There comes a crucial point in every couple’s relationship when they start talking about their future. She usually dreams romantically with sparkles and everything looking beautiful, while he sees the whole process in a more pragmatic way, taking into the account the cost of the affair and the essential preservation of his manhood.
After two years of dating it was time for Mr Chateauneuf and I to make some important decisions. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing prepared us for severity of our situation – we had completely different views on the subject. By the end of the week of spirited negotiations we reached an impasse. We still loved each other but there was no way forward.
It was still early when I woke up on a Saturday morning. Determined to move out of our dead end, I powered up my laptop and started researching. I figured if Mr Chateauneuf and I were lucky enough to have found each other and build the solid relationship that we did, then surely we could agree on the wallpaper and the furniture for the bedroom.
The difficulty was that I liked white furniture, light textures and painted walls while Mr Chateauneuf insisted on dark mahogany, wallpaper and heavy home accessories.
We have been to home DIY shops so many times that the staff started recognising us and offering us free beverages. My handbag was full of colour swatches, fabric samples and catalogues; his car became our office and restaurant.
So, that morning I was relentlessly ploughing through Google pages of wallpaper, desperately trying to find something, anything that we could agree on.
Mr Chateauneuf woke up as I got to page 10 of my Google search and joined me, by page 15 he went downstairs to make us tea. While waiting for him, I clicked onto page 16 and skimmed through. A pattern in the corner caught my attention.
‘’Look at this!’’, I exclaimed as soon as Mr Chateauneuf got back with the tea. ‘’That’s the best thing I’ve seen so far. What do you think?’’, he asked tentatively. ‘’I don’t hate it. And could probably learn to live with it’’, I replied. We both grinned, this was a major breakthrough.
Later that day we picked up the chosen wallpaper from the DIY store. The more I looked at the print the more I realised I wouldn’t have chosen it if I was decorating by myself. But then Mr Chateauneuf wouldn’t have chosen the colour that I picked, so neither of us got their way and we compromised.
Back at home, as I sat on the bed surrounded by wallpaper and colour swatches, I couldn’t help but wonder, if neither of us got their way and we picked something that we didn’t hate, will we ever agree on anything that we both actually like? And if the trick to a happy relationship is a compromise, then when does a compromise become compromising?
I went downstairs and found Mr Chateauneuf in the garden with the tape measure. He was working out the best place for the summer house he was going to build for me. He beamed as soon as he saw me and immediately bombarded me with ideas as to where it should be, which way it would to face and how we can re-design the garden.
As I was listening to his excited chatter, I realised that the wallpaper, mahogany furniture and the colours didn’t matter. Yes, we have very different tastes and it’s very possible that we won’t agree on everything. But we were making steps towards an agreement, we both were giving in. And if we managed to agree on the wallpaper, then I knew, in time we would learn to agree on other things too.