THE GROCERY GAMES….How to Survive Market Runs with your Spouse

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Shopper beware- I’ve learned that in healthy relationships, opposition has no choice but to show its ugly head at the strangest of places. A grocery store, as innocent and unassuming as it appears is the perfect breeding ground for preventable disputes. We recently experienced another unexpected snow storm here in Baltimore, and I had to think if it was worth going to the market before we got the worst of it. Markets can be an annoying place to end up in on a Sunday evening. Ultimately, we decided to go and it wasn’t that bad, but that was not by coincidence.

My husband and I  have always gotten along well, so when we were engaged and our personalities clashed in the grocery store, I had to figure out why. I mean it really urked me, to the point where I had to ask a married friend of mine if she and her husband went grocery shopping together.  She moved her eye glasses down to the middle of her nose, looked me square in the eyes, and said “NO”. And when I thought about it, I don’t have any memories of my parents grocery shopping together. But, I do have many of my father being frustrated and impatient while waiting in the car for my mother to come out of the store. Most of the time they made shopping trips on their own, and Lord help us if my little brothers and  I accompanied them. Let’s just say a lot of times we were left in the car, or found some way to remind our parents they should have left us there.

I realized our personalities clashed when going to the market because we both had different approaches to grocery shopping. I typically enter the market with a  peaceful “Hmmm what do I need in here” kind of vibe, whereas my husband is more “get it and go”. My approach left my husband to believe that I was clueless about what I needed to get, which was not true. While he made me think that he took grocery shopping way too seriously. I can only assume this may be where my mom and dad, and many other couples also differ.

Optimistically, I tried going shopping alone but that ended up being inconvenient because we were rarely not together. We enjoyed being with each other, even at the annoying grocery store. Plus, I’m totally hooked on not carrying any shopping bags. I have carried enough bags in my life, refusing the help of my sketchy neighbors, while making a million trips back and forth to my car, almost dropping everything.  Sure, I offer to help, but my husband doesn’t like me to. Of course I insist on it because it doesn’t take much to make me feel guilty, and he gives me the lightest bag-sweetie pie.

Nevertheless, practice makes perfect. Overtime, I’ve come to not absolutely dread shopping trips and you will too. With communicating to your spouse about the preferences of both of you, eventually you will get used to each others behavior. Also, the more you visit the market, the more familiar you will become with the ins and outs of your grocery store. You will remember where the items are you typically buy, and no longer feel like you are in a never ending maze. I expect our shopping trips to continually improve, but admittedly I am not ready to add a baby or another little person just yet.  I really hate it when I see a whole family at a market or a little kid with their own shopping cart, I just want to yell, “There’s no room for that people!”  Pray for me, maybe the Grinch will grow a heart….one day.

To make your grocery shopping experience more enjoyable, try doing the following:

  • First, make a  grocery list of the items you need and go over it together, so there are no major surprises about what you are buying when you get in the grocery store.
  • Secondly, leave room for “cheating”, from the list. For example,  if cookies are not on your list but you can afford to buy cookies, and your spouse has a sweet tooth, then buy them. It’s the little things that keep a home happy and it shows them that you care about what they like.
  • Thirdly, create and commit to a budget while shopping together. One person shouldn’t be responsible or the only one knowing what the budget is. Both should feel the anxiety of trying to stick to it and the joy of sticking to it. I love “hi -fiving” my husband  if we were able to stick to the budget or telling each other “not bad” if we went over some.
  • And lastly, let go of the shopping cart. If one person really likes to push it, let them. Don’t start caring all of a sudden because they do.

I hope I have helped make your future shopping trips more enjoyable.

Remember… Stay a Busy Bee and share with a Bride to Be

Rachel Bryant Lundy