Sunday, January 17, 2010

High Maintenance???

The question has been rolling around my household for over a week now. What makes a spouse high maintenance?

A variety of definitions have been presented...a person who needs a large amount of toys/material goods to be "happy", someone who has to always be right, a person who expects dinner to be ready on the table, children to be perfect and life to run smoothly without any necessary effort from self, and emotional high maintenance- someone who needs a lot of attention, to be coddled, cooed over and able to talk things through every step of the way. I think people are, in general, a mix of all of these. Some just have more tallies in each column earning the "high maintenance" title.

I don't necessarily think being high maintenance is always a negative thing, seeing how marriage needs to be maintained to keep the seams from gaping and people together. However, it just seems to me that there are certain people who require more energy from their spouse to keep things running smoothly.

Where has all of this come from? An innocent conversation with my where I voiced that my sweetheart was higher maintenance than some other husbands. (Let me interject here that I don't believe I am a low maintenance wife. I know I require an ear to talk through EVERYTHING and I am a very emotional person-highs are high and lows are low) I believe he took offense and this has become quite the topic. He has asked people's opinions left and right if they think he is or isn't and what their definition is. In typical Kit fashion {smile and chuckle here} he has discarded all opinions unfavorable to his opinion and touts the ones he prefers.

Something often overlooked, as has been by my husband, are the benefits of having a high(er) maintenance spouse. In having Kit as my honey, I am spoiled in certain areas. Kit loves my birthday and Christmas. He always tries to come up with the right gift regardless of cost and energy. He is definitely the one who has romance on the mind and will surprise me with little things (PB M&Ms, flowers, Mint Oreos) to simply see me smile. He LOVES me. I am blessed to have him as my spouse. If he doesn't notice the mess to help clean the house or calls me 3 or 4 times when I am out for some alone time- well, at least he didn't notice the mess and loves to hear my voice.

So...what is your opinion? Are you a high(er) maintenance person, is your spouse? What is your definition and thoughts on this?


Jill said...

I am high maintenance. I wish that I wasn't, but there it is. Tyler is pretty low maintenance, he hardly requires anything other than my happiness to make him happy. :o)

Annie said...

Right off the bat, I was thinking Alex and I are both pretty low maintenance, meaning very easy-going, not picky, and we don't need gifts and things to keep us happy. Also, like you were saying, when I think of high maintenance, I think it means it takes a lot of effort to make it work or "maintain". And I don't feel like I have to put extra effort to maintain our relationship. But...I'm wondering how emotionally high maintenance we are... maybe we SHOULD be putting in extra effort and we're not. Or am I sometimes impossible to please? The concept is interesting to think about. I think for the most part Alex and my relationship works so well because we're "low maintenance," but there are times when each of us can be a little emotionally high maintenance.

Maybe it also depends on what your expectations are too - the standard that you have to maintain. One of my favorite things I've heard about relationships is from Elder Nelson's wife. It was something like this: When asked what she thought about her husband being so busy all the time (they had 9 children and he was a doctor), she said something like, "When we first got married, I didn't have very many expectations, so I've never been disappointed." I imagine they were a pretty low maintenance couple, just going along with whatever came along.

Sorry for such a long comment... you got me going!

Alabama Apples said...

Annie- Thanks for your thoughts! I do think expectations do have a lot to do with it. I know that I have expectations in mind and when things fall short of that, I'm not pleased. I do think in part that is what makes me "higher maintenance".


I think for us it just depends on what is happening in our lives. I am more high maintenance when I am pregnant. LOL. Emotionally and physically, it's pathetic really. But Jeremy can be high maintenance at times too when stress of kids/home/work/school gets to him.

Generally, we aren't high maintenance though when it comes to what we expect of each other.

Coty said...

hmmmm i have major tally marks in all areas...especially since the birth of the fourth baby -oops!

I require attention...but so does jared. according to us both, it's how one or the other can show a sense of appreciation, and how much we value what one another contributes to the family. if i go unnoticed for scrubbing the kitchen floor and making sure the house is SPOTLESS before jared walks in the door...i get upset. boo. (probably because its so rare that the house looks like that when he gets home ;)
on the other hand, if jared has had a hard day..and i don't pick up on it (aka lay out his pj's pour him a glass of milk, bust out the oreos and rub his feet) he gets mad.
sheesh, we've got to learn to read each others thoughts...
anyway, we are definately high maintenance.
it has it's perks. since we know that about one another. we know exactly how to make eachother smile, and cool any tention between us. i really like the way we function for the most part. our high maintenance selves. but can see where we could benefit from being more low key too...hmmm. but then i guess we wouldn't be ourselves(?) or maybe we'd be a better version of us(?)
okay, i just lost a thousand brain cells ...i better quit it.

bottem line, we're high maintenance, emotionally. ;)

Coty said...

and someday, i'm gonna remember to check all my spelling before i leave a comment...

whitney said...

