The Newlywed Life: Learning to Compromise
The key to a happy marriage? It’s all about give-and-take.
Before I got married I kept hearing the phrase, “Marriage is all about compromises.” And I took that to mean there should be some balance between chores and time spent together. In other words, I don’t whine when he goes out (until what I consider to be) too late with the guys as long as he’s willing to help set up for our friends’ Jack ‘n Jill baby shower the following morning. I thought marriage and compromise meant setting big life goals and achieving them – together. Well, we’ve been married for awhile now, but in the last few weeks, I’ve encountered some bumps that I didn’t realize were part of the package.
As I’ve mentioned here before (see The Newlywed Life: Househunting, Alone?), mere weeks after our wedding, I threw myself headlong into the house-buying project. I added real estate websites to my daily blog roll; evenings were spent trolling the latest listings online and weekends – normally the time that newlyweds savor most – became dedicated to open-house marathons. The project seemed never-ending; my drive to properly execute Operation Amazing Home consumed pretty much all of my time and energy. But then, as the months crept by and I still hadn’t closed a deal, I started to fall further and further into a negative funk.
A few weeks ago, Husband announced that he’d had enough of the open houses, the cries of woe and the all-around negativity that Operation AH was inflicting on our limited time together. He told me that I needed to learn how to sway with the wind or I’d never be happy in life. “You get too laser-focused on major projects and when they don’t go your way, you become completely unhinged,” he said. OK, I guess my focus is laser-like, but it’s also all-consuming. If I’m house-hunting it’s house-hunting all the time. Same thing when I learned to surf; all I did was read surfing books and surfing blogs and talk about weather patterns. I become a woman obsessed. Husband is more of a ‘this just happens to be the thing that I’m doing right now’ kind of person. He’s a dude who just happens to work or be studying for the Bar exam – or someone who just happens to be getting married. Husband also isn’t much of a project manager. He’s more of an observer and reactor. I’m all about being in charge.
Even so, Husband did have a point: I do tend to get derailed when things don’t go the way I want them to. For example, when I didn’t get a second interview for a big job recently, it made me think that I’m in the wrong business and should never work again. Extreme? Yes. Ridiculous? Perhaps. But the same held true for the house hunt. Any setback made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of being a homeowner. Still, our conversation got me thinking; as much as I love it when a plan comes together, life isn’t perfect, and married life doesn’t always come wrapped in a Tiffany’s box, so one needs to make like Darwin and adapt.