Sharing, Closet Space and How to Prepare for Marriage

Give me a drawer for my unborn baby now!

When Tim and I wed the kids and I moved temporarily into his bachelor pad condo with the view of the waves.  At the time, we were looking for a home to buy and figured it would only take a few months to navigate the home buying process. 

We were wrong.

We packed up all the kids’ toys –the Barbie Guitar, the Lego’s and the Nintendo.  All we brought was our clothes, a few books and the lizard –Sean.

But our three-month tour turned into a two-year stay.

Now Tim had a pretty nice shack for a single dude.  The condo had two large bedrooms and an enormous living space all remodeled and state of the art.  There should have been enough room.  But Tim had been single for thirty-six years and all of a sudden he had to make room in his life and his heart for three more (four with the lizard).

Initially, he cleared out a few shelves for me.  After I whined pitifully, he gave the kids a broom closet (less than three feet across and about two feet deep), a dresser to share and then finally cleared out another half-closet for his new bride.  He continued to occupy the walk-in closet, three dressers and the hall closet.

I tried not to make a fuss and make do with this simple and pared down living style.  I don’t have a ton of clothes because I tend to spend my money on the kids and books anyway, and I knew how hard it was for Tim to go from single (AKA self-absorbed) to married and sharing everything.

 But when I got pregnant with Kolby everything changed.

We were still tied-up in a never-ending escrow –eight long months from beginning to end –and didn’t know if we were going to bring the baby home to our new house or squeeze her into the condo.  My nesting instincts were kicking in to high gear and that’s when I went ballistic.

“I don’t even have a drawer for the baby’s clothes!  Wahhhhhhhhhhhh!  

A torrent of tears erupted and two years of frustration poured out of Tim’s sweet little wife.  I threw a pillow at him and some baby socks and wailed like an abandoned child at the mall.

Tim learned a good lesson that illustrious day.

  1. Learning to share starts before you get married.
  2. Living alone is not the best way to prepare for marriage.
  3. Never deny a woman closet space even if she says its fine –inside she is pissed.
  4. When starting out a new marriage, if at all possible, it’s best to move into a neutral space.  The truth is, the kids and I felt like visitors and Tim felt invaded.  A neutral space right off the bat would have alleviated much of the turmoil.

Tim sent me this article by Mark Driscoll and it made me laugh because we experienced some of this in our relationship and its good advice.  “5 Ways to Move from Selfish to Servant as a Single.”

(FYI…It’s not an endorsement.   I agree with about 79% of his stuff and the rest I abhor, so basically I’m conflicted about the dude)

I would add a few things…

Four (More) Ways to Move from Selfish to Servant as a Single (to Prepare for Marriage)

1. Get a roommate

My husband feels strongly about this one.  Tim always had a roommate until the last few months before our marriage and even then it was hard for him.  Guys-specifically get weird living alone.  In a vacuum of no accountability men will act like boys(X-box, porn, endless sports).  Women collect cats.  And you don’t have to share.  Living with people is important for mental health, accountability as a Christian and future interactions with a spouse.

2. Volunteer with small children or teens

It will give you perspective on irrational human beings and you will be better prepared for parenting and marriage.

3. Stop hoarding

 Pare down your wardrobe.  Instead of collecting things to gather dust –collect experiences and friendships.  Give away unnecessary stuff to people who need it and will use it.

4. Learn time management now

Even as a single mom with two munchkins I had more time than as a married mother of three.  Every relationship takes time and energy.  If you are struggling to balance time as a single person it will only get worse when you get married. 

 

Do you have any more tips to move from selfish to servant to prepare for marriage?

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Love the pragmatism of your thoughts on preparing for marriage. But let’s be fair here, not *all* single men get weird – that’s like saying all singles are weird which is entirely unfair. And, did I just read correctly you had a pet “lizard”?
    -S

    • Correction. We used to have a pet lizard before we fed him oversized yard crickets and he kicked the bucket.
      It’s very difficult to live in accountability for long periods of time alone. And its a huge adjustment to move in with a spouse if you have been alone so long little bad habits gone unchecked become monster issues.
      My husband feels very strongly from years of counseling single dudes that guys without accountability don’t do well alone (thus the weirdness) which makes sense because we are built to live in relationship with people.
      Just our opinion. I’m sure there are exceptions but most people do better with roommates.

  2. I see where you’re coming from and value and respect that. Good stuff! Just giving you a hard time about the lizard. I totally agree about how we’re wired as human beings – healthy vs. unhealthy lifestyles. Lonely vs. in close community, accountability, etc. Totally agree. And, if you live a long as a single guy for too long – fair or not – people start to ask “Why is this person single? What’s wrong with them?” Did the Apostle Paul face that? Probably. It goes back to being single in our society – it’s just kind of not cool after a while – even though most of church is single. If one is to live alone and single for a period of time, I’ve found it to be *enormously* valuable to be in a life group/small group with other guys and to proactively ask for that accountability – put it out there: “hold me accountable.”

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