We bought our first home before our 2nd anniversary, and as we prepare to sell that house a decade later, we’ve been reminiscing a lot about our time here. Lately we’ve been talking a lot about those early years and just how young we were. We entered in to home-ownership fully expecting there to be lessons along the way, yet never dreaming that many of those lessons would actually be about us and our marriage.
[one of our many projects in the garage – a small chalkboard frame]
I remember thinking I knew so much about my new husband on the day we took our vows, and thought for sure I’d learn the rest within the first few years of living with him. I was wrong. Marriage is a lifelong journey, throughout which we never stop growing and changing, and all the while we continue learning new things about one another. About ourselves.
They call buying a house a life-changing event and there is certainly something in you that changes when it’s your name on the mortgage. As young adults, we were familiar with working to make money so that we could eat and pay the bills, and hopefully still be in the black at the end of the month. Yet there is no way to anticipate the pressures that come with being responsible for an entire house. There’s no land-lord to call when the furnace goes out, and no one else to cover the cost when a leaky faucet needs fixing. There aren’t even established limitations on how many pictures you can hang.
It was scary, it was exciting, and more than anything we were glad to be in it together.
We quickly agreed on the little things, such as where to put the furniture and what colors to paint the walls. We even agreed on the big things, such as how to landscape the yard, and which side of the closet we each wanted. Seeing eye to eye on so many levels, as well as being equally experienced in owning a home, it was easy to believe my husband and I could fully relate to how the other felt about this brand new aspect of our lives.
Boy were we in for a surprise when it hit us just how differently we were each impacted. It was one of our first major wake-up calls to the differences in our roles as a husband and a wife.
Of course I trusted Kelly when we got married. I knew he loved me deeply and was willing to make sacrifices for my benefit. I was confident he would stand by my side no matter what. I fully believed he would take care of our family by working to provide for and protect us. Yet when it came to the unknowns in our house, understanding that my husband and I shared the same amount of experience (none), I had a difficult time letting go of my own reasoning abilities (ahem – wanting to call in the experts) and simply trusting him. Meanwhile, Kel took seriously his role as the man of the house, and what he lacked for in experience he made up for in determination. And as is typical in
young all husbands, there may have been times when he could should have asked for help along the way.
Throughout those disagreements, I learned that sometimes all a man needs is simply someone to believe in him and assure him he’s capable of figuring it out on his own. And that means waiving my right to say “I told you so” when he occasionally stumbles along the way. And Kel openly admits he learned that sometimes all I need as a women is for him to truly listen to and value my opinion. And that means understanding that my strengths being in different areas than his is not a mirror that reflects his shortcomings, but rather a picture of the balance we bring one another.
There are times I wish I could look back on our time at 1644 and say we’ve had it all figured out from the beginning. That we handled the added strains of home-ownership on our relationship with ease. Yet it was those very hardships that made clear our opportunities for growth and without having to work through the conflicts, we may have missed out on some really valuable lessons.
. . .
This house is slowly feeling less like ours. We’ve moved out the couches, and rearranged a lot of the remaining furniture in preparation to “stage” the home. (If you aren’t familiar with staging, watch HGTV for a few moments and you’ll know what I’m referring to.) We’ve also done quite a bit of packing. Space Bags are our new best friend! Although it isn’t quite ready to list just yet, we’ve really come a long ways in the past two weeks!
As we begin taking steps to move, we are doing some reminiscing and appreciating the life that’s been lived at 1644. Find more from our first house here.