Reflecting on Marital Bliss at Our Little House

Today is our wedding anniversary here at Our Little House.

For 26 years, we’ve lived our lives as a married couple. Since we began dating when I was 15 and he was 18, we can hardly remember a time when we weren’t a part of each other’s lives.

Many people have asked me how we can stand living in such a small house with so much togetherness.

We’ll both be the first ones to admit that sometimes it hasn’t been easy. I’ve written before that when we lived in the city, we had totally separate home lives. Dale stayed in the family room with his television and I had a television in the bedroom or I read in the formal living room.

I do have The Belle Writer’s Studio, which is supposed to be my refuge, but it’s also where I work, so if I come over to the studio, I find myself wanting to work instead of reading or relaxing (no television there).

We’ve developed a few tricks to ignore one another’s television time if we don’t like the show that’s picked. I have my iPod I can put on while I read and when Dale reads, he is totally immersed and can ignore my programs.

More reading is just one of the side benefits of spending so much time together. Here are some others:

  • Spending more time together: Unless it is really nice outside and we have something else to do, we do spend a lot more of our non- working time together in the living room at Our Little House. This, on the whole, is a good thing. I think many couples and families have such big homes that allow them to separate, as
    we did in the city.
  • Compromise: We learned a long time ago that the secret to a healthy marriage is compromise, but until we moved to Our Little House, we never had to share a remote! Doing that one thing reminded us of this basic tenant to our marriage.
  • Sharing: Not just the remote, but we’ve also found that we generally work better together as a team. Having all of the to-dos compartmentalized in 3 rooms puts it right in front of us and reminds us that we have to share the responsibilities to share in the rewards. If he is cooking, I will walk the dogs and do the clean up and visa versa.
  • More in common: Although I still do not care for those old westerns and he doesn’t really care for my true crime or ghost shows, we’ve solidified more what we have in common (love of antiques and antiquing) and found that we even enjoy some of the other’s interests. While I knew he enjoyed westerns, I really had no idea how much he enjoyed them until we moved here. I think he also feels the same about my music. He even knows which satellite stations to put on for music for me when we are reading, cooking or cleaning.

Of course, we each have our outdoor living space, garage and studio if we do get tired of each other and that helps!

If you have a small home, what benefits do you find in living with your spouse and/or children? Or, if you’ve had to share a small space and don’t do it full time, do you think you could?

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22 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your anniversary. A relationship can definitely benefit from living in a small space. I know some couples that live in such huge houses they seem to rarely interact when they are at home.

    • Kerri says:

      Yes, I do not see how living in 4,000 square feet of space can be beneficial for any family, but to each their own.

  2. Heather L. says:

    Our home is relatively small, but nothing like yours. But you can pretty much yell from one end to the other. We each have our own offices. We get along well almost all of the time and travel well together, so we don’t often have to have get away time.

  3. Alisa Bowman says:

    Congrats on your anniversary!

  4. Hope says:

    Kerri-My hubby & I have lived full time aboard our 49 ft. sailboat for over eight years. We sold our 2400sq. ft. home, sold or gave away all of our furniture and belongings and bought the boat getting ready for retirerment. Now before anyone says that’s a large boat you must realize that there’s also an engine that takes a lot of space from the inside space. In 2010 we took a sail together that lasted over 8 weeks of just us and our catand the ocean. No other people encounted. It definately isn’t about the size of a house (boat)but enjoying each other’s company and making concessions as needed. Congrats on your anniversary. We will be married 45 years in October and plan to keep on sailing…..

  5. Sheryl says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary, Kerri. You’re so right – being in a tight space forces you, and teaches you, to compromise and find creative solutions for things you might not otherwise look for.

  6. Alexandra says:

    I have found the easiest solution is to give my husband his own space. He has a studio, where he retreats when tired. I would prefer not to live this way, but it seems to work better than when we shared a room in France.

  7. Nanci says:

    Kerri~ I think living in a little house truly reveals the state of your relationship. If you don’t get along, don’t buy a small house! That said, if you are able to compromise and practice patience, then your relationship will only flower by being so physically close under one roof. Many, many years ago PBS had a series called “Frontier House” which was a experiment with three families living the frontier life in Montana, I believe. At the end, the family from Malibu returned to their immense house only to have the mother say how every much she missed the closeness they experienced while living in a one-room cabin.
    It truly is revealing to see how our marriage has evolved while living in our little cabin! I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for this link, Nanci, and you’re right. I wouldn’t want to be closed up with someone I didn’t get along with. 🙂

  8. When we travel alone together, we are reminded of many of the things you have said and have to learn how to share a small hotel room where at home we do have two TVs. I think it’s important to always remember that your relationship is more important than any TV show

  9. Merr says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Our house is small but I would venture to say that wherever you live with people – a large or small home – your relationship at its core is your relationship. The size of the house is more about what you both like or want, etc.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Merr. I agree that the nature of the relationship is central. For me and Dale, our relationship was solid, but I think it was just easy for us to go to a separate room and do things we wanted to do, when we just as easily have done them in the same room, if that makes sense.

  10. Hmmm… well our house is fairly large but we do spend most of our non-working time together. For one thing, since moving to the country, we spend much more time outside (one of the reasons we wanted to move here in the first place was to be closer to nature.) Each day when David comes home from work, we sit on the deck, have a drink and chat about anything and everything. When mosquitoes drive us inside, we usually end up in the TV room and fortunately, we like most of the same programs. Our computer and office area are right off the TV room, so even if one of us decides to go online, we’re still within a few feet of each other. Our former home was much more divided up into smaller rooms that were closed off from each other. I like the more open, connected spaces of our new home as it allows much more physical closeness between us, even if we’re doing different things. And we love taking walks together outside and gardening or going out at night to star gaze- the starry skies, undimmed by city lights are amazing. So, maybe it’s not always about the size of the house, but enjoying each other’s company enough to WANT to be together!

    • Kerri says:

      Hmm, that could be, Kathy, although Dale and I never didn’t want to be together. I think it was just easier not to have to share the remote and do our own thing, if we wanted. We do the outside stuff too, I realize my post made it sound like all we do is sit inside -which is all we’ve been doing lately due to the heat – but walks together, star gazing and cooking out are also favorite together activities here. Our house in the city was also cut up into smaller rooms far apart, so that may have had something to do with it too. We did, at least, come together for movie night and meals each day.