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I am so thrilled to welcome my new daughter-in-law, Ramona, into our family. I am incredibly grateful to my son Jonathan for asking her to be his wife, and for joining our family to hers.

I’m confident that Jon and Ramona have the deep love and maturity to have a successful marriage. One sign of that was the way they handled the decision about where to live: his place, hers, or a new place?

Ramona’s two-bedroom condominium is all on one floor. It is in a lovely neighborhood, walking distance to an area of small shops and restaurants and to Lake Washington. Her complex has a pool and clubhouse. Its value has fallen slightly since she bought it, so it’s not a good time to sell it.

Jon’s townhouse also has two bedrooms, but it’s a tall, skinny building with three levels: bedrooms on the top floor, living room and kitchen in the middle, and a garage underneath. His complex has no pool or common area; in four years he has met none of his neighbors. It’s slightly closer to where they both work, but not to restaurants or shops. Its one amenity is a botanical garden just around the corner. Jon has owned his place longer and it has risen in value.

They chose his place, despite the many advantages of Ramona’s condo. Why? Because they knew that they would occasionally need time apart. The three levels of Jon’s town house will give them an opportunity for space and privacy.

Being mathematically inclined, I’ve always viewed the ideal marriage as a Venn diagram of two intersecting circles. Every couple needs intimacy, shared interests and friends. But each person also needs time alone or with other hobbies and friends to grow and expand his or her world.

Jon plays ice hockey, Ramona loves Persian dancing. They overlap a bit in these areas; Ramona can rollerblade along the lakeshore with Jon, and he demonstrated his talent for Persian dancing at the wedding, to our great delight. Both enjoy hiking; Ramona passed our family’s test of hiking to Timberline Lake in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana last summer.

Their understanding of what true love is was evident at their wedding. They were “best friends” for several years before they began dating, and that foundation will take them through all the ups and downs they will encounter.

As for me, I can’t wait to take my TWO daughters on a retreat someday!

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