Behind enemy lines

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While recently having a beer with a group of friends and discussing the impending wedding of two members of the group, the topic of thank-you gifts arose. “I have the best idea!” cried Christian Bighi, the groom to be. “We could make bobble-heads for the guests!” At this the boys all cried out in apparent admiration of this ingenious idea.

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“They could be like caricatures of the guests!” Added the best man, feeding off Christians brilliant spark of inspiration. “We could emphasise all their bad features! It’ll be hilarious.” Now at this point I could point out several fatal flaws in their wonderful suggestion; firstly the point of possibly insulting not one or two but all of the guests. Secondly: how cost efficient could it possibly be to make some 100 clay bobble heads? Thirdly, looking around at the group I didn’t see one fine artist, which guaranteed that any attempt in this directions would result in the guests receiving confusing balls of bobbing clay as gifts. The need for me to point out these flaws, however, was eliminated by Kerri - the bride to be - who said, “No. We’re not doing that.” Rather effectively cutting the exploration of that particular idea short.

I have no doubt that the gifts for the wedding will turn out just fine but the bobble-head scenario got me thinking. The stress of wedding planning ends with the wedding, but the need for peaceful cohabitation between male and female tastes is only just beginning. Whether you plan to move in together once you’re married, or long before the wedding, the same sort of difficulties are likely to arise. I have a few tips for consolidating your home décor ideas that remove the possibility of bloodshed from the equation.  
To the ladies: Let go.

Moving in with your partner is going to prove to be a true test of your tolerance. Treat it as an exercise to become a better person, and learn to let go a little. Moving in to a new place is always a slightly unsettling experience and as females we tend to start nesting straight away, but I would advise against any urges to treat the decorating of your shared home as a an opportunity to practice your skills of dictatorship. Rather learn to compromise. As offensive as you might find majority of his belongings, don’t purge the house of every last poster and figurine; remember he needs to feel at home too. Also, before you go splashing the entire apartment in flowers and fairy lights let him have his say and allow him to retain some of his masculinity. Try combining your belongings; repainting, reupholstering and repurposing items to create a harmonious feel.
To the guys: Let go!

I’ve done it before; the big move, and I know from experience that there are some parts of childhood that men can not let go of. Likewise there is an innate instinct to hang on to all remnants of adolescence, and student years. That’s ok; we wouldn’t love you any other way. However, like I said before cohabitation requires a measure of compromise.  Sure, fight tooth and nail to keep that signed Deftones poster, but maybe its time to relinquish the collection of Lord of the Rings figurines (or at the very least to remove them from the entrance hall).
Draw a line in the sand

Everyone needs their own space; a place to retreat to for a few moments of peace and quiet. Pick a space in the house and make that your territory to decorate as you please. When you need privacy, this is the place where you should be able to find it.
Call the bedroom Switzerland

This is the one place that should be completely neutral territory. Ditch the pink lampshades and the car print bedspread and start decorating from scratch. Make this a place where both of you feel at home; a place where you can relax and have fun together.
Host peace summits

There is an easy way to avoid a build up of tension and resentment and its called communication. Don’t assume anything, or expect your partner to pick up on feelings without communicating them (woman are notorious for this, and men are notoriously dense). Keep an open forum for complaints and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind; leaving things unsaid can set a bad precedent for future miscommunications. One of the topics that should be discussed straight away is the budget; how much are you both willing to spend on decorating your home? Establish that before spending more than your partner is comfortable with.
Have fun

You have embarked on an entirely new leg of your journey; enjoy it. See it as a clean slate, an empty canvas on which you and your partner can create a masterpiece. Share inspiration and ideas and above all have fun creating a place you can both call home. Living together will be very much like crossing over into enemy lines; the blurry filter through which you viewed your partner is now gone; you will fight about dishes, you will hear him fart, he will complain about the small amount of space left to him in the wardrobe; pick your battles. Decorating your home should not be one.

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