Let Him Be the Leader Success Stories

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All He Wants For His Birthday...

Here is a question sent in by S.C.

Okay. I need HELP. DH finally told me what he wanted for his birthday (which is Thursday) -- a new golf bag. A very specific golf bag. I have been all over looking, and it is just too expensive for me; there is NO way I could buy that for him with a clear conscience...WHAT do I do??? He insists that he needs nothing else, and the only other thing he has said he needs is a garment bag for several upcoming business trips these next three months...what am I going to do???

And here is J.C.'s wonderful answer:

Buy the golf bag without a clear conscience. Then let the matter rest on his conscience.

Then, if you're the one stuck with running the family finances (FW advises against this, but it happens) you just have to go to him for help afterwards. "I just *had* to get that bag for you, but now there's such a mess. Will you fix it? Would you look over the budget and make a plan for the bills? I just don't know what to do." The entire deficit is NOT coming out of budget items that benefit you and the children. I'm sure he hadn't assumed he would get the bag at your personal sacrifice; he just didn't think it through. He can't punish you for carrying out his wishes. He's got to figure out how the bag will be paid for. He may even decide to return it. You will, of course, be extremely disappointed if that's what he must do.

That way he gets the natural consequences of requesting magic from you. He gets magic, but he has to do all the backstage work and by himself pull the strings that make you, the good fairy, fly. The budget problems will always ultimately end up in his lap. This is not the time to kiss his boos-boos and rescue him. Let him be a man and handle the situation he created.

Whatever you do, don't buy a garment bag. That's the "I Know What's Best Better Than You Do" gift. Just about the opposite of Fascinating.

But the fun doesn't stop here. S.C. replies:

Oh, lovely!! I will do just that!! Hubby does run the budget, he gives me $X every so often to cover household expenses, etc. So I will just run out of money a lot sooner this time, and when he asks me I can just tell him I wanted so badly to get him the golf bag for his birthday.

J. C. outdoes herself with a very clever answer.

Oh, if you have this set up with the money, you can pull what I call "extreme fascination." You can ask your husband for the extra money you need to buy that golf club bag today. Put whatever of your own money you really can put towards the gift, and then ask your husband for the difference. But_don't_say_why_you_need_the_money. "Sweetheart, would you give me $103?" (gruff bear response--what do you need the money for, etc.) "Oh, I *can't* tell you now. Please, I just need the $103?"

You must not say it's for his gift, you'll ruin the game. Don't promise to pay him back (out of what? Good fairies do not take out loans!) Even saying it's a surprise will be cutting it close. Remember, this is a game and a play. Of course, if his wits are about him it at all, he'll know exactly why you need money a week before his birthday, and if his wits are about him, he won't be explicit about the fact he knows why you are asking for the money. That would spoil your fun, and you can tell him so if he's so blunt. If he teases you, "This wouldn't be for a birthday gift, would it?" then lie like a child "Oh, no!" shaking your head. But if he's smart, he'll just hand some money over with a knowing smile.

When you give him the bag, be totally so delighted with yourself you can't stand it. You are so happy he has this neat thing and you are so happy you gave it to him. You can even ask stupid questions like "Is it really exactly what you wanted?" after he has it.

The gift is totally from you. It has no monetary history. If the bag was from him he would have bought it himself. If it was from both of you, you would have planned together and discussed and budgeting for it and maybe even gone to the store together as well. But he didn't want any bag, he wanted a bag from the good fairy. Everytime he golfs with that bag he'll think of it as a gift from you. If he didn't want the bag to pass through your magic fingers, he wouldn't have put you in this awkward position.

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