Ask Abbie: Husband, wife fight over naming baby

Published 1:45 pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

by Abbie Long

Question: My husband and I have been constantly fighting about baby names.

I really wanted this process to be fun and enjoyable, but it is neither and is actually becoming a big hassle. How can we possibly come up with a girl and boy name that we can agree on?

I just don’t see how!


Answer: “Stop, collaborate and listen.” I never thought I would be able to incorporate the wonderful wisdom of rapper Vanilla Ice into one of my answers, but I should know, never say never.

* STOP—Imagine you and your husband are in a car. You are driving and see a beautiful rosebush beside the road. If you want to enjoy the smell of the blooms, you have to stop the car, get out and take a deep breath, or else the beautiful aroma will pass you by.

This illustration represents the journey of your pregnancy. Too often we allow difficulties of communication, or relatively insignificant details to preoccupy our minds, disallowing the more beautiful aspects of life to even appear. You control your car. Put the brakes on now.

* COLLABORATE—As you come to a full stop, shift gears of baby naming to a team approach rather than you coming up with one name and your husband another.

Next, arrange a kickoff picnic for team “baby name.” Tried and true, one way to a man’s heart still remains through his stomach.

You can’t make your husband join the experience, but we as women are pretty convincing creatures when we want to be. For your picnic bring a few pictures of your honeymoon, or of any other special time you shared together, a Scrabble game, a notebook with the words “Baby Names” on the cover, and something to write with.

If you really want to steal his heart, decorate the notebook with cute baby pictures, maybe even one of your latest ultrasound.

Over your picnic, pull out the pictures of your special time and start talking about them including every single detail you can recollect. What was the name of the street that special restaurant was on? What was the name of the theater you went to? Was the sun out or was it rainy? What made you laugh during this event?

Listen for words that sound like interesting baby names. Write down every possibility for a name in the special book you bought, even if the name seems an unlikely candidate. In addition, conversation over these pictures will set an uplifting and positive tone for your brainstorming session.

Now for the next name game, separate the Scrabble tiles into consonants and vowels. Pick four tiles, two consonants and two vowels.

Keep everything equal by having your husband pick two and you pick two. Turn the tiles over and start making as many baby name combinations as possible.

Once again, write down every option even if it sounds silly. Repeat the exercise with six tiles. If you happen to get impossible picks put the tiles back and draw again. Be creative, don’t limit your thinking, you can do it.

* LISTEN—You may think the aim of this picnic is to find baby names on which you both agree. In reality, the main purpose is to work on your communication, the only true solution to your problems now and in the future.

Start today by actually listening to each other. Don’t try to think of what you are going to say when he is talking. Practice drive-thru listening, meaning repeat back to him what he said to show you actually listened.

Ask the same of him. Good communication is commitment to find a point where the 100 percent you give to him and the 100 percent he gives to you, cross in the exact middle at perfect balance and compromise.

Better communication leads to less fighting, and in turn, happier parents. Happy parents create a much healthier environment in which to raise our next generation.

The more arguing our children see and experience the more likely they are to pass the same negativity on to their children. Break the cycle today.

Keep in mind your picnic may not produce new names for your soon-to-arrive bundle of joy. Don’t lose heart. With increased communication and respect for each other’s input and feelings, mommy and daddy will breakthrough to victory with a baby name that every time spoken, written, or thought of, evokes only positive and loving emotions.

Don’t let the sounds of rushing wind and traffic overwhelm or rob a single second of joy from this brief, miraculous and special drive of your life. Make these moments precious not perish.

 Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to