Frequent readers of this blog, and people who know myself and my husband well, know two things about us. One, I enjoy working in cafes and Two, my husband does not like cafes at all.
The difference between the two viewpoints stems from our upbringing and socialization. My husband is an only child, raised in a household so quiet you can hear a pin drop. I was the eldest of 4, and the babysitter of many others. Noise was an ever-present reality in my life for 20 years and so it hardly impacts my ability to work and socialise. My partner, however, finds any noise above the sound of a boiling kettle invasive and thus finds social workplace an absolute nightmare.
I’ll give you two guesses as to who enjoys open-plan offices, and who doesn’t.
So, as a married couple, what do we do about this difference? I enjoy working with noise and music. I enjoy sunlight and activity around me, which is one reason that I enjoy working in cafes.
My husband prefers silence. He prefers to be surrounded by his books in our quiet living room and for the room to be as cool and dark as a server room.
One of the ways we have kept our marriage happy and fulfilling is by outlining areas where compromise is necessary, and where compromise simply won’t work. In this case, compromise won’t work and we need to keep our working styles separate. I work from a lively location, my husbamd works somewhere quiet, and at the end of the day we reunite and talk about our experiences. Other activities, like grocery shopping and weekend activities, are compromised. It’s comforting to know the areas that are worth negotiating this early in our relationship so we don’t waste time on fruitless efforts, and we can both end our weeks feeling happy with how we spent our time.