I can feel it. I can literally feel your eyes rolling right now.
Permission? PERMISSION?! I don’t need my wife’s permission. I am a MAN. I do what I want! Beer, cigars, sports! Tim Allen grunting! Monster trucks!!!
You do whatever you want? Really? Really? Because that is the very definition of a bad husband. Think about it. What makes a bad husband? Everyone reading this right now might come up with a different list, but all these bad-husband qualities boil down to one thing: a husband who does whatever he wants.
Freedom isn’t doing whatever you want. Freedom is choosing to do what you know is right—not because it’s easy or feels good or because you can.
Even if you don’t ask permission for every instance of a particular behavior (like going out with your buddies), that’s because you already asked for (and received) permission while establishing boundaries with your wife throughout your relationship. No. You haven’t been neutered. This is a good thing. It is how a healthy marriage functions.
Think of it like this: she isn’t your boss—which is where most people’s heads go when you start throwing around the word “permission.” She’s your business partner; you’re a team. And if you’re hoping to run a successful business (or marriage), there’s actually very little you should do without running it by and getting sign-off from your business partner.
So what should you run by your partner? Here are the top eleven things that you should share before you do them.
1. Making Large Purchases
If you are among the “I do what I want” crowd, do me a favor and go buy yourself a motorcycle tomorrow without telling your wife. Just drive that hog right up to the front door and rev the engine. Let me know how it goes in the comments.
My wife and I keep a budget. Each month, we each get personal money (fifty bucks in a good month). I can do whatever I want with this money. If I want to spend it (my wife would say “waste it”) on video games, I can. It’s my money. Beyond that, any purchases we make are budgeted for. If there is an unexpected expense, we discuss it together.
Peter’s Personal Policy: If it’s more than $50, I gotta get permission.
2. Making Major Life Decisions
In the same vein as large purchases, huge life decisions that affect both of you (and your kids if you have them) should always be talked about first. You can call it “agreeing” if your masculinity is threatened by the P-Word, but that’s just another way to say “ask for permission.”
If you’re changing jobs, taking a promotion, moving (across the country or down the road), or taking on a side hustle . . . you’ve absolutely got to get permission first.
If it would interfere with other plans or with time I would normally spend with my wife, I ask for permission.
Peter’s Personal Policy: If it’s something I would call my mom to tell her, then I need to ask my wife permission before doing it.
3. Making Drastic Physical Changes
Guys . . . I have gotten pre-approval to grow out my beard! Some co-workers thought this was funny, but I am excited! I haven’t had a really thick beard since I got married.
Okay. Now I might be triggering some folks. Yes. I asked permission to grow out my beard. You might say, “It’s my body. I can do what I want.”
Here’s how I approach it. If my wife were going to shave her head and get Erik Estrada’s face tattooed to her cheek, I would probably want her to run it by me first. I love Erik Estrada as much as the next well-adjusted guy who watched CHiPS reruns on Florida vacations when he was twelve, but I don’t care to see the man inked on my wife’s face (I mean . . . I see her face more than she does!).
Peter’s Personal Policy: If the change is so drastic it would make a TSA agent need a second form of ID, or if it is permanent (like a tattoo), I will ask for permission.
4. Selling Things You Both Own or Use
Just like with buying things, selling things also requires getting a nod of approval before pulling the trigger. If your wife sold your 65-inch TV while you were at work, you’d probably be a bit miffed. If it’s your old ball glove, have at it! If it’s your wedding album or car, ask for permission.
So, before you fire up that eBay account and make some extra personal spending money for the month, make sure you get expressed written consent from your wife.
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Peter’s Personal Policy: Have yard sales and go over your inventory together before selling.
5. Throwing Things Away
This one is similar to the one above. One husband’s piece of junk is another wife’s family heirloom. If your wife is a hoarder this can be especially difficult, but you still need to ask permission first.
Before that ratty old quilt takes a permanent vacation to the landfill, you might want to ask the Mrs. first.
Peter’s Personal Policy: When dejunking your house, go through everything together so there are no mistakes.
6. Lending money
“Hey, honey! How was work?”
“Great. I ran into Steve while I was out at lunch.”
“That’s nice. How’s he doing?”
“Good. Good . . . I lent him ten thousand dollars to start a children’s tattoo parlor.”
By now I hope you are realizing that there are many, many things you should be getting permission from your wife before doing. If not . . . keep reading.
At the end of the day, it comes down to respect. Honor her by honoring your wedding vows and making most of your decisions as a team.
Peter’s Personal Policy: Same as large purchases. If it’s more than $50, ask!
7. Inviting Company Over
I know you love your college buddy Gassy Joe—he can burp the National Anthem and that “pull my finger” bit never gets old—but that doesn’t mean your wife or your kids love him, too. Plus, if your wife were going to invite her mother over to stay for a day or two or twelve, you would want veto power.
Peter’s Personal Policy: If the stay is longer than one hour or involves a meal, ask for permission.
8. Volunteering Your Family for Something
You think sitting in a dunk-tank wearing a lobster costume is great fun. Your wife and kids might not. Before you gleefully volunteer their time, you need to ask permission first. It’s just common sense.
Peter’s Personal Policy: I use my family as an excuse to never feel pressured to agree to anything on the spot. “I’ve got to run that by my wife,” can be a godsend.
9. Getting a Pet
You bring home a stray alligator one time and you never live it down!
Pets are a huge responsibility. They cost money to keep fed and healthy. They make messes. They make traveling more difficult. And when you share a home with someone, it’s only a matter of time before your wife is going to have to help out with the animal in some way.
Anything that requires this much of a commitment should require permission from your wife.
Peter’s Personal Policy: Unless we’re going to eat it, if it has a heartbeat I don’t bring it home without approval.
10. Hanging Out with an Ex
In sitcoms it seems like a group of characters can all sleep with each other and still remain the best of friends. Real life doesn’t really work like this. Feelings are hard. Jealousy is ugly. Sex complicates everything. If you’re going to hang out with a past flame—no matter how extinguished you think that flame is—please run it by your wife first.
Peter’s Personal Policy: Just don’t do it. Don’t ask. Don’t text with these women. Don’t chat on Facebook. Just. Don’t.
11. Hanging Out with the Guys
You knew it was coming. Sorry, boys.
If it helps, you can remove all question marks from the equation, as well as question-sounding inflection from your voice. Instead of saying, “Can I go out with my friends, honey?” try, “I am going to hang out with my friends.” She can still say no (and you better believe, if she does, you should listen to her reasons why), but it might help make you feel better.
Peter’s Personal Policy: If it would interfere with other plans or with time I would normally spend with my wife, I ask for permission.
If you haven’t noticed a common theme here, I’ll spell it out. Whatever you would want your wife to ask you permission for before doing is a good litmus test on whether you should ask her for permission before you do it.
At the end of the day, it comes down to respect. You either respect your wife or you don’t. I hope you do. I hope that you honor her by honoring your wedding vows and making most of your decisions—big and small—together, as a team.
Be a man. Just ask for permission first.
“Life is about priorities. Love is about priorities. And a marriage thrives when it embraces the secret of priorities.”
The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage by Allen Hunt