Planning To Plan Is Planning To Fail??

Donkey Dialogue Yes, he actually said that

Communication Degeneration

Have you ever heard this quote? Failing to plan is planning to fail. I think it’s been around forever but it’s a cute little phrase that people use in time management and project management courses. There is some merit to it, but I don’t think it has a place in marriage. Let me share a very recent conversation that has been quite typical in my marriage over the past 12 years.

Background: My grandparents are getting pretty old and I figure they will be dead soon. I want to capture as many stories from them that I can before it’s too late, so I am trying to plan a trip to see them. I mentioned this idea to my wife a few days ago and she seemed supportive. Then I approached her with some information.

Donkey: Do you have a minute to talk about this trip I have been thinking about to see my grandparents? I have a few ideas I want to run by you.
Wife: I don’t understand what your problem is. Why bother asking me? I heard you talking to your brother and making plans, so go do what you want.
Donkey: Well, no plans have been made. I looked into some options and want to discuss with you. That’s why I am here. I have some information and ideas now.
Wife: You should have talked to me first about it.
Donkey: Talked about what? There would be no plans to discuss. I needed to gather information before we could talk.
Wife: No, you could have talked to me about it first.
Donkey: I am confused. Here, let me play out the conversation according to what you are proposing, but I will switch the roles. Tell me what you think.

(Donkey now plays both roles, adding a high pitched voice when speaking as the Wife)
Wife: I want to see my grandparents before they are dead. What do you think?
Donkey: I don’t know. When are you thinking?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: Would we drive or fly? What are the costs?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: Do any of your siblings want to come? Are we going to visit your grandfather first and then driving down to see your grandmother?
Wife: I don’t know, that’s why I wanted to talk to you first.
Donkey: It seems like you should do some research, make a plan, and then propose something to me. How can I make a decision with no information?
Wife: Stop asking me all these questions. It’s so confusing and complex. I just thought I could walk in and and we could figure it out. Why can’t we just decide together? Love should be able to figure this out, not the Internet or common sense. You must not love me.

(Donkey is now out of character)
Donkey: I think the point has been made. Case closed. The jury can be excused.
Wife (shuts the door): Just go do what you want.

I tip my hat to husbands everywhere and encourage you to keep planning despite how illogical it may sound to our wives. Long live logic!

  1. 9 Responses to “Planning To Plan Is Planning To Fail??”

  2. Sorry, no sympathy from me. I know what it’s like to be the last one considered when it comes to making plans. I like to be in on the planning and researching, because otherwise my opinion doesn’t seem to matter. Don’t you get it?

    By Jane on Sep 15, 2011

  3. First off I am glad the donkey and wife are alive. I was beginning to smell the stink from the rotten corpse of this once great blog.

    Second, and more germane to the discussion, is that although I agree you need some details to discuss, in this case hindsight is 20/20. You should have proposed the research project before research was done…THEN you can come back with a proposed plan. It’s kind of like seeking early phase funding for a feasibility study. Do I actually see the wife’s point here or is my “man card” getting a bit worn down?

    By karlmalone on Sep 16, 2011

  4. I agree with Jane “No sympathy here” only pity for someone who is so “clueless.” I submit you deserve to have your plan fail. In this case you knew you were dead in the water before you even approached your wife. You knew you were talking to your wife way too late in the game. It appears that deciding to blog about it afterwards is a vain attempt in making it appear to have a sense of value, sort of a “maybe someone can learn from my mistake” type of thinking. These blogs rarely do more than make you look like your namesake. Since I know you use the proper decision making process in making business plans, I wonder how it is that you are so smart in your business life and so dumb when it comes to marital affairs? When you reversed the roles in your example you made the mistake of making the planner (wife in this case) as purposely having absolutely no forethought for a proposed plan. With this gross exaggeration you made your wife look like a real idiot. Since we all know she is a whole lot smarter than you this example only made you look like the one deserving of pity. Admit it! You are the one in this instance who failed to plan properly. Whenever you PLAN to not consider your wife until late in the process it will be obvious what you have done and no role playing and reversing of roles with exaggerated examples will get you out of the doghouse. You will deserve to have your plan fail big time! You might as well just go chew on a bone!

    By MOTHER_IN_LAW on Sep 18, 2011

  5. I think the wife was overreacting in this one. I would rather he had some rough idea to bring to me than he have nothing at all. It seems like he didn’t even have any solid plans and he wanted her opinion.

    By Wifeylove on Sep 18, 2011

  6. The problem is you talked to everyone else before your wife. A little bit of research is one thing, but now if she is opposed to the trip she will look like the bad guy to you AND to everyone else.

    By Michelle on Sep 27, 2011

  7. Donkey does it again. He brings up a valid point and proves his worth. If only everyone could bring sound logic into their marriage like him the divorce rate would be -100% (the impact would be so incredible that everyone who has been divorced would remarry their old spouses. This would create possible complications due to some already being remarried, so some lucky, or unlucky people would have to take on additional spouses)

    By Jason on Oct 6, 2011

  8. Please don’t miss the fact that Donkey did talk to Wife first – he says, that she seemed supportive. He didn’t try pushing her into something she might not want by getting everyone else into it first.

    Wife failed to communicate decently. She was obviously upset with him before this, but didn’t go to him with her problem. She doesn’t explain anything to him when he asks for more information. She just keeps hitting on the one accusation, and then leaves. How is not communicating supposed to resolve a conflict?

    How ironic that she should accuse him of communication failure.

    By Jascen on Oct 7, 2011

  9. LOL That’s how it would play out too! Been there done that and I don’t even have a return ticket! GW

    By Christine on Feb 9, 2012

  10. I just found and read all of your blog post, which by the way, I also read to my husband who now thinks you are Husband-God for letting him know he is not alone. Whatever that is suppose to mean. I just want to know where you are? My husband and I need more bonding material. haha!

    By Beth on Feb 10, 2012

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