My husband is incredibly tight. Tighter-than-my-high-school-jeans tight. (Not that I still have them. I’m not nearly as tight as he is.)

One Saturday morning, he crawled into bed beside where I was propped up with pillows, checking email on my laptop. He said, “Whachawanna do today?” He was all sweet and cuddly with his scrubby weekend beard. I shrugged with a smile, and said, “What do you suggest?”

He suggested a movie the kids have been begging to see. I said that sounded good, and googled the showtimes for him. Then, I did something that I wouldn’t have done early on in our marriage–something that experience has taught me.
I googled the cost of the tickets.

We don’t go to movies very often, and I figured the price might have inched up a bit beyond what Mr. High School Jeans considers reasonable. I’ve learned that it’s always best to know what you’re getting into before you walk up to a cashier with Mr. High School Jeans. 

Turns out I was right about his sticker shock. “$9.75 for one ticket? That’s outrageous!” he said with true disgust, gawking at the screen on my lap. I nodded sympathetically. As he chugged out our tickets’ exact dollar amount in his brain, I reminded him that the kids had friends coming over today. I said that we should probably think about whether we’re inviting them to come along. ‘

“Come along?” he said, rising out of his snuggley, quiescent Saturday-morning-posture. “I mean, if they came, does that mean that I pay for them, too?”

I dropped my head, laughing, and asked him, “How much do you make, again?” He gave me a sheepish grin.

“Okay, okay…” he said. “I just want to know. Will I be paying for their tickets, too?”

I told him I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t want our kids to have to say, “My dad says you can come, but only if your parents pay for your ticket.” I thought this might make him look a little… ungenerous. He laughed and said, “OK, you’re right. I’ll pay whatever I need to pay.”

That evening, we floated past the ticket counter without even the slightest scowl, sigh, or rolling of my husband’s eye. Why? Because I had had set Mr. High School Jeans up for success.

See, here’s what I’ve learned. The man truly is generous. You just have to give him opportunity to decide beforehand that he’s going to be. You can’t spring it on him. He has to add it up, and deduct the total from the stash in his wallet before you even reach the cashier. Before you even pull into the parking lot. Before you even get into the car! My job is to draw that generosity out, and I know just how to do it. 

What about you? Instead of being married to a Mr. High School Jeans, perhaps your guy spends too much. Or maybe he talks too much. Or drinks too much. Maybe he’s prone to losing his cool. Or  losing his head in stressful situations. 

Whatever his weakness, you know it. And it’s your job, as the lovely lady on his arm, to help him graciously sidestep that thing that you saw from five miles back, lying there ready to trip him up. 

I looked up movie ticket prices today. What did you do to set your guy up for success?

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