Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Art of Compromise

As we were rolling full steam ahead on our plan to clear out our house (it's nearly half empty now!) and get ready to travel, I noticed that hubby was looking sadder and sadder. Although he is pretty much on board with our plan, he seriously hates change. He is firmly stuck in his rut and happy to be there, however, if there is something I want to do he will dutifully follow along. So along he is going with this half crazy plan to sell everything and travel the world before deciding when and where to settle down again.
We (I) had originally intended to sell literally everything before we left but hubby said that he really didn't want to be 62 years old and only have the items he could fit in a backpack to his name. Did I mention he likes security and stability? Also, he is from a very class-oriented culture so he feels like people judge him by the stuff he has and if he doesn't have anything he would be nothing. Well that made me take a step back. I really feel like my plan is sound and that he will appreciate the things we will be able to do without the huge overhead of a house and possessions to weigh us down, but when you are married you do need to take the other person's feelings into consideration.
Over the years we have learned to compromise on quite a few things--he is a hoarder and I am a minimalist, having lots of stuff makes him feel happy and comfortable yet for me, having lots of stuff makes me feel like the weight of responsibility is piled up on my shoulders. So we have worked around our various conundrums quite well. I just think that the sudden rush of all of his possessions being sold and carried away really got to him.
So here is the compromise...I checked with a local storage place and for $50 a month we can store some basic stuff that he really wants to keep (a bed, a futon sofa he loves, and a dozen crates of personal possessions). Hubby seems a bit happier to have some stuff rather than to have no stuff. The second thing I did was go to check out some senior apartments in our area. The apartments are small but so is the price, the locations is great, the building is new, and they have tons of amenities. I presented this option to hubby so that if we got tired of traveling or hanging out with relatives (our original plan was to "homebase" out of his sister's home however hubby said he would prefer his "own" place), there is always the option to rent an apartment that would meet all of our needs. Again, he seemed relieved to have another option besides "grab your backpack and we'll land somewhere".
And therein lies the art of compromise. When you are making plans for anyone other than yourself, jarring changes may be a bit overwhelming to them and of course they may push back rather than go along, so it is always a good idea to provide a variety of options so that they can feel like they can have some sort of control over the situation.
...Gee all of that and I don't even have a psychology degree!

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