You don't need permission...

About five years ago I learned something that has changed the way I look at my life and the way I contribute as a partner in my marriage. Now, I must give the disclaimer that I do not claim to be a marriage expert in any way, but I will say (at the risk of sounding like I'm bragging) I do have an incredibly strong and healthy marriage.

Back to my learning experience. :) I was at a business retreat with the intention of gaining education to grow my photography business. An opportunity was presented to us to join a year long coaching program at the end of the retreat. But it came at a large investment. In the moment, my knee jerk thought was that there was no way that would be possible for me to attend, but a part of me knew I really needed to be there. I didn't know why, I felt like I wasn't ready for it. I felt like I didn't belong. And mostly, I felt like I wasn't worthy.

These false beliefs lead to me finding excuses - I didn't have the money to invest, I needed to ask for permission from my husband - as to why I couldn't do it. I asked a few questions about the program and began to start thinking seriously about it. The nervousness and fear I felt around this program was HUGE. I don't even have words to describe how much fear there was. It was terrifying. I fell back on the excuse that I needed permission from my husband to do it. And a very wise mentor said to me, "You don't need permission. You are an individual and are capable of and able to make your own choices. What you DO need is support. So you need to ask for support, not permission." 

You don't need permission

It's really easy to think, especially when you're married that you need your spouses permission to make big financial decisions. But permission puts all of the decision on their shoulders, and that is not how a normal healthy marriage operates. One person isn't and/or shouldn't be in charge of any decisions for the other person. Support is often mistaken for permission. Support means that you are making the decision together because the other person is agreeing to be supportive of the decision. It is your decision, but it is up to them whether or not they support you.

The most ironic thing is that when you ask for support, most of the time, your spouse doesn't want to NOT be supportive of you. That looks bad and feels even yuckier to them. They know that they should be supportive of you, so if you go to them and say, "I'd like to do this thing and I know it's going to be X,Y,Z, but I'm asking for you to support me in this decision." It's not really giving an option but to be supportive. If they aren't supportive, then you have bigger problems.

Why do I share this? Because it was literally a huge eye opener for me that despite being married, I still can and do make my own decisions in a lot of things. Never without discussion or a request for support, of course, because a marriage is a partnership, not a battle for control.

I will say... one of my biggest pet peeves in all the land (because I used to do it myself and it's kind of a trigger for me) is someone who says "I need to ask my husband if..." It seems like a harmless statement, but it's not because think about where it naturally places control. I don't believe a healthy marriage ever begins with a husband being the only decision maker. Instead say "I need to talk with my husband about...", then it becomes a discussion, not an ask for permission.

Are you facing a decision in your own life? Are you wanting to do something but feeling like you need to ask permission? Think about these things and ask yourself if you're really making the decision or if you're expecting or allowing someone else to make the decision for you.