In the 8 years of being an at-home dad and bringing in almost no money for our family I have never had a problem spending the money my wife earned.

Until this Christmas.

My wife told me that for this Christmas she wanted to get me a new TV. It would be the first flat screen HDTV we have ever owned. And she said I could have as big of a TV as I wanted.

This is a dream come true for any husband!

Except I choked.

I was debating between 2 Samsung 46″ LCD TVs. One was $800. The other, an LED TV, was $1,200.

We could afford either but the idea of spending that much of her money made me woozy.

I had never experienced this before. I’ve spent $1,000’s over the last 8 years on presents for her. I’ve treated myself to hockey tickets. I’ve used her frequent flyer miles to travel to the At-Home Dad’s Convention. I’ve even spent $600 on a Civil War musket.

None of those times did I feel a single pang of remorse for spending money my wife had earned on things I wanted.

The money she earned was our money; not hers. I had always felt just as entitled to it as she.

For some reason, though, this time it was different. Maybe it was the large amount of money on one item. Maybe it was pent up guilt over not fulfilling one bit of society’s prescribed role for me as a man. Maybe I didn’t think I deserved such a lavish gift.

Whatever it was, I agonized for weeks on the decision. I made cardboard cutouts of different TV sizes to be sure I knew which size I wanted. I spent countless late night hours reading reviews online. I talked to salespeople at several different retailers about which TV to get.

I finally decided which TV I wanted but I still couldn’t get myself to plunk down the money for it.

While I had spent the last 8 years washing dishes, folding laundry, changing diapers and rocking kids back to sleep at 2am, I hadn’t added to our bank account in any measurable way so I wondered if I earned the right to spend such a large chunk of her money, our money, on something for me.

Finally, my wife, tiring of my indecision said to me, “I don’t work as hard as I do if I can’t buy you something nice once in awhile.”

Two days later I brought home the $1,200 Samsung 46″ LED HDTV.

My wife works very hard at her job and she is very good at it. She sacrifices a lot to bring home good money for our family. She made me realize that those sacrifices were meaningless unless there were some rewards in return and, in this case, her reward was allowing me to have the TV I have craved for years.