Unto Thee I pledge my Troth & my Antlers!
You found the perfect groom, enjoyed the fairy-tale wedding and magical honeymoon and now he’s carrying you across the threshold of your new marital home …bliss! Then, all of a sudden, he puts you down and hurries back to his truck to carry his moose antlers, prized hubcap collection and, most importantly, his must-have chair into the house. This is the chair from which he has watched his favourite team win and lose and every stain—from the greasy pizza of last year’s playoffs to the beer he spilled when he stood to cheer the overtime goal—tells a story.
This could be devastating if you are a naive summer bride who, amid all the showers and dress fittings, somehow forgot that the person you are pledging to spend the rest of your life with will now be living with you. And, just like you, he brings with him certain idiosyncratic ideas of what his home should look and feel like which, in all likelihood, will have led to expectations quite different from yours … although, you’ve both probably managed to keep these inconvenient little details under wraps until now!
I’ll bet you never really sat down together and talked about what you expected from your home beyond the basics. You’ve probably been dreaming of your perfect kitchen and beautifully appointed living room with its contemporary furnishings and modern art and, up until now, he blithely went along with it because he never imagined how or why his unsightly chair and mounted animal heads could upset your plans.
Well, now that you’ve ‘I do-ed’ before witnesses and signed the binding documents, you have a couple of options here: either you can outright ban his ‘ugly’ stuff from the living room and dispatch him and his hubcap collection to the basement forthwith (bad idea) … or you can choose to compromise and re-think your priorities. Is it ‘house beautiful’, or ‘happy home’ you’re after? You can certainly have a bit of both, but living with someone whose life and luggage are part of who they are requires give and take on both fronts.
You both need to understand what ‘home’ means to the other. Catalogue the happy memories from both your pasts and acknowledge the special interests you each value. Discover what it will take to make you both feel safe, nurtured, recharged and invested. This includes not only the allocation of ‘stuff’, but also the division of labour, an understanding of expectations and priorities and, most importantly, the willingness to compromise, negotiate and, if needs be, renegotiate.
Your home will continue to evolve over time along with your relationship. The role of your domicile is to support and reflect that unique and remarkable journey. So, let it be flexible, playful, adaptable, collaborative and, most of all, a happy place to go to and to come from.
Antlers (above), courtesy Mike Bridger