Like any analogy, this one will fall flat in a few areas. You’ve been warned.
Finding a husband is like buying a house.
While I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to give relationship advice (considering I’ve only been in one!), I used this analogy in a conversation with two of my girlfriends a couple weeks ago and it really resonated with them. So I thought I would give it a shot and blog about it!
When you think about it, both are huge, long-term and expensive commitments. Both of them will have consequences for other people. Both of them come with compromises and sacrifices in finding something that works.
Have you ever watched the show House Hunters? The realtor helps people find a house based on their absolute must-haves. You don’t want to end up with something that simply doesn’t work for your needs and lifestyle. If you want simple yard maintenance, you don’t want to buy a 10 acre farm; if you want room for children to play, you don’t want to get a chic one-bedroom condo in the city.
One important must-have that real estate agents will always tell you is: location, location, location. There are certain things that you simply cannot change about your commitment. Realize there will be certain “locations” in your partner that can’t be changed.
Not only do you need to think about what works for you now, but you have to be able to grow into it. When you look for a house to “settled down” in, you think about your future. Your children. Your job. When you find a husband, you also need to think about settling down. Is this relationship something that will allow you to grow? Will you and your partner be supportive of each other as your grow, change and discover new things? Even in just the short four years that my husband and I have been together, we have made big changes in our life (i.e. me returning to school). When Erik and I were dating, we also talked about whether or not I was okay with him pursuing a PhD. We discussed the future because we wanted to make sure we could grow into each other.
Life changes. There are some modifications that you can make, but most of them are fairly superficial, unless you’re willing to invest a ton of time and money. Big changes are very hard to make, and sometimes they are simply impossible. Some people think they can go into a relationship and the person will change. Well, that’s kind of like buying a house and assuming you can move it to a different town, or thinking that you can turn your one-bedroom condo will turn into your four bedroom McMansion. You just can’t. Some things you’re just stuck with.
Compromises are a fact of life. Real estate agents are always saying there is no perfect house, and I think in a lot of ways that’s true about a relationship. It’s hard to find someone who fits what you’re looking for completely, just like it’s hard to find a house that fits everything you want completely. I think it’s best to have 3-5 must-haves for your house and for your partner. If you have too few must-haves, you risk wasting a lot of time and possibly getting yourself into an unhealthy relationship. If you have too many must-haves, then it becomes too unrealistic for you to find something and you’ll probably pass up a lot of great possibilities.
I’m not saying that people should settle, but I also think it’s setting yourself up for a lot of heartache and frustration if you have an idealized image in your head of what a partner is going to be like. Coming to terms with certain flaws in a husband or in a house might just open you up to an amazing life that you otherwise would have rejected. That being said, I see a lot of women who stay in relationships because they are sorta-kinda-mostly happy with their relationship. They aren’t sure if they should stay together or if they should break up and there are a lot of uncertainties. I don’t think that anyone can ever make a commitment with full certainty, but I do think having a clear picture of what you and your partner are looking for will make things much better. It’s such a cliche to say communicate with each other, but it’s true.
If location is the name of the game in real estate, communication is the name of the game in relationships. As hard as that is, you cannot make a decision without it.