I saw a greeting card in a store just this weekend that said “May Your House Always Be Too Small For All Your Friends”. This sentiment really hit home with me, especially considering I had just bought a house (condo) the day before.
The Boss and I purchased — against all the doom and gloom advice of TV Financial Pundits — a condo that, amazingly, hit all our widgets for what we wanted in a home. In DC. Dog friendly. Running/Cycling friendly. Quiet street, but walking distance to urban frenzy. Safe neighborhood. Tons of space. Near our friends.
Now, that last criteria we both mentioned with a little hesistation. Should we really decide where to live based on where our friends live? It seemed a little silly to let your friend’s house buying decisions dictate your own.
Except, not really. While The Boss and I enjoy each others company, and hope to spend many years with each other, I don’t think we pretend that our social needs are met exclusively by each other. In a great article published by the New York Times, the “isolation of marriage” is discussed, and it mentions:
Until 100 years ago, most societies agreed that it was dangerously antisocial, even pathologically self-absorbed, to elevate marital affection and nuclear-family ties above commitments to neighbors, extended kin, civic duty and religion.
These social committments — family, neighbors, community — are important to us, and we don’t want to isolate ourselves away from it. As much as we enjoy a quiet dinner together, we want a kitchen table that can fit our families and our friends.
The article continues on to say:
Instead, we should raise our expectations for, and commitment to, other relationships, especially since so many people now live so much of their lives outside marriage. Paradoxically, we can strengthen our marriages the most by not expecting them to be our sole refuge from the pressures of the modern work force. Instead we need to restructure both work and social life so we can reach out and build ties with others
Now, I don’t think for a second either one of us consciously thought that we can strengthen our relationship by living in a neighborhood that we already claim as part of our community. And when I look for comfort in my home, I want to come home to him, not all my neighbors. But I’m glad that we chose a place near a community that we feel we have ties to. And I hope that no matter where we live, our home is always too small for all of our friends.