Twenty-six years ago I was 18...he was 28. We ran off and eloped after knowing each other for less than two weeks. Crazy? Yes. Would I recommend it? Nope. Did it work out? Well, four surviving children, multiple pets, numerous jobs, in sickness and in health and in richer and poorer (and poorer and poorer) it works. I have a roof over my head, clothing on my body and transportation to get me where I need to be. I have never gone without food in my belly. Those seem to be the basics.
Here are a few things I've learned over the last 26 years.
My husband and I just think very differently. I'm not sure this is a man vs. woman thing. I think people think differently. Simple as that. What he thinks is cool, I don't always. What I think is cool, he doesn't. We are polar opposites. Some days I want to walk right out that door and not look back. Other days I'm glad I have him by my side. I'm positive he feels the same.
Neither one of us like to cook, do dishes or do the laundry. I had really hoped one of us would develop these skills over the past 26 years, or have a career that paid for a personal chef and housekeeper. Neither happened. We resort to fast food and paper plates a little more often than I'd care to admit. Once the children got older, we taught them to do the laundry. You know, they need to learn those independent living skills. They are only responsible for their clothing. They tend to misplace and/or damage things of quality. I'm sure it's a way to get out of chores. I seem to recall doing similar things when I was a teen and not wanting to do chores.
We started out our married life with $10 in our wallets. We always said life would get better and finances would improve as we got older (perhaps more responsible?) I have news for you. Life isn't any easier and finances didn't get any better. I don't think either of us have $10 in our wallets today. It's a struggle! Money has been our biggest argument trigger. It's our biggest headache and our biggest worry. There just isn't enough.
We learned that when raising children, you don't need a fancy home, decorated professionally. They don't care that you have all that fancy stuff. You need a roof over your head and a place to sit as a family, a place to play games comfortably and nothing fragile or important sitting around. Kids love being kids and if you're constantly worried about that expensive vase your bought yesterday, you won't be as focused on what your child is trying to tell you today, or your husband, for that matter. I'm not sure who is worse at breaking things, the husband or the children. They all blame the dog or kitten.
My mother always freaked out over us kids playing ball in the house. I always made a mental note, when I had children we would play ball in the house. In fact, everything she freaked out about (bubble blowing in the house, eating in the living room, etc) I wanted to break that rule. We do. We aren't playing basketball in my house, but we are tossing a balloon back and forth. We play with nerf dart guns. We blow bubbles until the cows come home.
My husband and I may have come from two totally different worlds, he grew up in southern California and I in central Pennsylvania, but we manage to meet in the middle. Sort of. I want to retire by the beach and he would be content with a cabin in the woods somewhere. We will probably still be broke and end up in a little one bedroom apartment downtown. I suppose that's meeting in the middle, isn't it?