Cohabitating

I like to be different in things that I do. I don’t know that I am any different than the next person, but I do try in some respects to step away from the norm. For example, I recently cut my long hair really short, one because it’s easier and two because I like to be different.

I think Zach and I are a different kind of couple in today’s age. One difference I have noticed, that I find interesting, is we didn’t live together before we got married. Zach and I each have a good amount of married friends who lived together before they said “I do.”

We were out recently with a few of Zach’s coworkers and one guy said to me, “Hey how’s married life? Is it pretty much the same as before?” Just as I was about to explain how awesome married life is, the guy said, “OH WAIT! You guys didn’t live together before.” I laughed and responded yes. He said, “Woah, then it must be a huge change! How’s that working out for you?”

The question I ask as I reflect on this is, why didn’t we live together? Before we got married, we knew we loved each other, we knew we were committed to one another. So why not live together? Everyone else was doing it and it seemed to work for all of them.

For me, the decision was influenced by various factors. It was partly because of my desire to be different. I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. It was also due in part to what I was told growing up. I was told you live with someone after you get married. As Zach and I got more serious, maybe about a year before we got engaged, living together became a topic of conversation. I found myself in a quandary. My immediate thought was, yes, that would be awesome. But would it be awesome because I was ready? Or would it be awesome because it’d be fun to hang out all the time and it’d be easier not to have to tell my parents what time I got home at night.

I was old enough to make this decision on my own and so I gave it a lot of thought. It was one of the more adult moments in my life. Was it the right move for us? Were we ready to share everything together? At that point in time, I don’t think we were. I think we enjoyed having our own space and we weren’t ready to commit in that way just yet. Our relationship was still growing.

I can remember a few of my friends saying, “Why aren’t you guys living together? You know, if you get married and don’t live together before, you’re going to have a tough time getting used to some things. It’s good practice to make sure you really want to do this.” It didn’t seem to be a big deal to me that we decided to live in our own places. My friends’ comments worried me and made me feel self-conscious. Of course I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Zach. Looking back, I don’t think it would have been a bad thing for us to live together beforehand, but for us personally, I think the journey we took worked out. While not living together did get frustrating towards the end of our engagement, (I lived with my parents for the last few months before the wedding), we made due.

I’m not making an argument as to whether living together first is good or bad and I’m not saying what we did is what everyone should do. Each couple is unique in their own way and each takes a different journey and they do what works for them. I’m reflecting on Zach’s and my journey. What I do want to stress here is that it is important for people to stand their ground even when what they believe in and decide to do isn’t the current norm or the trend. You can’t force a situation in relationships. One must follow the path that the relationship is naturally taking.

Now that we do live together, I’ve learned my friends were right in saying I would discover things that I didn’t know before. While that sounds daunting, it has been fun. I like the idea that you can know someone for a while, but you continuously learn about different quirks that they have. We’ve been taking it all in stride too. We’ve laughed a lot with each other and at each other.

Examples: Zach never fully closes his dresser drawers and sometimes his clothes hang out. I don’t understand that. Just close the drawer all the way. When I fold socks, I roll them all they way up into each other. Zach doesn’t understand this. He leaves part of the sock hanging out. He says it makes it easier to undo the socks. I don’t get it. I now fold his socks the way he likes it and my socks the way I like it. Am I really writing a paragraph about folding socks? Speaking of socks, the dryer really does eat them.

When I lived with my parents and when I lived with my brothers, I didn’t cook, I would rarely ever clean and I never put my things away. Living with Zach inspires me to do all of these things. When I leave work, my mind starts racing with ideas of what I can make for dinner. I do the laundry and actually fold my clothes when I put them in my dresser. If I see dirty dishes in the sink, I don’t let them sit there, I clean them. I have a desire to clean and straighten up.I think it’s because for the first time the things in our apartment and the apartment is ours. We don’t have parents or roommates to clean up for us. Now I understand why when I was growing up, even if the house looked clean and tidy, my mom would say, “This place is a mess. We need to clean up.” There’s this idea we get in our heads that the house is never neat enough.

Since cohabitating, we haven’t had any huge arguments, only small tiffs. And yes, I’ll admit it, those tiffs are usually started by me. It’s funny to me how a lot of the time when women get mad at men, it’s due in part to something the man didn’t do. They didn’t take out the trash, they didn’t clean the dishes, they didn’t do the laundry, they didn’t listen. I’ve only been living with Zach for just over two months now and I have found myself getting upset over those exact things. While giving him the silent treatment one day he approached me and asked what he could do. Did he just ask what he could do?! It dawned on me that he wants to help.

I’ve learned a secret that I am going to share with you. You may already know this secret, but I’m going to assume this is ground breaking information for you. Men can’t read women’s minds! There, I said it. We expect them to automatically know what we want them to do. That’s impossible. I’m not putting down the male intelligence either. They are naturally not equipped with the mind reading ability. But, do not fear, most often, if you tell them to do something, a magical thing occurs…they do what they are told. If it’s something that matters to you, your man will do it. And vice versa, if it’s something that matters to him, the woman should do it.

That’s it for now. I gotta go start thinking about what to make for dinner.

Until next time……

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