We knew there would be adjustments. After all, we’re over 60 years old and this is our second marriage. But we didn’t realize what it would be like to combine two households into one, small condo… and two lives.
One month before our wedding, he started moving in. There were duplicates of almost everything – the bed, the couch, TVs. The list seemed endless and included things we took for granted – dishes, throw blankets, art – things that made our homes a home before we became a cluttered *us*.
My man is a creative cook. Needless to say, when he moved in, so did his vast collection of spices. Stacked and crammed every which way, his bottles of spice barely fit on two shelves. When it comes to finding a particular spice, we hold our breath and pray. Seriously, we systemically remove bottles of spices from the cupboard until we find the wanted spice. Or, we may decide we don’t really need that spice.
The moving process
The moving preparation proved tedious, time consuming and involved some I-want-to-keep-those moments. We donated clothing, furniture and miscellaneous items to the Salvation Army. That included over 50 pairs of my shoes. Yes, shoes were my thing. And I definitely experienced some I-want-to-keep-those moments. And sometimes it was difficult to decide which item we would keep – his or mine.
In an effort to make room for my future hubby’s stuff, my broken treadmill was dismantled and hauled to its grave. I thought that would create room for a work space. But with the growing combination of our stuff, the basement now houses three overloaded garment racks; garden and craft supplies; my office… oodles of tools; and his tiny saw table. Guess what? That tiny saw table is his work area.
Well, the second bedroom offered me another chance to make room for my husband-to-be and his stuff. He’s an artist, so I planned to transform the room into a studio. The only items allowed in this room are his art things.
It was fun planning the surprise. His son took him camping for the weekend while the vendors and I got to work – new hardwood floors, window shades, installation of special lighting and fresh paint. Now the beautiful, remodeled studio is full – and I mean full – with art stuff, paintings, books, and things that don’t fit anywhere else. This includes his burgundy leather chair!
Combining possessions is one adjustment. There is another: learning how to live together peaceably. This includes compromising and keeping quiet about unimportant annoyances — like when he suggested replacing my five-foot zinnias with sunflower plants and adding shrubs in my flower bed.
More than one way to do things
And he does things differently than me. That applies to cooking and spice usage, and his overall sense of décor. He prefers a lot of pictures on each wall; I prefer a lot of white space. He added driftwood and rocks on our mantel, which is now overburdened with driftwood, rocks, flowers, candles, a sculpture and framed pictures. And he likes – actually loves – his wall-to-wall entertainment centre.
Needless to say, living together brings a lot of discoveries. I learned he starts his day listening to soft jazz, enjoys reading historical books and loves to cook. The meals he prepares are tasty, artistic creations made with an interesting connotation of spices and garnishes. Yesterday, he served parmesan crusted chicken, garnished with greenery from our garden. And he helps around the condo without me asking.
But some of his habits annoy me. Almost daily, he leaves a kitchen chair out. Occasionally, he leaves a cupboard door open, and sometimes I find his beard hairs on the counter. Now, for the most serious offense – his idea of being on time is arriving when the event starts; I like to be at least 10 minutes early. Most of these annoyances are unimportant because they are part of the package – the man, who I love to pieces. But the last one gives me opportunities to strengthen my patience.
There are plenty of reasons why I love him and our crowded life together. He’s the perfect companion – affectionate, playful, and loves to communicate and listen. His kisses make my knees weak; and we laugh a lot, which is worth more a few stray beard hairs.
Moving in together brings in an array of adjustments. It’s about joining two lives onto the same team. It’s about making room for each other – physically and emotionally. It’s about picking battles and keeping quiet about little annoyances, accepting differences, and enjoying each other. And it’s about communicating our wants and needs. Eventually – I sincerely hope – it may include moving to a place with a lot of closets and cupboards.
When you think about it, you get to share your life with a wonderful person. And while you’re making adjustments for a good, happy relationship, you’re becoming a happier and better person.
Michele Sprague is the author of the book, Single Again 101; wrote hundreds of stories for corporate magazines and newsletters; and had articles published in The Huffington Post and WomensRunning.com. Michele and her husband married in October 2015, and live in Michigan.
march 2017 INSPIRED senior living
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