By now American baseball fans have come to the conclusion that Cliff Lee is either the most loyal guy in America or the dumbest. Apparently, there's a third option. It turns out Lee probably turned down a deal with the New York Yankees that would have earned him $50 million more than he'll get for returning to the Phillies because his wife wanted him to.
Which has to be one of the worst reasons ever -- and not just because my blood comes out pinstriped. Allowing your spouse to make your major life decisions for you can only end badly. Trust me, been there, done that, am glad he ignored me.
Marriage is about compromise, and telling your spouse they can't take a new job throws that possibility out the window. All you're doing is breeding some serious resentment for the spouse who has to spend the rest of their life wondering "what if?"
On a purely anecdotal level, I've seen it happen in reverse. Nearly nine years ago, we'd just moved back to my hometown so I could take a new job that excited me. Because of that, he was stuck in a really crappy one. It had bad pay and a spectacularly bad work environment, and the only benefit was that we saw each other a lot. That last part was good for me, and when he said he was thinking about applying for another job, I freaked.
When will we see each other? I wanted to know. How is this going to be good for our marriage? Basically I was a selfish, neurotic pain in the neck. I'd asked him to move eight hours from home, and he did it, no questions asked. The least I could do was return the favor. Fortunately, he knew he was getting a worrywart when he married me. He ignored me, applied, and nine years later he's moved up in that company and is now working in the field he always planned for.
I was expecting him to put my needs to feel safe above his own, which is a classic no no in a marriage. Hey, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? I screwed up. It takes two to tango and all that. I had no right to try to put my foot down, nor does any other spouse. You can weigh in, but you have leave the ultimate decision up to the person who is affected the most -- the person who has to do the job.
The story about Lee is still just conjecture on the part of the media; a "good source" is said to have come up with it, but that's not exactly proof positive. But there had to be something major to make an older guy -- in baseball circles -- like Lee (he's 32) walk away from the Yanks' $154 million. Maybe it was the love of the game, but it sounds like it was the love of a woman.
Have you ever told your spouse no way on something life-changing?
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