As you may know, my husband and I recently moved out of my parents’ house to our own apartment. We’ve been here for less than a month, but it already feels like home! This week, I wanted to write about what it means to me and my husband to finally have a place of our own, and how important independence is in a marriage.
When my husband and I decided to get married at 19, we knew that there would be some consequences, both positive and negative. We looked forward to living together, being officially married (since we’d already made the commitment in our hearts), and many other benefits that come with being married. But we also knew that we’d have to make sacrifices that most married couples don’t have to make. We knew that some people wouldn’t accept our decision easily, and that we’d probably receive a lot of criticism. At the time, we were both full-time students and nowhere near financially independent. We understood that we would have to live with either my parents or his for at least a couple of years (or so we thought, at the time). That was something that we accepted, because being married was worth it to us.
After we got married, we were totally excited to be able to live together! It didn’t matter to us that it was with my parents; we were just happy to be together. It was an exciting time, combining our things and learning how to live in such close proximity. We were (and still are) very grateful for our parents’ kindness in allowing us to live with them for so cheap— it was truly a blessing.
After a while, though, we started yearning for more independence. I think it’s natural for a married couple to want to get out on their own; the Bible talks about husbands and wives leaving their families to “cleave” together. And even though I believe that verse is talking mainly about a spiritual and physical combining of two people in marriage, I also think that there is a literal element to it. Part of the joy in getting married is the excitement of starting your own family of two together! You are still your parents’ children, of course, but now you are somebody’s husband or wife first. Your primary status is as a married individual. And what better way to assert that new status than by literally moving out of your parents’ home and into a new home with your spouse?
But when my husband and I started looking for apartments, we felt pretty hopeless. There was just no way that we could afford it, plain and simple. So we stopped looking (and then started again, and then stopped again, and then started again… you get the point). As things in our lives changed, we would become hopeful again and look at the numbers before realizing that we were still not quite there yet. So there were many periods of looking, giving up, and then looking again. Then one time when we looked, we excitedly realized that we were finally there! The numbers matched up and we were capable of moving out on our own.
Our lives had changed in a lot of big ways before we got to that point. They were changes that we made for various reasons in a slow process that finally led to where we are now. I left my university and started taking online classes part-time instead. I got one job babysitting, and then another and another, until my schedule was full. My husband also stopped taking classes full-time, but continued taking one class at the same university. He started working much more in his web design business. Our plans and dreams for the future changed, and we realized that we had some external assets at our disposal. I definitely believe that all of these things were part of a process that was carefully orchestrated by God in order to get us to where we are now. The greatest part is, the process isn’t even done yet. He’s still working on our lives, guiding us forward to bigger and better things!
So we finally moved out on our own and started the next great adventure in our lives together. And we absolutely love it! Living in our own apartment has so many great benefits. We can actually feel and act like an independent married couple. We get to make our own day-to-day decisions together, buy our own groceries, cook our own meals, decorate and clean, and everything else that’s involved in managing a home. I think it’s a lot of fun! Best of all, my husband and I are growing closer because of it. Something about it being just us two has made our marriage stronger and our day-to-day interactions more positive (not that they were bad before, but something doesn’t have to be bad for it to improve!) It’s just great.
I wanted to share this not to brag, but just simply to show how valuable independence is for a married couple, and to remember. Years down the road, I probably won’t relish cleaning the kitchen or buying groceries, but I do now because it’s new and exciting! I want to remember this feeling even when we’ve lived on our own for decades.
Here’s to enjoying the little things in life, and being excited about where you are now as well as where you’re going.
P.S. Rocky is here! My husband and I drove up to get him on Friday afternoon, and we’ve been enjoying him ever since. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Rocky is my new cockatiel who I wrote about buying in my last post. Now he’s officially part of our family! I’ve attached two pictures of him, for your adoration. =P