My husband and I are discussing names, and this is what has happened:
I LOVE a name. He is "meh" on it or slightly ok with it, but seeing how much I LOVE the name (for the record, it's Joel, and he knew a kid in 5th grade that was a jerk with that name - who cares, right?) he says "ok, fine, we can use it."
I feel BAD about this because hello! It's our childs name! I want us to both LOVE the name equally! But at the same time, I also want to use it!
So when does one spouse win over the other, and when is it ok to go alright, I love this name and we can't find another that we love, so let's use it and let it grow on us when the adorable baby comes along and we forget about stupid 5th graders from 25 years ago.
(Also for the record, we both agreed upon and LOVED our daughters name.)
Thanks for your help and any advice!!!!
This is so hard. I don't know, really, how two people EVER find a name they both love, even though it happens time and time again, including in my very own family.
Here's what I've noticed: some people feel more strongly about names than other people. There are people like my in-laws, who never glanced at a baby name book: one of them just said, "What about Paul? We need a boy's name, and that's a boy's name," and the other one said "Sure." Then there are people like me, making lists on the inside covers of baby name books years before a pregnancy was on the horizon.
Paul is somewhere in the middle: he's more opinionated than his parents, but he's not anywhere NEAR as invested/interested as I am. He'd rather take my list and make a checkmark next to any name that would be fine with him. This can be frustrating for me, because I want him to LOVVVVVVVVVVVVE a name and be all EXCITED about it, but I think sometimes he DOES really like a name but doesn't have my same SQUEEE feeling about it---just as I might appreciate a new computer in the house but don't get all EXCITED about it like he does. So, just as I let him have more say in computer decisions because he's the one who cares more, I try to let it be okay that he lets me have more say in baby name decisions---even though I'd prefer him to be more excited. (And it would be worse if he WERE excited about names, but about DIFFERENT names than I liked!) But it's especially difficult in this situation for you, because your husband DID love a name the first time around.
Have you heard that Voltaire quote? I've seen it translated a number of ways ("Better is the enemy of Good," "Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough," "The downfall of Good is Better," etc.), but the gist of it is that insisting on perfection can really screw things up. I think of that quote whenever parents write to me agitating because they've found lots of great names but none of them have been "The One": the obvious PERFECT candidate standing apart from all the rest, different than all the others, with both parents LOVING the name with ALL THEIR HEARTS. In this case, Joel is the Good. It would be ideal if the name were one that both you and your husband feel like you'll DIE if you can't use it (especially if that happened with your daughter's name), but that's not a goal you have to try to achieve: finding a name that one of you loves and the other one likes well enough to use it is already a big win. Changing to a name you both feel equally meh about wouldn't be an improvement.
But I am always in favor of continuing to quest: name-questing is fun! And because this quest has a natural expiration date, you don't have to worry that it will go on forever with no resolution. So if I were you I'd continue to look for a name you DO both love (you could still use Joel as the middle name), just to see if such a name exists---and have the plan be to name the baby Joel if you DON'T find such a name. Paul and I have had two babies where we had a name we were planning to use (a "one of us loves it, the other one is fine/willing" name), and then late in the pregnancy we found another name we both liked better. Not a magical name with The Star of Bethlehem hanging over it, but an improvement for both of us.
Ooo, in fact, that's a good way to think of it: as each name having a score from each parent, and the goal being to find a balance that maximizes both the individual parental scores AND the name's total score---WITHOUT insisting on a Perfect Ten. Just trying to improve the score as much as it can be improved for the particular situation. (Two of my favorite things: baby names and MATH!) With our daughter, Paul's first choice was Elizabeth, so he would have given it 10 points; his second choice was Genevieve, which he would have given 8 points. Of those two, I would have given Genevieve 8 points and Elizabeth 5 points. I liked Emily and Liana each 9 points; Paul liked each of them 3 points. So for us, the right name of those four would have been Genevieve: it gave us the best possible pair of individual scores (i.e., each of us could have gotten a higher score with a different name, but only at the significant expense of the other parent), and that's what we almost certainly would have used except this was one of the situations where late in the pregnancy we then found a name we both liked better.
I have been totally hogging the floor, and this is a subject that's opinion-variation-rich and PERFECT for discussion. Michelle and I would like to hear what the rest of you think, and how the rest of you deal with it if you and the other parent have trouble finding a name you both love.
Name update! Michelle writes:
Joel Michael was born 4/28/11, 8lbs 20 inches, and is PERFECT - we love the name and there are definitely no lingering feelings of one of us having "won."