When I first began to simplify my life, I struggled with accepting that my wife was not interested. My approach was a bit narrow, and yet I expected the person I fell in love with to change based on decisions I was making.
I grew frustrated when I had removed about 75 percent of things I was willing to part with. After several arguments I realized that I was not going to change her, but it was not until I started to get rid of my comics that I began to change my perspective on the stuff in our home.
I had spent the previous 6 years collecting comic books, something I wanted to do as a child but could not afford. When I got my first job after graduate school I went on a buying spree. A couple thousand dollars later, I had cubes and cubes and cubes of bagged, boarded and sorted comic books.
When I told my wife that I intended to start to give these away and sell them, she was concerned.
It was in that moment I realized the appreciation she had for the joy I got from searching for, reading and sharing the books with others. I discovered that I was able to enjoy something, even if I did not find value in it, by appreciating the joy it gives someone else. This was not about her stuff or my stuff, it was about our stuff and the amount of appreciation someone can have for it even if we do not value it intrinsically.
The coffee mugs Rebecca enjoys having on display in our home are something I now appreciate, even if I would be willing to let go of the items in a heartbeat. I appreciate the joy Rebecca gets out of having a variety of mugs for our guests to choose from and discuss. This lesson helped me see the joys of simplicity in my own life while accepting that my partner might not ever join me.
My love and appreciation for Rebecca is not based on how many or how few items she finds value in. Appreciating her appreciation in spite of my own feelings created more space for enjoying the amazing person she is…even though she is not a minimalist.