While living together over time, we grow apart in so many ways. We grow apart, while living together, because we feel at home and comfortable. When we feel at home and comfortable, we are free to change. In the process, we complement each other in new ways; we also become aware of differences we had not noticed earlier.
So, what happens if spouses or partners do not agree on the same house? How is it possible to choose one that will provide a sense of comfort and home for both? The key to the answer, it seems, may be found in a shift in perspective.
Environmental psychologists (yes, there is such a profession) assist individuals or couples in identifying the most compatible living environment by helping them focus their attention on measurable observations. For instance, an actual tour of the current dwelling reveals important clues about how people live and what is important to them in terms of space and configuration, how they perceive solitude and socializing, how they respond to color and atmosphere.
Looking for a new home does not mean that everything about the current one is suddenly no longer true. While there may be desirable features to look for in a new home, you can almost be certain that these features will fall into two categories: Some will be similar or identical to circumstances you already know. This would be the case for practical features, such as a home office or double garage. Others will be an extension of what you already have, such as a sunroom instead of a deck.
Another clue surfaces when you begin to pay attention to how you talk about a new home. One of you may use the word “property”. This is someone who seeks value, quality and future security. Your spouse may use the word “nest”. He or she is mainly concerned with a sense of belonging and security. Put in these terms, we can see how both points of view actually intersect.
Remember, also, the time you first moved in together. You did not like his or her messy sock drawer, but put up with it. You did not agree with the shower curtain design either, but ha! How it felt like home to finally have a soul mate! The global picture is the true gem.
Not seeing eye to eye, it turns out, can be a blessing. It allows for a multi-dimensional assessment of your needs and a multi-facetted discussion about possibilities. Home is more than three bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen and an all-season deck. Home is also all the furnishings of your mind and the dreams you share when you sit on the couch and contemplate, together, all that you have and all that you have become.