Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making a House a Home

One of the hardest things I went through in the first year of marriage was moving in with my husband. Mr. Adventure had owned a house for about 6 years when I met him. Before he'd even met me my husband had enjoyed complete control over where his possessions went. He never had to think about incorporating another persons desires or things.

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I do not share everything with my husband and he does not share everything with me. But we love each other.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
Here is what my home looks like today. (and here is one year ago) And I love it. It's not perfect, and it probably never will be. But you know what? It makes me happy, and it keeps both my and my husband warm at night. So who cares if there is a bit of dust or a few unfinished projects laying around?

What about you? Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own home?

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