Monday, May 18, 2009

Smaller House, Happier Marriage?

[We] are paying for increased affluence with a substantial decrease
in the quality and quantity of social relations.
[S]ince 1960 in the U.S., the divorce rate has doubled...
THE PARADOX OF CHOICE, Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz

Endless research exists to back up claims that smaller houses are greener and cheaper than their larger counterparts. Smaller houses have also been shown to foster a sense of worth and responsibility in children and teens and forge close family ties, 'Small Houses are Healthier for Teens and Children'.

But it occurred to me, what about marriage? Does small home living help or hurt married couples? Since I couldn't unearth any scientific studies on this topic, I conducted my own unofficial research and put together a list of ten reasons living in a smaller house might be good for a marriage. A note of caution to readers. This list is completely subjective and based solely on my 20+ plus years of marriage and the over 100+ years of combined marriage and divorce experience held by four couples who are dear friends.

Ten Reasons a Smaller House is Good For a Marriage
  1. Couples have to talk to each other. There is nowhere to hide and sulk.
  2. Negotiation and compromise are learned quickly. Especially if there is only one bathroom to share.
  3. A partner's moods are easily deciphered since they can be heard cussing or complaining from any room in the house.
  4. There are fewer chores which frees up time to argue about other things.
  5. The bedroom is typically too small for a king bed, so there are more opportunities for togetherness.
  6. The heavy financial burden of a larger house is absent, eliminating a significant source of stress in most marriages.
  7. There is more frequent contact and interaction between spouses because the smaller living area fosters closeness.
  8. Children observe how parents respect each other in spite of their differences.
  9. Partners are less likely to feel isolated or 'estranged' from each other because the physical presence of their spouse is more frequently seen and heard.
  10. There is more opportunity to enjoy each other's company because the demands of the house are manageable.
I can't close without commenting on a quote from an anonymous author who said, "In marriage, as in war, it is permitted to take every advantage of the enemy." During an argument, my husband is most certainly the enemy and a small house gives me the advantage of knowing his whereabouts to prevent an ambush. Just a little something to think about.

Until next time!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Beauty and Laughter Happen

Life at high velocity speeds your own evolution.
- 'Mind Over Water', Craig Lambert

I am writing this post while enjoying a glass of white wine - Fetzer Gewurztraminer a favorite of mine - and appreciating the sun shining on the Magnolia tree in full bloom just outside my study window. This beauty exists even though my husband has been out of a job since August 2008, I am still recovering from mass lay-offs in December where I work, a family member needs to be moved to assisted living, we are struggling to pay out-of-state tuition for my son and to top it off, my camera is not working. (That's why the picture above is not my magnolia tree, although mine looks almost exactly the same.)

This is probably way too much information, but I wanted to let you know why I usually post only twice a month and sometimes just once. (And my glass of wine is definitely making this easier.)

Frankly, I have been awed by the fabulous bloggers out there who manage beautiful posts almost everyday. I just love Melissa at the Inspired Room and Joni at Cote de Texas. Someday I hope to be able to send in comments to these inspiring blogs. Right now all I seem to manage is reading the posts.

As for coping with the roller coaster that is my life right now, everyday I force myself to find a bit of beauty and something to smile about. Many days this feels like pulling teeth, but if I just pay attention, beauty and laughter happen. Today, it was the magnolia tree and hearing my son's remarks about 'Dancing with the Stars'. He caught a glimpse of the show while I was cooking dinner. His comment about Gilles, "Sit down sexy dancing man! How can anyone take you or your haircut seriously," had me laughing out loud.

So what keeps me blogging even though I don't have nearly the talent of other designers out there and obviously I can't keep up with their beautiful prose and frequent posts? For me, the friendly and warm people found in the design blogging community are a little bit of heaven. Especially at this time in my life, it is a joy to contribute and participate in my small way to such a lovely group of women and men.

For those of you who are interested, a few short blurbs about me and Jewel Box Home appear in the following magazines this month:

Little Boxes
The New Movement to Seriously Downsize Our Homes

Cottage Living
Small is Beautiful

10 ways to get a small-space lift
(No link yet, to see the article go to page 38 of the May/June Midwest Living)

Until next time,