Al had a post where he was talking about buying another vehicle and having the discussion with his spouse about the purchase. It reminded me of my husband and my relationship where purchases are concerned.
Perhaps the biggest purchase we've ever made was land that he had been farming and when the landlord died we were given the option to buy. The stars aligned and it worked out. Consequently, we decided to build a house on a portion of that land. Although my husband went into shock when the banker said, "go ahead… do it now" (almost five years ago), he was a good sport about it all and turned the whole thing over to me. He knew I'd been designing and dreaming of a house for years and had some ideas that I felt pretty strongly about. His line was, "I just want to know how much it costs."
To those men who think I just castrated my husband, I did not. He was consulted on several points that directly effected him (the garage, the deck) and he was more than happy to give me his input – which I took into consideration and accepted into the overall design. I know him very well, too, so I didn't do this without him in mind. His habits and likes and dislikes were very much incorporated.
When it comes to the farm business, he keeps me in the loop… but I leave the decisions to him. He decides on equipment purchases, all input purchases (seed, fertilizer), and does all the marketing (for you townies, that is the selling of the grain). I don't ever "second guess" him on these decisions and, although he keeps me informed of them and appreciates my opinion, I make it perfectly clear to him that this is "not my department" and as far as I'm concerned is "not my decision".
He accepts the same attitude when it comes to technology and things around the house. He leaves it to me to select computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, most phones (he does pick his own cell phone), the decision to get the DVRs, etc. He tells me if he hates something I've bought for the house (which he's never told me) or if I've purchased something grocery-wise he likes or doesn't like. I can usually tell by how fast some snack gets inhaled whether or not I should be buying more of them or try something else. His attitude is, "not my department".
We respect each other's decision. Yes, he'll drive me crazy with his decision making process. I've referred to it as "the waffle". He generally will think of something he wants to purchase or something he wants to do… then, over the course of days, weeks, or sometimes months, he talks himself our of the idea and into the idea multiple times. I say that is the ups and downs of the waffle… then, finally, he'll "fall off the edge" and make a final decision. (More often than not it is the one he started with, but it appears to be a process he needs to go through to feel right about it.) Ironically enough, after he makes the purchase he'll search the classified ads to make sure he didn't get 'screwed'! (Is that a 'guy' thing?)
I realize this method wouldn't work for everyone. It just happens to work for us… at least it has for about 30 years…