My husband and I didn’t live together before marriage. We decided to do things the old-fashioned way (and yes, we are Generation X and Y kids). Even though we bought our house before hand, only he moved in. I moved in, literally, the night we got married!
In the beginning things were great. It was like playing with a real life doll house. The only difference being, that this doll house cost us $300,000 and already came with a resident (my husband). This is also why moving into our house for me, felt like moving into a bachelor pad. My husband had created a nice little niche for himself, that I felt needed tweaking when I moved in. I started to tweak things here and there…add a bit of a feminine touch. For the first few months everything worked great. We were both living happily together in our house together!
Then came decision-making time. Our house being a fixer-upper required a lot of work. We had to start from scratch for a lot of things. We had to pick curtains, decide on kitchen cabinets, create a front garden, put in hardwood etc. (With a fixer-upper house, the list of To Do’s is endless!!) There were A LOT of decisions to make, and during this often cumbersome process, I came to 2 very clear realizations:
1) My husband and I have different preferences and styles for what works and what doesn’t. He was practical. I was into aesthetic appeal. For example, he wanted white towels that were easy to throw in the wash and bleach clean. I wanted colored towels that matched our bathroom wall. Who was right? Really, both of us depending on who you asked! lol
This led to realization #2……
2) I wanted to go back to our camping days. I wanted to live on a campground, in a tent for the rest of our lives. Camping (the way we do it, without electricity or water on site) required no major decision-making. Our biggest decision? Do you want to hang the wet towels on the tree branch, or put up a mini-clothes line? Sure, we had to cook our own food and find ways to amuse ourselves without technology (for a week I might add), but it was the best thing ever for our relationship. We had a chance to focus on us, and on our relationship. No material decisions or distractions to get in the way.
There’s something to be said about couples who live a simple life. I think every couple should go camping or at least adopt a simpler lifestyle. (This can be done, although it does seem impossible in today’s materialistic society, where there is always something we are told we must have!) And it would make married life so much easier! It’s amazing how most of the disagreements I have with my husband arise over trivial things (and I know I am not alone on this) like what color curtains to put up, what kind of couch to get, what size TV to buy, or even what kind of dog to get! (BTW, I know this is why people say it’s best to live together before marriage, so that these differences can be ironed out, but really these differences still persist…because there will always be stuff to get.) Our ability to work out our differences and work together will take time (see my blog post Realization #11), but I still think that all these trivial decisions (towels, dining set, curtains, TV) are not really worth it in the long run. And, if it’s possible to eliminate the need for them (like when you go camping), then why not? Then couples could focus on each other and their relationship.
Let’s face it, at the end of the day, all the material things in the world can never be a substitute for a great marriage……..Just ask people who have lost all their possessions and belongings and are only left with their significant other. On the flip side, ask those who have lost their significant other, but are still left with all their possessions. Whose shoes would you rather be in?
Bottom line, focus on what’s important. Focus on your spouse and on your relationship. The best way to do this? By keeping it simple!