Minimalism in marriage: when you’re a minimalist and he is not!

I’ve been asked this question alot: How did you get your husband on board with your minimalistic lifestyle?

Minimalism in marriage can be tough! I’ve recently become more of a minimalist in my life. (You can read my story here) While this happened over time and gradually in my heart, my husband wasn’t aware of it. It wasn’t something that we’d learned about or grown with together.It was something that I pondered and began putting into action slowly. So when I did approach the subject with Hubby, he was surprised.

While there was a certain amount of hesitancy and resistance on his part, we eventually worked it out. Because of our different styles of raising, different backgrounds, different homes, we had different views on the subject. Hubby is more of a pack-rat and I have always been more of a “less-is-more” girl. So we had our challenges.

minimalism in marriage

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As I’ve read the comments to a previous post on minimalism, I realized that many women want to be more minimalistic, but their husbands do not want to or give them a hard time. Here are a few tips!

1. Identify your partner.

Obviously before you can even chat about any changes you would like to see in your home or lifestyle, you will have to determine your partners’ tendencies. Is he a collector or a purger? If he is like you, no problem! But that is not often the case. Determining his tendency will help with your approach to the inevitable conversation, how you handle his reaction and what the outcome will be.

2. Communicate.

This is a good rule of thumb with any marriage and marital issue, but especially when you expect conflict.

  • Pray. Before you discuss the issue with your husband, pray about it. Pray about your words – that they will be uplifting and respectful. Pray about your husbands reaction – that it will not be all negative. You never how the the Lord can work in his heart!
  • Do talk about it! Don’t just decide that talking about the issue won’t help. Give it a chance. Communicate! Too many people decide before an issue is even discussed that it will end badly, so they don’t try.
  • Be kind. Sometimes when we women get an idea into our heads about our domain -the home- we communicate harshly and we talk “down” to Hubby as we would to a child. This does not help your cause! Talk to Hubby with kind words and don’t be combative. Don’t demand that he get rid of his movie collection or model cars.
  • Share your heart. Explain why you think this would be a good move in your home or lifestyle. Explain what your expectations would be. Share why you are passionate about it. He cannot read your mind.

3. Reach an understanding.

Hopefully your conversation will not end in screams and hurt feelings. Hopefully you can reach an understanding. An understanding may not be formed immediately, but an open mind should be a result.

  • Ask questions. Allow Hubby to ask questions and discover more about the meaning of minimalism to you and what your expectations are for it. Don’t take offense to his questions. If your Hubby is anything like mine, he just wants more info! Ask Hubby questions in return!
  • Be cooperative. If Hubby is not totally on board, don’t force it! If Hubby is willing to move toward you a bit by getting rid of half his model cars, move toward him and accept it!
  • Be creative. Your home is your home together. He must feel comfortable with decisions made. You may have one idea in mind, but Hubby may have an alternative idea that you mayn’t have thought about. Brainstorm with each other about solutions. Daydream about goals and dreams you have. And be creative when it comes to minimalism. Minimalism doesn’t come in a box with a one size fits all. It’s different for every family.

4. Know that things change.

When I first began my rampage against possessions and my move toward minimalism was growing, Hubby was surprised and apprehensive about being as hardcore as I was. He needed to hear more and see more. He needed time to adjust. Since that initial response, Hubby has slowly changed a bit in his thinking. But it has taken time. The more Hubby saw what minimalism was to me, the more he appreciated it.

For me minimalism was about making our lives simpler. Not having as much clutter in the kitchen to sort through when I wanted a specific plate dish. Having more breathable space in our small apartment. Making room for the arrival of our first baby. Scaling back Christmas decorations because I didn’t want 7 boxes of ornaments to sort through every year. When Hubby realized that it wasn’t about throwing stuff out, but that it was about a simpler lifestyle, he totally grasped it! He’s slowly moved towards me in this thinking pattern and has embraced the idea of a simpler life. It’s taken time and change has occurred.

While I’m not saying that changing your husband is your goal here, I am saying that if and when change occurs, it will probably happen slowly and over time. So be patient!

What has helped win your hubby over to minimalism?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Well Danielle, I can’t say I’ve won my husband over, but we have found ways to coexist. Each of us has some of our own “zones” where we can keep what we like. I think the best way to bring a spouse along is to live honestly, with integrity, to the principles we believe in… and then let them watch “up close” how well they work. It isn’t easy, though. This is good advice!

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