Here’s the situation: I have a plant. Specifically, an overgrown snake plant. It’s the most hideous plant of all time.
I blame my best friend. She gave it to me on the day of our high school graduation. I’m not sure why she hates me. No, really, in her defense, at the time it was a cute little baby plant full of life and perky green leaves in a sweetly hand-painted pot.
So the plant and I set off for college. And then a different college. And then my first apartment. And then our first house. And then our second house.
And the darn thing wouldn’t die.
And the even weirder thing? I didn’t want it to die. This ugly-as-sin, constantly growing plant had become a part of my history, a part of all my days, a part of me. While roommates and jobs have come and gone, children were born, and my mother died, the plant stayed. And now I clock in at 36 years on this earth and find that I’ve lead more of my life with my stubborn plant than without it.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I like it, but I do admire the heck out of it. In one simple existence, it embodies my two favorite personality traits: integrity (it is fully and sincerely committed to being a plant) and tenacity (I have forgotten to water it for months at a time–it doesn’t die).
So the plant is here to stay, but along our journey together we’ve picked up a rather less enthusiastic addition to our company: my husband.
I can’t say that my husband is exactly Team Plant. I’d place him in more of a contractor role. You see, the plant and I need him for certain things.
While the plant hasn’t suffered from an overabundance of attention, there are certain plant-mothering tasks I take very seriously. Two, to be exact: the Biannual Moving of the Plant and the Once in a Blue Moon Plant Repotting. My husband hates both. With a passion.
Truth told? All this laborious loving on the ghastly plant is inane, I totally get it. Just don’t tell my husband this. We’re doing it anyway.
Every spring, I make him drag the plant out from basement to around the front of the house, where we stash it in the corner of the porch and ignore it until chilly nights in the fall require the same process in reverse. This might not sound like a challenging task. It is. The plant is huge and only continues to get larger, heavier and more awkward by the year. Carrying involves much grunting and under-the-breath snappiness. So, super-fun for everyone.
And then, once every few years, some sort of maternal green thumb instinct kicks in, I look at my sad little botanical disaster, and am filled with an intense panic that it must be repotted now. Suddenly it’s current pot seems way too small, ill-fitting, all wrong. I become filled with horror that I am surely stifling it’s blooming life capacity, and I know it’s time. It’s time to Repot the Plant.
The awareness that another repotting was in order just dawned last week. And my husband is plotzing. But it’s going to happen.
Now listen to me, friends, and listen closely. Your specific need may not involve intense panic over a plant pot. That’s fine. These steps to spurring your spouse into action are universally transferable to whatever your goal is, but they must be followed closely.
The Three Easy Steps to Getting Your Spouse to Do Something Stupid to Make You Happy:
1) Commit. If you aren’t convinced of your need, neither will be your spouse. Take a definitive action to seal the deal. For example, if you are planning a messy painting project, send the kids away to Grandma’s or move furniture around just enough that moving it back would be a pain. Your goal is to show that you have already started to facilitate the project, that it would make more sense to continue and that it would be at least slightly inconvenient to backtrack.
This is also an excellent time to make any purchases needed to fulfill your goal. In my case, I ordered a bigger plant pot. It may or may not have been a coincidence that it was from Walmart, the most hellacious place to attempt to return anything. By the time my husband saw the pot on our porch, it was very inconvenient for us to return it. This made it easier for him to just agree to my request. See what I did here? Buy the pot.
2.) Introduce the idea slowly. I always like to start with the “drop and run”. About a week or so before I actually want something to be done, I casually mention it in conversation to get the idea on his radar, and then I quickly move on to another topic. The key is not to give him too much time to ruminate, or worse, begin to formulate an objection.
I then throw out some “firm alluding”. Keep it casual, but begin to own the plan. This will be happening, remember? Closer to the time the magic will go down, toss your plan out again. For example, when chatting about our weekend agenda on Thursday night, I might say, “Right. So before we leave for the soccer game, we can get the plant repotted and then swing by the grocery store.” Be definitive. Claim it.
3) Never, ever let your spouse see you falter in your dedication to the cause. The pot arrived. It is ginormous. I was somewhat stymied. I considered converting it into a second bathtub for the kids. I’m not even entirely sure it will fit in our basement when we make the big seasonal move.
When I showed it to my husband, his jaw dropped and he asked, “You know this is insane, right? Like, I don’t think there is enough dirt in the world to fill it and there is no way I can carry that downstairs.”
He’s totally right, of course, but this is when you must stuff down any of your own wariness of the situation and staunchly channel your inner Lady Violet, sniffing, “I have no idea what you mean.” Flip the crazy, friends, flip the crazy. Act like they are being the ones who are off their rocker for not wanting to get on board.
And then, only then, if you play your game on point, you’ve got a shot at getting what you want.
That is, if you don’t write a blog post about your secret tricks of the trade and totally sell yourself out to your husband.
Godspeed, friends. May the plant pot, be it literal or figurative, come to fruition in your own home. As for me, I’m just off to nervously pray the darn thing fits through the door…