One day, both Jim and Mary receive an email that made them pause and nearly panic in their tracks. Their parents were coming to spend some time to look at how things were in their home. See, the thing about this was that neither had had their parents come over at the same time. There was a good reason for this.
Mary’s mom was pretty protective of her daughter. Jim was not good enough or man enough for her daughter. In some circles, it was easy to conclude that Mary’s mom felt that Jim had stolen her baby a bit too prematurely. Had Mary grown up a little more, she’d realize that Jim was not her best choice. There was others who would have provided her way more happiness, joy, comfort, treats, and trips.
Jim’s dad was not thrilled about the way his son was not being respected by Mary’s family. He had often encouraged Jim to put stricter boundaries around the access Mary’s family had to her. This would spare him the constant complaints and issues that came up around his ability to provide for his wife.
The day of the wedding, it was clear that there was a bit of tension that was present. Both sets of parents had many opinions to share and lots of feedback that was not asked for. Fortunately, they had both enough class to keep themselves civil. The days after the honeymoon, the parentals decided to put a little distance to let time play out the score.
Now, they wanted to come and inspect things. Look things over. Watch for any signs that paradise was not as great as the letters and phone calls suggested it was. The competing values and sensitivities meant that the house was going to feel ultra small very quickly.
Later that evening, Jim and Mary sat in total panic. They didn’t have a plan and they would have to move around way too many commitments to accommodate the sets of parents. Would this be the first time in years to use their accrued vacation time? Was this the best use of vacation time?
Then, there was the matter of their house. Their living space. Their never updated fixer that needed some TLC. They had been too busy to worry about fixing anything. With their credit a bit stretched thin, having a contractor come and redo all the things that needed redoing, well that would put their wallets at break point.
While Jim’s dad and Mary’s mom were at odds with each other, the other two parents were very quiet about their disapproval of how busy their children were. Their lack of attention to each other had set them up for a serious case of parallel living, the very root of many breakups in the ranks of professionals like Jim and Mary.
After a few price quotes and frantic rescheduling of many activities, a contractor was found that made sense. The overhaul was not going to be massive. The use of a decorator would uplift the home and give it a new feel. The actual work to upgrade the home was not as much as they thought, most of the repairs were cosmetic.
What did emerge from the high pressure dialogue was that Jim and Mary had developed differing tastes in life. They wanted different colors. She wanted rustic he wanted modern. She needed many additional decorative touches, he wanted open space. She favored warm he favored practicality. They both were certain they could speak for the other and got highly annoyed when they didn’t get to voice their choice.
Turns out, they had been to busy for the non-sexy things of love. Now they were feeling the frustration and pain of being disconnected. This clearly was dampening their sexy feeling as a couple. The process of deciding what to do had turned into a major corporate take-over bid. Mary had no plans of losing. It was her house after all. She ran the show. Jim was not happy that his command as the head of the household meant precious little in the plans of decorating the house.
While Jim did not want to bring the opinions of his mom into the plans, Mary felt that his resistance to her taste and logics stemmed from him being a momma’s boy, something he greatly resented with extreme venom. Worse, Jim was certain that Mary’s dad’s cabin had influenced the preference for rustic themes to their home.
How did they miss all the difference in taste while dating and married. Why was this such a bid deal now? The one time they needed to swiftly agree and move forward to get ready for this unexpected visit.
The very fabric of their personal safety net was totally frayed and left them hanging precariously on the edge of the abyss of marital failure. The years of being ultra busy was now cashing in on their relationship. They were essentially strangers in a house trying to figure if they wanted to continue this charade.