out the window or take care of me when I’m ill.
Being married is cheaper and easier than being single, if you do it right.
Two people can live for 1.4x the cost of one person. One rent, one set of utility bills, and significantly less effort for cooking and cleaning in one home instead of two. It’s a very practical arrangement, and that’s probably why people keep doing it even when they’re annoying each other and not really getting along.
Anyone who understands the dynamics of a power couple is obviously going to prefer to have a smart, hard-working partner. As a couple, you can handle things like layoffs, relocating, or one partner retraining. You’re each other’s buffer. You bring different perspectives to your strategic planning.
This is how my husband and I experience it. We started our friendship by talking about money, recognizing that we had different problems and were in different stages in life. He was fresh out of a divorce, while mine was already five years in the past. I had just graduated from college and was facing fifteen years of student loan payments, while he had already paid his off. We discovered that we could give each other pertinent and effective advice.
By the time we started dating, in some ways, we were already sort of mentally married.
I respected the way he made decisions, and I knew I could never marry anyone if I didn’t feel that way.
He respected the way I was constantly improving myself. He’d watched me get three promotions, pay off a student loan several years early, move from a rented room to a rented house, and drop five clothing sizes. I’d demonstrated what I was about. He wanted a seat on the party bus before it left the station.
We’ve been through some hard times together, some of them before we had even noticed that we felt a mutual romantic attraction. We’ve both paused several times to ponder how we would have handled the same events and choice points as bachelors, and often shuddered to think how we would have blundered or mangled the situation on our own.
Having a partner is most valuable for that additional perspective, that outer mirror that nobody can provide for themselves. Most people rely on their friends, family, or colleagues when they want to vent, and the best anyone can get out of that is the chance to blow off steam or maybe get some validation. It’s extremely unlikely that venting to anyone will lead to useful strategic advice, and that’s why friendship is not partnership. What we really need is not venting but insight, and that’s why there’s always more than one person on a Board of Directors.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies