When I first moved in I literally felt like I was camping. Where was my stuff going to go? Could I rearrange things? Didn't Mr. Adventure know that kitchen cabinets are not for electronics? I felt like a stranger in a home that was supposed to be partly mine. And I didn't know what to do about it.
Most couples rent an apartment or buy their first home together. Moving in to a space together gives both individuals time to settle and find a routine they like. Making a house a home is supposed to be a joint effort (at least, that's the way I thought about it). Instead, I moved in with my husband 6 years after he'd already "settled"--he long since had his routine and organized his space to suit his needs.
Fast-forward almost two years from our ceremony. I feel like Mr. Adventure and I have changed our home to reflect not just his needs and wants, but mine as well. And yes, there are still electronics in the kitchen, but I was able to rearrange the living room to include cozy literature nooks, so I'm happy. We've both given and taken and worked together. It didn't happen overnight (like I thought it would) and it certainly isn't all done, but I am really proud of our home and I no longer struggle with "camping" anymore. I don't feel like I'm going to "Brian's house" when I pull into the driveway and I think that's what matters most. It's our home.
Here are some things I learned along the way.
- I had to realize that my husband had been doing things his way for 6 years in a house where he lived all by himself. Yes, he loves me, and yes, he wants me in his life--but it is hard to break 6 years of habits and let another person into a space that had before always been yours.
- We both need our own space. Even in a small house. We both need our own space and this isn't wrong and it does not mean our marriage is falling apart. This was hard to realize. I felt bad for asking for my own space and my husband worried that I didn't want to be around him. We eventually realized we were both wrong.
- I do not share everything with my husband and he does not share everything with me. But we love each other.
- I learned that my husband is one of those people that likes to "stew" on ideas. I am not one of these people. I have an idea, I want to do. the. idea. now. In unrelated news, I'm learning patience.
- My husband is one of those people that thinks if it has a fancy name...why do I need it. But I love my food processor that he finally bought me. I'm glad my husband trusts me to know what fancy food appliances I really will use and what ones will just take up space.
- I should not take for granted that my husband will just like my rearranging his things without asking. (He was quite upset when I thought he would be kinda excited when he got home to see that I had "fixed things" one time) Strangely enough, my man wants to jointly decorate. I suppose this isn't that odd, but I certainly thought it was more of a women's thing.
What about you? Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own home?