The $5,600 mistake I made and the compromise that followed

The Campground

My wife and I came from very different backgrounds. I was a city boy and she grew up in the country.  I remember her laughing at me the first time we went to her parent’s house and I was pointing out the cows to the kids.

She grew up camping, I didn’t even own a tent, nor had I ever slept in one.

I know this may sound odd to many of you, but as child we did not travel a lot.  The few times I remember traveling, we slept in those big buildings with lots of beds.  What are those places called? Oh yea, hotels.

No bugs, no bears and if it rained I still woke up dry, just a few of the benefits of not sleeping in a tent.

The first time we camped, I slept in a tent on a sleeping bag.  The second time we camped, I slept in a tent with an air mattress. The third time I camped, I slept in a tent with a cot.

Each time I was searching for something that didn’t exist in a tent, a dry, warm comfortable place to sleep.

I wanted to wake up refreshed and clean. Instead, I woke up smelling like I had lived through a five alarm fire and tried to cover it up with cologne spray – my scent of choice, Deep Woods Off.

My wife enjoyed everything that I hated about camping. For some crazy reason, I thought everything would change if we bought a camper. So about five years into our marriage, we bought a camper.

It was a nice camper, real beds, a sink, refrigerator and a porta potty.  It was not a hotel, but it was a lot better than a tent, and it would take a little longer for a bear to get to me.

Was I happy and did spending $5,600 fix the problem? Nope, I was as they say “still not a happy camper.”

The good news is the couple that purchased it from us got a great deal on a gently used camper.  By gently used, I mean we used it twice and then we realized that I still hated camping.

The kids were young and it was a big pain to load up everything you needed for the kids. You know diapers, formula, kid’s toys, the pack and play, a 32” flat panel TV, etc. Ok, maybe the TV was for me.

My point is we spent $5,600 to confirm what I knew all along; I don’t like bugs, bears, or tents, and I don’t like to camp. Sure we got some of the money back when we sold it, but not nearly as much as we spent.

If you are doing this stop! It is ok to have differences. The key to managing those differences is communication and compromise.

There are a lot of things I like that she doesn’t like and vice versa.  As I mentioned she likes to camp.  When camping, I like to complain. Turns out she is not a fan of my complaining. So we have to compromise.

The Compromise

I won’t complain about camping if she doesn’t make me go.  It’s a win win.  She can camp with the kids whenever she wants and I will stay home and enjoy a little quiet time.  If she wants me to go on the trip, we rough it in a cabin, condo, or a lake house.

What are the things in your relationship that could be solved with better communication and a simple compromise?  Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter or leave a comment below.

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