If I was to ever write another book it would be about the ‘things’ in a relationship that turns out are the really important bits. You know, like how you like to celebrate Christmas, whether you get to the airport early or late, or whether you put dirty dishes into the dishwasher immediately or leave them on the bench and do them all at once.
I would make a list of all the REALLY IMPORTANT parts of a relationship that are the things that, in the end, REALLY MATTER. The things that inevitably you end up in arguments with your partner.
The working titles for this book are:
The Stuff that Really Matters
Sweating the Small Stuff
While the title is a work in progress, the purpose of the book is not.
When a couple first meet, the powers of attraction come into play, a complex mix of hormones and chemicals take control of your brain, and next thing you know, you’ve fallen in love. Then before you know it, you’re ‘playing house’ and picking cushions together at Ikea – and sometimes even agreeing that you NEED 12 cushions for your soon-to-be shared bedroom.
You play house, do EVERYTHING as a couple, can’t bear to be apart, and nest until your friends are planning an intervention.
Then the honeymoon phase ends, and reality arrives at the door and settles in to your spare room. And THEN the fun begins.
Suddenly, ‘his’ undies appear on the floor everywhere, ‘her’ makeup seems to have swamped all bathroom bench space, responsibility for cleaning shared spaces becomes blurred, and ‘personal space’ starts to become a topic.
And while I hanker back to those heady, hazy days of first love, I do wish someone had sat me down early in my life and given me a list of things I should tick off with my partner before diving into the house-sharing vortex.
Bustle, a website for women, recently had an article about the realities of sharing space. Should we move in together gives six topics to consider discussing before moving in with a partner. Of particular interest to me is the discussion about sharing one of the smallest, but critical spaces in a home – the bed.
When my husband and I first got together, wine and lust managed all our sleeping incompatibilities. It wasn’t until we started moving into a quieter rhythm in our relationship did I realise how loudly he snored, and he realised how late I naturally went to bed. Our story ended well (for us) because we headed to separate rooms, but it doesn’t end quite so well for many.
For example, what if your partner is a terrific snorer, but is determined that couples share a bed – no matter what! (I’ve had one of those – got rid of him). What happens if your partner is a serial snuggler, or a late night TV watcher, a bed-time ice-cream eater, or an iPad addict? Would you honestly think that this is a conversation you should have when you just meet someone?
The reality is “no” – because it would probably seem dumb to do so. (A bit intense and crazy-person behaviour)
But what if you did. What if you could find out how all the mundane tasks and chores of life would be approached by this ‘hotty’ across the bar from you, before you took the plunge and fell in love? Think of all the time you would save.
I can hear all the romantics screaming that LOVE CONQUERS ALL. And while I miss the heady days of pursuing and being pursued by a guy I can’t stop thinking about, I do know that I love that my husband wants to get to the airport early, that he doesn’t mind feeding the cats when he gets up first, does his own washing, enjoys making sure the pool chemicals are all balanced, and is happy to sleep in a separate room so that we both get a good night’s sleep. (I won’t talk about the dishes that accumulate on the sink, rather than the dishwasher)
I guess that’s why we ended up married.
So if you could go back to your first date, what would your ‘we need to talk about’ list be?