He’s a neatnik, but she’s a slob. Or she’s a lover of Victorian antiquities, and he’s obsessed with mid-century modern. Or perhaps she’s a night owl and a light sleeper, while he’s an early riser who can’t keep the volume down. For many people, divorce becomes the only option when they discover that they simply aren’t compatible with the love of their life. But what if there’s another way?
Believe it or not, the answer is yes, there is – unconventional lifestyles. What on earth do we mean by that? Well, in truth we could mean any number of things. That’s what unconventional means – something that doesn’t fit into the standard definition of “normal.” And for some couples, that’s the only reason their relationships survive and thrive. Because they come at them from a completely different perspective!
Marriage doesn’t have to be “normal” to be successful!
A classic example would be world renowned author Robert Parker. Parker was always very public about his adoration of his wife, Joan. They enjoyed a great romance that lasted the duration of his adult life, and were utterly devoted to one another. What made their marriage interesting, though, was the fact that they didn’t live together. Or at least, not together in the sense that most people consider “normal”.
Early in their marriage, the Parkers discovered that they weren’t very happy together. They loved each other dearly, and enjoyed each other’s company, but found living together to be a chore. The friction caused by trying to merge their lives resulted in a two year separation, and a solution that is astoundingly unusual. They bought a large, two story house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, converted it into two entirely separate homes, and moved in. Joan upstairs, and Robert downstairs. And lived happily ever after.
They were only one of a growing number of couples exploring different ways to live.
It sounds odd to most people, a happily married couple living in “apartments” above and below one another. But for the Parkers it worked well. It allowed them to maintain the autonomy and independence they craved, while still providing the opportunity for the daily interaction, love, communication and romance that they enjoyed. Sounds interesting, right? Well, they aren’t the only ones.
Lisa Haisha, world renown relationship counselor to the stars and founder of the Life Coaching Institute SoulBlazing, lives four blocks away from her husband in Hollywood. Why? Because as Lisa explains it, they’re highly compatible on many levels, but their lifestyles are so different. The result, she shares in a Huffpost article, is that these little differences, which may seem irrelevant to many, often grow into petty annoyances that undermine relationships. She and her husband have managed to avoid this by simply choosing to live connected but separate lives.
So what’s the right choice for your marriage? Only you can know that…
You may be wondering what the point is here. Why did we bring this up? Because we wanted to address the issue of “normalcy” within the context of marriage. There are many marriages that fail because the couple isn’t happy with the “standard” for a married people. But what is standard anyway? Some couples pursue their hobbies together, others prefer independent pursuits. Some vacation together, others vacation alone or with friends and family members. Some socialise together, while others keep very independent social calendars.
So what we would like to propose here, is that couples who want their marriages to thrive and not just survive, consider stepping out of “standard” marriage practices. We’re not suggesting that you and your spouse live apart (unless you want to) but rather, we’re suggesting that you spend less time trying to conform unhappily to what is “normal” in a marriage, and instead do what works for your relationship.
If your marriage is failing, but you and your spouse love each other, consider finding alternative ways for your marriage to work. Respect each other’s needs and wants. Be willing to work together to find solutions, however unusual or strange they may be. Think outside the box. There is no carved-in-stone set of rules for what marriage must conform to in order to be a success. So next time you’re faced with a marital problem whose only solution seems outlandish or odd….well, you’ll never know until you try!