Raise your hand if you are a detailed planner, type A personality or have a hard time letting go of control of the details of events that you feel responsible for? *raises hand* I have a history of ruining surprises that my husband has planned, from our engagement to birthday gifts to surprise date nights or getaways. I also tend to take control and backseat plan the things that we’ve both decided that my husband will be in charge of planning, like our anniversary celebration or even just a simple weekly date night.
When I asked the Prioritized Marriage community what type of content they wanted to see and what topics they wanted me to talk about throughout the year, one of those things was how to let go of control of a situation and let your spouse plan. I was really excited about the suggestion because it’s something that I’ve been working on for the almost nine years of our relationship and continue to work on daily! If I’m being honest, part of my anxiety is the need to feel in control and stressing out when I’m left in the dark on some of the details of what’s going on. As I’ve gotten my anxiety under control, I’ve become more laid back, but I’ve still had to work to completely let go of something and allow my husband to take it on.
Whether you’re struggling with letting your spouse surprise you, plan date night every once in a while or have more say in more of the business side of your marriage like having a say in the budget or doing household things their own way, this post is for you! The tips below are things that I’ve done myself and am still working on every single day. I want to stop stealing my husband’s joy in surprising me! And I know that because I have taken over planning so many things that were originally delegated to him has deflated his motivation to even try to make those plans when I agree that I’ll be hands off and let something be his responsibility. We can work on this together!
How to Step Back and Relinquish Control to Your Spouse
Trust that they’ll get it done
One of the things that I’ve noticed about myself is that if I don’t hear about the details of a plan or see my husband working on something, I assume that he’s totally forgotten about it. When he wouldn’t tell me any of the details of our anniversary celebration one year, I started sending e-mails and social media messages with ideas of where we could stay, yummy places to eat and activities that sounded fun. I knew in my heart that he was capable of creating a really great weekend on his own but instead of trusting that he would make it happen, I pushed my own agenda.
Now, instead of dropping hints and constantly asking him if he has a plan yet, I trust and let it be. Because I have taken control so many times in the past, I think that my husband doesn’t trust himself in planning something, whether it’s a date or a big getaway. I make sure that whenever we decide as a couple that my husband is going to be in charge of planning something, I tell him how much I loved something he put together in the past and how excited I am to see what he comes up with this time. And then I step back and put the money where my mouth is and let him do this thing.
Let them surprise you
I am the queen of ruining surprises, and my husband has had to get really creative to hide plans and successfully surprise me. The truth is, I really enjoy the times that I haven’t seen something coming and been surprised in the end. In the past, the reason surprises have gotten ruined is because I’ve stumbled on something and then pestered my husband for details. If you catch wind of a surprise or know that something might be in the works for an upcoming special occasion, let it be.
This is one of the hardest things for me, but something that I’m trying to be better about. Someone might let something slip, I might see a charge to our bank account or stumble on an e-mail with details of what he’s planning, but I try to put those out of my mind and let myself enjoy the moment, while trusting that he has all of the details under control.
One of the times my husband successfully surprised me was after I graduated with my degree, right before our anniversary. He had me thinking that we were going to dinner with our parents to celebrate, but as we were driving home from the ceremony, he let me know that we were going somewhere and wouldn’t be back for two days. From that point on, I was in a panic about who was going to take care of our baby, if someone would let our dog out, what I needed to do about my church calling, etc. But he had thought of everything and he had arranged for it all and that’s helped me let the surprises happen without feeling like I need to ask any questions.
Plan the things that they will plan
There is a way that you can still feel a bit in control of something while still stepping back and letting your spouse take over! When we sit down at the end of the year, and at the beginning of every week for our marriage business meetings, we plan who will be planning things for the upcoming year/month/week. Each year we rotate who plans Valentines Day and our anniversary, and although I love to plan date night, I give my husband at least one week every month to plan what we’ll be doing. Put it on the calendar, set reminders, do what you need to do, and then step aside and again, trust that your spouse will follow through with their commitment.
Those marriage meetings are also when we like to set parameters for those events. How many days do we want to celebrate our anniversary? What does our budget look like? Are we going out for Valentines Day or staying in? Will date night this week be at home after the kids are in bed or are we hiring a babysitter and going out? Who will be responsible for arranging childcare? Set expectations for those details to help you feel a little more in control and at peace with giving that control over to your spouse.
Stick to the plan
This is my biggest downfall. Once you make a decision, stick to it! When you decide that your spouse will be in charge of the plans, let them plan. And on the same note, if you agree on a budget or something like whether you’ll be going out or staying in, don’t stray from that. Let your spouse know that you trust their abilities and their decisions and if you’re the one planning, show your spouse that you can be trusted to stick to the plan.
I truly hope that these suggestions help you and your marriage! Your spouse deserves to feel in control of things in your marriage and like an equal partner in all things. And you deserve to not be stressed and to enjoy being treated and surprised and not feel like you have to manage and be in charge of everything! Like I mentioned, this is something that I struggle with due to my anxiety and because being a planner is just part of my personality as well. Now that I’ve written all of these ideas and tips down, I’m going to be more intentional and take my own advice!