Kit already knows my opinion ;)

As for me and Spence...I'm definitely the higher-maintenance of the two of us. I need emotional reassurance that I'm loved and valued all. the. time., every. single. day. I'm not particularly high maintenance when it comes to material wants, for which Spencer is forever grateful b/c he's about basic as basic gets. I need more romance, more appreciation, more assurance, more attention all the way around.

Then again, do I think I'm particularly high maintenance compared to the general population?...not particularly so. I know a lot higher-maintenance spouses then me. Although I do agree I am slightly higher maintenance when it comes to reassurance of love then most people I know. Maybe it's just b/c I feel so darn lucky in getting such a steal of a deal on a husband ;)

Spencer, as I mentioned earlier, is pretty low-key. As long as I let him know that I appreciate the bringing home of the bacon and the help he provides around the house, we're good to go.

Jeff, Jenny and Pearl said...

Hmmm... I guess I've never really thought that much about all that could encompass high maintenance folks. When I first hear the word high maintenance both Jeff and I picture someone (ok a girl) who has to physically look perfect, takes hours of time getting ready for the day, has more hair gels/sprays/etc than either of us could imagine, has to have the latest fashions, and who whines when she doesn't get her way. I'm pretty sure neither of us are high maintenance although I wouldn't mind knowing I could be a "trophy" wife one of these days!

Steph said...

Hee, hee, this post totally made me giggle when I saw the title. Kit EVEN asked his Facebook friends what they thought. I guess he already knows my opinion and it's thrown by the wayside...hee, hee. ;)
I gotta say you really hit the nail on the head. There are a lot of differing opinions when it comes to the actual def. of "high maitenance". As high maitenance as I see Kit is, I think that I am equally, but in other ways. I think I'm really fortunate because my husband doesn't really mind...and as you put it, thinks it's a positive in a lot of ways. I care about how I look=my kids look nice, so does my home and myself...and I throw a few hints...ok, a little more than a few hints his direction about how he looks. I am emotionally charged=I love deeply, I am very loyal, I can be the sunshine in our home...or the rainstorm--eeek, and so on. I could go on, but for space and time, I won't...but you get the picture. I am sure I'm a real pain in the rear sometimes, but Phillip can be too. The great thing is we try (emphisis on try)to look past the faults and embrace the quirks and present them as positives. Good luck with everything...Kit's a great guy and our family wouldn't be the same w/o him.

Ashlee said...

Funny post Lib! As Kit's sister I can tell you that he is high maintenance! The fact that he made such a big deal about it is just another example! :) My Dad used to always say that we were guilty because we, "protesteth too much"! I love Kit and as you pointed out, his passion for all things (good and bad) is what makes him Kit and we love it!

As far as if I am high maintenance, I think I am in some cases and not so much in other cases. I love material things - a nice home, nice clothes for me and my family, pampering myself, a clean home. I am dissappointed when Greg can't go to lunch with me or when he doesn 't have time to talk. But on the other hand, I understand that he has an extremely busy job and that takes him away from home many weekends and weeknights (whether it is becuase he is out of town or just at the golf course). I accept that I am primarily responsible for taking care of the house, paying the bills, taking care of Michael and I look forward to the times that we can spend together when he is home. We don't go out because he travels so much and he enjoys being home when he has a chance and I am okay with that.

So to sum it up, I think we are all a little "high maintenance" and that is a good thing. If we were all low maintenance, then what could you do to make the other person happy or excited? If they don't really care, then it is hard to show them that you are trying to do something special for them. We all know people that are truly high maintenance and they are exhausting, so we need to keep ourselves in check to make sure we are not draining our personal relationships and that we are doing our part to build them up.

Well, I had a lot to say about that...sorry for the long comment.

Andrea said...

I am definitely the high maintenance person in our relationship! DEFINITELY. Mike is so even keeled. A few years ago, I was complaining about all the things that made me "not as happy as I thought I could be", and what Mike could do to make it all better (I can't believe he actually sat there and listened to all of that--although my voice probably sounded the way the adult voices sound in Charlie Brown---lol). I then asked him what he needed from me, and he said, "Nothing. I'm totally happy with you." Instead of me thinking, "Awwww, that is so sweet" I said the following,
"Well, you need to start working buddy. If I'm doing everything for you, and you are falling short for me... you better get a move on things." lol. Then, I realized it is probably b/c he doesn't have as much expectations for me, and I also realized, "how I'm more selfish than Mike." A lot of times I want it to be all about ME! Thanks for your blog, it is really helping me to self evaluate myself---maybe I can bring about a change. I'm starting to say, "Poor Mike. So glad he puts up with me."

holyoak said...

I think, if it means the effort required to get me to communicate as one expects; to try to understand what I expect, but don't say; to try to relate to what stresses me; to try to understand what makes me happy vs. makes me unhappy, I would say I am a high maintenance spouse.