So I have not only the privilege of living with my husband, but also three other adults. We live in what you could call an intentional Christian community. Google that phrase and you’ll get over 800,000 hits. For us that simply means we live together, we aspire to have real authentic relationship with one another, we all chip in for our food, utilities, and rent, we share in the chores, and we do our best to support and care for one another. Oh yeah and we all love Jesus. Along with that we have our separate, jobs, churches, and friends. Our home though is a place where we and others can gather and share in life together.
Coming back to this I think part of the key to our shared home is our shared love for Jesus and people. Othewise we’d just be 5 really different people vying for ourselves. We need something that unites us. Don’t get me wrong. We are far from perfect, but we strive to have a peaceful home.
Anyway since punching people in the face is neither a productive nor godly way to live among house mates here are some of the ways I’ve managed to live with 4 adults and not go mental.
- Pick your battles I do this little debate close to everyday. Should I say something about it or should I just let it roll off my shoulders. Ninety percent of the time it’s not worth it, but I’m figuring out much better what 10% is. That thing housemate does over and over again and frustrates you. Worth saying something. Housemate was in a hurry and did something I find annoying, but normally never does. Shake that off.
- Keep communication alive Thankfully in our house we’re pretty good at this. We text, have house meetings (though not as frequently as I’d like), leave notes, and talk to one another face to face. I remember at camp there would be some co-counselors who would shut down. They’d be passive about decisions and generally get quiet. Hell always breaks loose when this happens. I’ve forced myself to talk about things that bothered me knowing the alternative was worse than the discomfort of the conversation. But on that note…
- Don’t talk about others behind their backs Also had to deal with this working at camp. Now I’ll admit I’ve ranted about everyone in my house to my husband and even back when he was only my fiance. I don’t generally complain, but sometimes I store up the frustration until it floods out. But these conversations are private, generally used to get another perspective, and kind. Gossiping is never okay, and I always try to keep in mind if I would be comfortable with the person being talked about hearing what I say. But considering rule one sometimes you have legitimate frustrations, but they don’t need to be talked out with the person, because a lot of times the things you get frustrated about are actually issues within you. You needing to let go of control. You needing to respect others. You needing to cut some slack. Your acting like a martyr when no one asked you to do anything.
These ideas probably seem like common sense-though as my parent’s would say, if common sense were common everyone would have it (parent’s can be so smug!)-but I think it’s so easy to let these simple things slide.
One day you look up and realize you’re those hilarious (but probably challenging to live with) people who communicate through passive aggressive notes.
Anyway if you like so many of us are living with other adults whether it’s your parents, your spouse, or housemates, I hope I gave you some good advice. Plus you found someone who gets it (and I get it times 4). Tell me your stories! Any awkward note leaving, ever felt tempted to count every fry from your leftovers, any joys (because I swear most days I really love living with these people)?
Your Adulting Comrade,