Background: Kal and Beverly dated for almost 3 years prior to moving in together; they have been happily living together for 2 years in an comfortable apartment in the city where they met while in grad school. Neither has been married before and neither has children. They are the same age, and at the time of this inquiry they are 29 years old. Both are working and intend to continue working even after they start their family. Both are able to telecommute for their jobs and work from home. Both intend to equally share in raising the children. They have been discussing marriage and both are keen on the idea except…
The problem: Kal is from a rural area where he happily grew up and would like to return, buy a big plot of land, and start and raise his family in the fresh open air, with lots of space, a big garden and some farm animals, just as he was raised. Beverly grew up in a suburb of a huge mega-city. She prefers city life with all the variety of people, cultures, shopping and activities a big city offers, and wants to raise her children in such an environment. Though Kal and Beverly love each other and do not currently have other major divergences, they each are adamant about where they would be willing to live and raise children. This conflict has put their hopes of marrying each other in jeopardy.
Question: How can this impasse be resolved so that both Kal and Beverly can contentedly live with the decision?
Dr. Vaune’s Relationship Advice: There are several possible solutions to this problem:
- They can flip a coin and the loser promises to give it a go without resentment and with a joyous and cooperative attitude; after all, maybe something new and different will be good for him/her.
- They can live in the country while the children are, let’s say, under 9 years of age and Kal can get his gentleman’s farm going. At that time, funds allowing, they can take an apartment in the city where the kids can spend weekends spreading their cultural wings.
- They can choose to live somewhere in between the urban cultural center and rural lands, get a house with enough land for Kal to express his essential farming tendencies, yet Beverly can easily drive into the heart of the city whenever she likes.
- They can live in the city and spend their weekends at a smaller place in the country. This would preclude having animals, unless someone else cares for them, but at least Kal could get his country fix on a regular basis.
It is important for any couple to keep in mind that raising the children will be only a portion of their married life together. In this instance, sure, with proper parenting the kids can benefit from either scenario and be well equipped citizens of the world. Since neither of them is tied to a particular work location, and they both feel very strongly about their lifestyle values, why not take advantage of both. Not everything in life has to be all or nothing. The children will likely benefit from an especially rich set of childhood memories if they are able to experience both environments; both Kal and Beverly get to provide what they value most to their children—and they get to keep each other.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Please share in the comments.
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