How a Stereo Nearly Blew our Relationship!

I have been happily married for 13 years now.  But it was all almost ruined by a stereo before it even began.

I met my husband the day before Thanksgiving and our first date was two days later.  We attended different colleges, so we corresponded mainly through e-mail, snail mail, and telephone.  After that first date, we went out a time or two before I left school to go home for Christmas break.  Although things were going really well between us, we still really didn’t know each other.  That fact was never more evident than the day Toby brought me my Christmas gift.

The first clue that he didn’t know me very well yet was that he brought it early.  I know some kids who can’t wait until Christmas.  They sneak around trying to overhear their parents talking about their gift.  They unwrap presents and shake and measure and rattle to see if they can guess what the present is.  That was the type of kid Toby was.  I am the exact opposite.  If my parents were talking about Christmas, I would plug my ears and hum so I wouldn’t accidentally overhear.  I never wanted to pick up a gift before Christmas morning so I wouldn’t accidentally guess what it was.  I never begged to open gifts on Christmas Eve.  I want to prolong the excitement as long as I can so I never open presents early.  Never.  Yet here was my boyfriend at my dorm room with a cheesy grin and a gift he wants me to open right away.  So I do.

My second clue was the type of gift.  He bought me a 3-disc changer stereo system.  Toby loves music.  He always listens to music while he works, drives, studies, and relaxes.  He is also very ADD with his music.  He listens to a minute or two of a song and is on to the next.  Then he might stay on the next song to hear a drum intro and then he is off to another disc for snippets of that one.  Not me.  I listen to an entire CD from start to finish.  I can’t have music on when I read or talk with friends.  I like to listen so I can sing along, not just to have background noise.  Since I don’t move from CD to CD, a 3 disc changer was very unnecessary for me.

Now before you think I am a total jerk, let me assure you I didn’t say any of this to Toby.  I never let on that his gift was much more suited to him than to me (until he read this article that is).  I was a very gracious receiver.  But then I found out how much it cost.

The granddaddy of all clues that my new love and I didn’t know each other very well was that he bought me such an expensive gift.  Some girls want the biggest diamonds they can get.  They choose clothing more for the designer label than functionality.  They love to shop at the mall.  I am nothing like that.  Toby laughed at how tiny all the diamonds were in the engagement rings I said I liked.  I couldn’t name more than 3 designers if my life depended on it.  At that time, I had never spent more than $40 for any item of clothing-ever.  I hate shopping and especially at malls.  I am a saver who would rather see my savings account grow than to spend money on things that will clutter up my house.

So when I realized that this guy I had known for almost a month had spent over $300 on me for Christmas, I figured the relationship was doomed.  After he left that night I showed the stereo to my friends.  They knew immediately that I would be uncomfortable with the gift.  How could my frugal heart ever match a gift of that magnitude?  Was he trying to buy my affection with an expensive gift?  Would he always spend money so frivolously?

As these questions plagued me, I realized I needed to talk to him about the gift.  We talked that night about how I loved the stereo and the thought behind it, but I was uncomfortable about the cost and the meaning.  He assured me there was no meaning behind it besides wanting to get me something nice that we could use when we got married.  (Yes, we had talked about marriage less than one month into our relationship!)  He also assured me he wouldn’t spend that much again on gifts.  I assured him that I wasn’t like other girls he might have dated.  I liked simple and heartfelt gifts, preferably homemade.

While he still routinely spends more on me than I do on him, he has made some really amazing, heart-felt gifts that mean more to me than any expensive ones could have.  I could have let that stereo ruin an amazing relationship, but I chose instead to be upfront with him about my concerns.  You too will need to talk honestly with your fiancé or husband about things.  Don’t expect him to know exactly what you will like or be able to read your mind.  It takes years for those things to develop.  But don’t give up!

So what about you?  What has threatened your relationship?  Has anything almost ended a great connection that would have been a big mistake?

Posted via email from Diamond Marriage


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