My wife is the nicest, kindest, and most caring person in the world. She deserves everything under the sun. And there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to increase her happiness.
So when we first met 9 years ago, my mission in life was clear:
“What my wife wants, my wife gets. Even if it kills me.”
Seems like a pretty good goal, right? Wrong. Here are the problems I’ve learned over the 9+ years my wife and I have been together…
- What I think my wife wants, and what she actually wants, are two very different things.
- What she deserves, and what she actually values in life are completely different also.
It’s taken me years to realize this, and I’m still learning! Let’s go through some of my past failures when trying to provide my wife a better life…
My wife deserves Lululemon outfits: (FAIL)
The year was 2010. She did yoga classes, she had yoga friends, she ate the foods that yoga people ate… It only made sense that for our first Christmas together I would buy her the fanciest Lululemon outfit I could afford.
But the very next morning after unwrapping her brand new $90 pants and $140 sweater, she left for yoga class not wearing them!
When I asked her why, she replied “Are you kidding? Those clothes are way too fancy to workout in!”. To this day, my wife has never spent over $30 for a pair of pants.
*Note to self… My wife doesn’t value expensive clothing.*
My wife deserves a massive diamond ring! (FAIL)
After dating for about three years, we started discussing plans for marriage. You would’ve thought I knew her interests fairly well at that stage, but I guess I was still clueless. Definitely clueless about jewelry.
A friend at work gave me 2 pieces of (horrible) advice on the subject of engagement rings. He told me to: 1) spend as much as I can afford on a ring because this type of thing only happens once in life, and 2) Think about my wife sitting around having lunch with her friends… you want her to have the fanciest ring to show off.
My gut told me he was wrong. And after browsing through $10-20k engagement rings I felt sick. I quickly came to my senses and asked my wife what she wanted…
ME: “Hey honey, what style of diamond ring do you like? Want to go shopping this weekend?”
WIFE: “I hate Diamonds. And I don’t really want a big ring.”
*Note to self: Los Angeles is full of hyper-consumers. Don’t fall into this trap!*
My wife deserves to never work a day in her life (FAIL)
After my personal experience with a couple of crappy jobs right out of school, I was convinced that work is the enemy in life. The quicker I could quit the rat race, the better. I thought if I could bring home the big bacon, my wife wouldn’t have to work at all. I could save her from being miserable, like me!
Well, what a massive fail. As it turns out, my wife’s work aligns with her values and passion in life. She’s a teacher. And a damn good one too! We need MORE teachers like her in this world, not LESS!
Work for her is not about money. It’s about how she wants to spend her time in life. My wife’s days are spent helping, volunteering, mentoring, and educating the youth of America. She’s making the world a better place.
Shame on me for ever thinking that she should not work. She’s made more of a difference in the world in the last couple years than I’ve done in my entire lifetime.
*Note to future self: Always support my wife in pursuing meaningful work. Encourage her to do it and do it and do it as much as she can in life.*
My wife deserves a McMansion! (FAIL)
I love real estate. Everywhere I go I can’t help but admire all the beautiful houses, apartment buildings, hillside properties and beachfront views out there. I want to give my wife the very best living experience money can buy.
As it turns out, my wife doesn’t like massive houses. She thinks they’re too big and ugly. Multiple useless rooms to clean, lots of decorations and crap needed just to fill space, expensive maintenance and repairs… Although she deserves a mansion, owning one would be a burden to her!
So what is my wife’s favorite house?… Ask her and she’ll tell you it’s “the small duplex rental property we bought 3 years ago in Texas.” She’s never even stepped foot inside it and values it more than any mcmansion out there. This little investment property spits out ~$700 in excess cash flow each month and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. “Forget buying mansions – let’s buy more of these!” my wife says.
*Note to self: Buy my wife more B-Class multi-family rental properties.*
My wife deserves her dream car! (FAIL)
ME: If you could have any car in the entire world, what would it be?
WIFE: An old beautiful Volkswagen Beetle
ME: That’s it? They’re cheap! Let’s go get one this weekend!
WIFE: No, that’s a dumb idea. I like riding my bike to work
One of the best recent gifts I got for my wife was a new set of handlebar grips for her bicycle. They were only $6 from Amazon. I would have just as happily dropped $6-10k (plus ongoing maintenance, reg, insurance) on a nice Volkswagen Beetle for her. But she wouldn’t even drive it!
*Note to self: Simple pleasures mean way more to my wife than dream cars. Future gifts should be centered around being outside, in the sun and enjoying nature.*
And she deserves much, much more…
I could go on forever about the finer things that most people want in life. My wife deserves them all, but doesn’t want them.
So what does she ultimately want? What are some things that I could provide that do align with her values? What will she treasure forever?…
My wife deserves more time with ME? (WIN!)
For most of my life I’ve been in a commission-based sales role at work. Like most sales jobs, the harder (and smarter) you work, the more you get paid. So it made sense that I would work all-day-every-day and never go on vacation.
But what I’ve come to realize is overworking is unfair to my wife. She wants to spend time with me. Quality time. She wants to travel the world with me. Take long vacations with me. Watch movies with me. Have coffee with me in the mornings.
*Note to self: Taking time off work is one of the best gifts I can give. Time is way more valuable to my wife than more income.*
My wife deserves a healthy husband? (WIN!)
Given our family history and health, there’s a good possibility that my wife will outlive me. What a horrible thing to think about! My wife deserves a husband that does everything he can to be with her for as long as possible. Not taking care of my health is so selfish!
Physical health: When my wife and I hang out, she wants me to be active, motivated, and fit enough to try new activities. To achieve this I’m working out more regularly, eating healthier foods, and drinking less.
Mental health: In the past when I was having a rough time at work, it was easy to bring that misery back home. These days I’m very conscious about my personal mental health and how it affects my wife. She deserves me to be happy, alert during our conversations, funny, and always have a good attitude.
*Note to future self: Work out, eat healthy, and take care of yourself. Grow as old as you can together. Always think positive and be fun to be around*
My wife deserves the FREEDOM that Financial Independence provides. (Ultimate WIN!)
One of the main benefits I foresee in achieving Financial Independence early in life is having more freedom. Freedom to do whatever it is that we want to do.
It’s sad to admit, but most of my decisions in life up until now have been centered around money and how much things cost. (Ironically, this is the very practice and financial diligence that helped me achieve most of our FI goals at a young age).
Anyway, moving forward, my wife and I are switching to more lifestyle based decisions and can start ignoring the financial consequences. Financial Independence allows us to be more free thinking.
Financial Independence gives my wife the freedom to:
- Do more life exploration
- Have more time for creative outlets and hobbies
- Go back to school if she wants
- Spend more time with family
- Take job positions purely for the love of them
- Lead a non-traditional and interesting life
And there’s so much more still to learn…
After all this, I’m still figuring it out. What we think we want, what we deserve, and what we’ll truly value at the end of the day, all takes time to find out. And I’m so thankful to have an awesome and patient wife to find it out with.