What do you do when your happiness is at stake?
After eight years of marriage, my husband, Matt, and I moved into a Craftsman home. And we couldn’t figure out how to live in it together. Because with its open floor plan, neither of us could escape the sight of work: unopened mail, permissions slips, grocery lists, and post-it notes. Matt, more so than I, finds it difficult to relax when his eye catches the smallest hint of work to be done.
We hired an interior designer to make our space a place where Matt could relax after a stressful day. Like most couples, we lived in our kitchen and our bedroom. But little daylight filtered through our north facing windows. "I feel like I live in a cave," Matt explained. Our designer installed a round pendant to light our informal eating area, and wall sconces to give the sensation of space. But still Matt suffered from buyer's remorse. He wished for a more thoughtful home that was functional.How To Buy A House With A Family In Mind
But I was willing to make compromises to live in the city. Our home felt cozy and delightful to me, with its low ceilings and inviting colors. While I knew we’d get more for our money in the suburbs, there I’d been lonely; here, I had friends like me. Yet, I felt responsible for Matt’s unhappiness, as I’d pushed us into our new home. But could I move for him, when I knew my happiness may be at stake? Managing Differences
And then, one night, after Matt, who is a lawyer, returned home from a trial, we opened our refrigerator to find a bottle of champagne that’d been chilling for so long we couldn’t remember where we got it.
"Should we drink it?" Matt asked, giddy that he’d won.
I paused. I could hear our boys padding around upstairs, and see dishes piled in the sink. But he was home and that for me was reason enough to celebrate. What They Don't Tell You About Moving In Together
We took our bottle up to our bedroom. "This house," he grumbled, because one of the pocket doors had loosened. He shook it and gave it a thump to get it back on its track.
I watched his body tense up. "I think we need to buy a new house," I blurted out, because I didn’t want our home to ruin another moment between us.
"What?" he said, turning to face me. His forehead crinkled, showing his worry.
"This house makes you unhappy," I said. "It’s where you live. If you don’t like it, we’re done with it. Let’s move."
"But I bought it for you," he said. And it struck me that he did this for me. He’d moved out of love for me. And now I wanted to do something as powerful for him.
The champagne had gone to my head, and I felt free. Free from our home, free from worrying about our children. Free to be in love again, uninhibited. And I wanted Matt to know that freedom, too.
"I want to be out of this house by the end of the year," I said. And he held my gaze to see if I meant it. I did. And it wasn’t that I wanted a bigger home with spaces we’d never use; I wanted a home that would bring him comfort.
But could I really do it? Would you move for love?