Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Hermione Complex

It’s a strange time in a girls life when she suddenly finds herself living with two males instead of one (the one I picked out and married). I’ve come to terms that on most days our apartment looks like this:


It ain’t pretty. There’s usually clothes to be folded, dishes in the sink, and cabinet doors that never got closed. A strange guy with a milk carton…yes.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we have a roommate. His name is Zack. Everyone together now “Hello Zack.” How’d we find Zack? He is a close friend of ours that Charley and I went to high school with. We’ve traveled to Europe together. he was a Groomsman at our wedding. Story made short, he’s a great guy that we get along well with. Make that the most chill person I’ve ever met. We used to always visit Charleston and stay with him.

When we first looked at moving to the city, we realized it was expensive and we would need a solution. Communal living in the city is the norm. There are families and couples well past their thirties that bunk together. Zack was looking to move out of his lonely apartment in west Ashley and get back to downtown.

From some couples (especially newlyweds) I get a slight nose crinkle when I mention “roomate”. Something about the idea weirds them out or they find they are unwilling to share their newly acquired space.  I valued my time alone with my spouse when we were newly married (and don’t get me wrong, it’s important and needed) but I also found that my time with the hubby had to be intentional anyways. We both worked opposite hours, so just as we’d plan dates then, we’ve learned to make alone time for each other now. Since being married two years ago, we’ve lived with three different people (two were very short term) so it just goes to show that God’s plan can be very different from what you imagine.

Communal living has been cool since we share the financial burden, but more importantly  it fosters growth in a needed area of my heart. By this I mean that I’m picky and particular and human. When you live with multiple humans there is more opportunity for irritation and conflict. That’s life. We have one room (Gryffindor common room !) so we daily have to learn how to make use of that space together. We are two boys, a girl, a dog, a hedgehog and a feral cat in a tiny box. Shake that up!


My mother, with her plethora of useful phrases always says “don’t sweat the small stuff”. AKA there's no use crying over spilled milk. Don’t get worked up about the details, don’t worry, step back and look at the big picture. It sounds really easy to do, but it’s not when it’s only my flesh. In order to “let stuff go” we have to take it to God. Ask him for peace. Ask Him to change our hearts.

Sometimes I  get really worked up about the house not being clean. I stress out, I have trouble working. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s my mess too not just the boys). So while I want to practice cleanliness as a personal discipline, it’s not what makes the world go around. Coexistence in peace is more important. I have to ask God to correct my bad attitudes and grumpiness and even my introvertness. 

So here were a few things I like about living with people in general ( spouse, spouse + roommate, college dorm, whatever).

            • when I do get that quiet moment, it’s valuable. I get to treat my time like it’s a blessing, not something I deserve.
            • I am forced to seek God
            • I learn to adapt (mainly my heart, goals and actions)
            • it’s shows me who I am and makes me more aware of my surroundings.
            • It forces me to accept humility in my faults. It’s not a huge secret that I’m a little annoying and when I’m on sugar it suddenly becomes my goal in life to pester  people (just ask my college roommates). I have to curb this and think about other people’s feelings.
            • It realigns my thinking to the proper perspective (people matter, your selfish desires do not)
            • It helps me be more willing in sacrifice ( you have the bathroom first, I’ll do the dishes since you’re out of time ect)
            • it forces me to be a better communicator ( “I need to be alone, go away” ;  “I’d rather you didn’t pour milk on the dog”).
            • my surroundings are not the source of my peace
            • it gives me a chance to forgive and forget (and not sweat the small stuff
            • It reminds me that stuff is just stuff. Instead of hoarding things, I’m letting things go (even if that means leaving awesome finds in trash piles). Our apartment is tiny, and it’s my job to be  a good roommate/ wife and not cram it with stuff to “claim my space”
            • it’s a test for me in timing and in patience, as I wait for a day when I can design with no limits. I’m waiting for that house I can DIY to death. For now, I’ll pack away the fancy dishcloths and let the boys live relaxed.
            • It’s more fun! Fellowship happens and more funny situations happen.

To conclude, I know it’s not for everyone, but it really works for us. I’ve loved it. In fact I’d be open to living with more people. When we move we’re hoping Zack will tag along….but possibly not his cat…. cat needs to work on friendliness.

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