6 minute read
One of the things that I realized when building our home, is how similar it is in the building of a relationship. It got me to thinking, as couples, how much time and effort do we actually spend planning and understanding the purpose of our marriage?
In the Early Phase of Marriage
At the blueprint stage of your marriage, you’ve successfully made it through the dating, wedding and honeymoon phase. In the following years, just like with your home, you have the opportunity to make renovations and upgrades, allowing for growth and renewed strength to an already established foundation. You get to plan for, and choose a layout that best suits your lifestyle and the needs of a potentially growing family.
The comparison ends here though, as let’s be honest, how many of us put as much planning into our marriage as we do when planning to finish the basement, or renovate the bathrooms? A lot of time and effort goes into this. Deep conversation, and allocated time is invested when making the decision to work on the home for two reasons:
The financial investment you’re about to make.
The roof over your head is your fixed space of security, and you’re about to change the essence of it.
Your home houses the dynamics of your family, and acts as a tangible representation of who you are. It’s clear to me now, that the manStar and I did not put as much energy or time planning the purpose and future of our marriage as we did in planning the purpose and future of our home. It just never occured to me that we needed to plan our marriage in the same way. We had our wedding, and I guess from there, the expectation was to just… make it work. Can you imagine investing half a million dollars into your home, and showing up 18 months later to see ‘how it’s going? Me either, and yet that’s kinda how we’ve made our marriage work. Fortunately, we haven’t had any Oz like tornadoes storm through our path.
“It’s clear to me now, that the manStar and I did not put as much energy or time planning the purpose and future of our marriage as we did in planning the purpose and future of our home.”
Our Blueprint in Three Phases
I - The Baby Phase
As a couple, we invested our time in three main areas with respect to building our home. The unequivocal, non-negotiable decisions were determined by us as parents. From life insurance to the walk-in closet in our daughter’s bedroom, we didn’t even need to communicate that the baby’s needs were to be met first and foremost. And when you have a child that needs stability and time to transition, you’ll know how important it is to plan for major change with the least amount of disruption.
We managed to minimize the impact of a massive change by establishing the perfect location. Uprooting our daughter’s comfort wasn’t an option. By the end of grade 4, we’d moved our sweet girl across the country four times. By the age of 10, she’d had 10 different bedrooms. That last move back to Alberta, we knew we’d pushed our very structured child to the very edge of what her mental health was capable of processing. When moving this time around, we knew uprooting her again needed to be a thoughtful process with respect to, again, her mental health, social connections and continued academic success. We moved four blocks down, insert shrug.
II - His and Hers ~ The Phase of Independence
HIS - Once we knew the needs of our daughter were met, we really focused on what we wanted and needed, as individuals. The manStar NEEDED his cubbies. Ultimately, it has served us well as a family, but let me tell you, when he saw these cubbies in one of the show homes… cue Metallica... nothing else mattered. After years of being together, there are things you learn to do; picking and choosing your battles over behaviours that won’t change is something we’ve excelled at.
One such behaviour is my ability draw to clutter. I have stuff. I’d beg to argue that my ‘stuff’ has decreased over the years (especially since watching Hoarders), but still, I have stuff. Now how I manage it, is based on my mental health. When I’m feeling at a loss, or like I have little control over my current situation, I have clutter. His intention, I believe, was to provide a space that would help all of us manage and maintain our stuff (the miniStarlite has the ability to acquire stuff, too). I maintained for approximately 3 weeks, and very quickly slid into my unable-to-control-my-stuff self after my Dad suffered a heart attack about four days after we moved in.
HERS - For me, a big brilliant soaker tub was absolutely number one on my priority list. Since my first apartment, at the age of 19ish, while working at Thunder Bath and Kitchen, I was obsessed with the big tubs that I had to polish to a sparkle using Gel Gloss. I could totally picture myself having a bath with candles and a glass of wine and not have to deal with a dirty shower curtain or be required to sandblast out the grime of everyday use. In my mind, I had equated a big brilliant tub to success. Here I am, 22 years later, and we have a master bath with a soaker tub that is my absolute personal piece of heaven.
“We have to allow room for, and accept mistakes,
so that when it’s time for upgrades and renewals,
our marital blueprint will only require surface changes,
and not a complete rebuild.”
In our marriage, it is extremely important that the manStar and I can come to the ‘blueprint’ as individuals allowing space for independance. Within reason, permission to do you, goes without saying in our relationship. In these moments, and we’re still working on this, it’s important that we communicate our disappointments, and allow room for growth and potential revisions down the road. We have to allow room for, and accept mistakes, so that when it’s time for upgrades and renewals, our marital blueprint will only require surface changes, and not a complete rebuild.
III - It’s All For You, Phase
We had made the decision to add a few extras in the basement with the intent of building a suite for my parents. In the end, and at the expense of the last few threads of my mental health, they decided not to move in with us. There was definitely a cost involved in making these changes, and at times, it can feel like wasted dollars, but it was important for us to know that should anything happen to my parents, we are in a position to care for them. The responsibility of the welfare of our parents is an aspect that is integral to the blueprint of our marriage. Even the manner with which we set up the open concept of our kitchen, living and dining-room , it was all done with the intention to host family and friends. While we don’t do it as often as we’d like, it’s important for people to feel welcome and that the heart of our home is a sacred space, designed to create memories.
Our home was designed to create stability for our daughter, celebrate and reward ourselves for the hard work we put in to get to this point in life as individuals, and provide a space of comfort for friends and family. As a whole, everyone was covered, except for us as a couple. The Magic Moment that I’ve come to realize, is that in the original concept of our blueprint, we forgot to ask each other how we can best take care of each other. We built this home to provide, but we forgot to incorporate marital sustainability. We forgot to incorporate our signature as a couple.
Where We Stand in the Blueprint of Our Marriage
Now that we know this, we can start to have those conversations. We can dream up fresh new ideas that are just for us, and that’s exciting. This misstep is so telling of our marriage. Everything we've done has been done in relation to the betterment, protection and well-being of someone else. I don’t know that we’ve ever discussed a collaborative goal, destination or purpose outside of raising our daughter. At some point, our common purpose is going to become an independent young woman, and that aspect of parenting is going to come to an end for us. The current blueprint of our marriage is going to become outdated. What we want and how we're going to acheive it will need to be revised. Within those revisions, it is absolutely imperative that we start considering what the purpose of our hearth & home is as husband and wife.
Curious about the state of your relationship based blueprint? Here are four questions for you to consider:
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La Sweet Wife