We moved house last year. We were pretty happy where we were before. Great neighbours, nice garden, nothing much to write home about. I did have one LITTLE grumble: my study.
This was the smallest room in the house, and while I am not the tidiest person in the world, I knew where everything was. Well, I did until it became a dumping ground for the washing and I would find little bits of Playmobil under my feet at every turn. I was trying to finish a course that I had been working on for 7 1/2 years, and could not file my notes because SOMEONE had hidden my hole punch.
This might not sound like a deal-breaker to you, but it was the end of a long list of minor complaints that had suddenly got big. Something had to change. Would we go up into the loft? No – we would have a very top-heavy house, and would struggle to sell in the future. Out at the back, meaning I took the front room? Possibly, but there would be a lot of upheaval without a great deal of gain. Okay, so maybe we move.
A new home
We found a house a quarter of a mile away on the same estate, meaning that our children could stay at the same school and our relationships with most of the neighbours would still be practical. We sold our house and had an offer accepted on the new one. Fast-forward a few (stressful and heart-stopping) months and we moved in. Hurrah! Only about a million jobs to do to make the house water-tight and warm, and everything is fine.
I did wonder to myself how it got from what a friend described as a “filing problem” to having to move house? Were my husband and I so bad at communicating our niggles to each other that it meant major upheaval over the gradual loss of my study? What could we do to improve the situation?
A friend of mine told me that he and his wife have a Decision Book. They are a little more mature in their relationship than my husband and I, and I can see how it has helped them to keep happy in their relationship. When he explained it to me, I could completely see the logic. Every decision they make, they both sign and date it so that there is no disagreement about what has been settled upon.
I got to see it when I visited them a few months ago. They were debating about whether they had agreed on the colour to paint the kitchen, and turned to the book. Lo and behold, they didn’t need to argue about it anymore because it had already been decided upon.
Methods of communication
Every relationship has its niggles. I am sure I am not alone in realising that I could communicate my concerns better, or that we need to set time aside to talk about the things that really matter, rather than allowing them to build up to explosion point. Perhaps little changes, such as agreeing that one night a week a couple could sit down together and talk about what is important, rather than flopping down in front of the TV or racing around, doing the jobs, can make a big difference. Something like the decision book may work for you, or you may have a better idea.
We have been in our new house for 6 months now. In all seriousness, it was probably the right thing for us to do as a family as I now have a larger study, which is downstairs and next to the front door, meaning I can welcome people in without it disrupting family life by needing the children to tidy up Spiderman’s web and all of the Barbies before I have a meeting. No sign of that hole punch. I thought that the two of us had decided to have our own Decision Book, but we just can’t seem to agree on it…
Could a decision book work for you? How would you use it?
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