WARNING: This post includes feelings. And complaining. Mostly, complaining about my feelings. I hope you'll proceed with the non-judgiest of caution.
Marriage is all about compromise.
That's one of the many pieces of marital advice I've collected over the years. It's one of the keys to a successful marriage, I've been told, and I do believe it to be true (though I'm certain marriage is about a lot of other, more positively-associated, things too). But as accurate as the adage may be, that doesn't make it easy.
Aaron and I have now been living with my mom* for a month.
Compromise is the reason we moved away from our home in the first place. There are benefits to both Aaron and me, no doubt - we both have the opportunity to save money, for instance. And my mom is a loving, giving, and fun roomie! But at the same time, I now have a 4+ hour commute to work every day, while Aaron's commute to his new job (which we knew was a significant distance from our home when he took it) has been cut in half.
And it's tough. Spending at least nine hours at work and another four hours in my car every day is seriously wearing on me - even after only a month. I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn't realize quite how draining it would be.
There have been nights where I've called Aaron in tears as I sat in what could very accurately be described as a parking lot at 9 o'clock at night, trying desperately to get home with enough time to check my Facebook and cuddle my dog before I passed out. Only to wake up 5 hours later and do it all over again.
I know I'm not the only person with an awful commute (especially in Los Angeles!) or one-half of the only young couple that's moved back in with mom and dad, but the potential camraderie of this shared experience is one I'd sooner do without.
It's a strain on my energy. It's a strain on my sanity. And, most importantly, it's proven to be a strain on our young marriage. We spend hardly any time together and when we do one or both of us is tired (usually both of us) and cranky (mostly me). More often than I'd like to admit, I consider Aaron and his new job to be the catalyst for our move and I am bitter that his life has been made better by our compromise, while mine has gotten worse.
I'm not truly worried about the state of our marriage. I know we love each other fiercely and this is one small, short experience at the beginning of a lifetime together. I also know that, however much I am struggling in this moment, we are both benefitting greatly in the long-term by the choices and changes we're making in the short-term. And finally, I know that we could have - and probably will have some day - far worse struggles to overcome.
Nonetheless, I am struggling - whether it be with good reason or not - with this first big, real compromise and test of our commitment to each other and our future. I want to find a way to make it easier, not just for me, but for both of us, while also quickly building toward our next step. I don't know what the solution is - undoubtedly, it will involve more compromise, but I know the rest of our lives will. It's just a matter of finding a good balance in that compromise. That delicate evenness where both parties are sacrificing a little and gaining a little, but both in the pursuit of a shared, strongly-desired goal.
We haven't found that balance yet, but we'll work toward it together. And I'm thankful that I have this current experience to guide us and prove that, however hard it may be, we can do it.
*I feel it's necessary to note that my mom is wonderful to live with. She has done laundry for us, cooked meals and made leftovers for us, and watched our sweet puppy girl during those many hours we spend at work and sitting on the freeways. She also always has wine waiting for me. She's a joy; the feeling that we have to rely on her to get where we want to be, is not.