Imagine the first years of your marriage. Some of you may in fact still be living those first few years and the imagination may not have to stray too far back. In those first few years, several things happen. Of those several things there is the learning of oneself. Few relationships in life teach an individual more about him/herself as the relationship of marriage. We often learn how well we do or do not share things. We learn how much together time we truly do enjoy spending with that special someone and how much time we need alone (yes, even married people need time to be alone). And more if not most importantly is the way in which we learn how to be transformed, sanctified, and grown into the images that Christ has always intended us to become. Along with that transformational process there is one other thing we tend to learn in the course of marriage
We learn about one another.
As the seasons change so too does the need for the temperature in the house to be adjusted accordingly. For most people to walk down the hall, into the bedroom, or wherever else a home may house the thermostat would be no matter of serious mental anguish. But, think for a second about who it was that controlled the thermostat in your home growing up?
For some of us, we grew up in a single parent home. Perhaps that single parent was a mother and as such she was the one responsible for paying the bills, making all of the final family decisions, and yes, she was in charge of controlling the thermostat. So for the sons she raised, it was not big deal for them to feel like they had the liberty to either adjust the thermostat to accommodate the varying weather conditions or at minimum ask her to do the adjusting. Thus the thermostat control was egalitarian - shared amongst all inhabitants of the home.
Suppose the home involved a set of married parents. In this alternative home, the father was the one who made all of the financial decisions, restaurant choices, and was the end all be all temperature control in the home. Thus, for his children it was normal for the man to be the one who warms and/or cools the house as the need arises.
Now suppose the son of the single mother and the daughter of the married couple gets married. As the weather ebbs and flows, the now new wife finds herself at a cross-purpose. Does she tell her husband that she is sweating in the middle of the summer and all of a sudden throw off the homeostasis of the ways in which a home is run? Does she even feel like she has the place in their lives as a couple to make the adjustment? Does the husband even realize that he needs to tell her she has free reign over the home's temperature and thus causes her to feel even more out of place in her need to temperature control?
The conundrum sounds juvenile, but the issue is far from it. All too often we enter into our marriages with preconceived notions about how a marriage, a home, and a family is supposed to be run. Those notions are a direct result of the ways in which we saw them lived and run by our families of origin. We. Must. Talk. To. One. Another. There is nothing wrong with the different ways families are run - in fact, more often than not, couples make decisions about the way things are dealt with and then never think about it again. But for that newly married couple, or even for those of you who have been married for years, it might be an interesting time to sit and have a conversation about who controls the thermostat.