We were only a few months into our long-distance relationship, but it was no secret that Adam and I were seriously talking about marriage. It also no secret that if he could, Adam would love to raise a family in the same place he grew up.
It was one of our rare weekends we could spend together and this time we chose to spend it in Des Moines, Adam’s hometown. We visited his friends and family, stopping by his old high school hangouts and touring the local sites. As we drove in the car, I imagined my potential life in this place, with his friends, his favorite restaurants and his familiar everything. I couldn’t help feeling that I was the one who may be asked to give up everything.
I was trying to put on a brave face, smiling and answering Adam’s questions as best I could, but inside my thoughts were jumbled and confused.
I was silent, so he asked me what was on my mind. I blurted out how I was wrestling with the idea of giving up my friends, my job, my familiar surroundings all the while it seemed like he didn’t have to. It felt like I was going to be the one to make all the sacrifices, I told him, that a transition to his old home would be a breeze for him – in a way just picking up where he left off. I would be giving up Minnesota – the glorious, beautiful, tree-covered, hip (albeit cold) land of ten thousand lakes!
Adam gently listened to me, he didn’t laugh or belittle my concerns. Yes, Des Moines was one of a few places at the top of his list if we decided to get married, he said. It would be a decision we made together, examining the pros and cons of each opportunity. But no matter what, If I wasn’t okay with where we live, he wouldn’t be okay with it.
He said Des Moines didn’t have to be his place, it could be mine too. Even if we did end up back in Des Moines, we could make it our own. We would find our favorite restaurants, our memorable places and we’d probably make some new friends.
His assurances calmed me and over the next few months we continued to talk about marriage. Adam prepared to graduate from college by applying for some jobs. We considered opportunities in Texas, North Dakota, Minnesota and other places, but ultimately we did end up in Des Moines.
In the end, the decision was rather easy as we examined what we wanted for our marriage and future family. We looked at cost of living, proximity to relatives, and overall quality of living. A goal of ours was for me to be able to have the option to stay at home once we had children, so we also wanted to live where he would have the most career opportunities.
Couples that live out their marriage vows in service to one another both make sacrifices, just in different ways. My marriage is no exception, but I’m so glad we decided to move to Des Moines six-and-a-half years ago! We are setting down roots, making this place our home.
I don’t know if this is where we’ll always be, but I do hope it is. I wouldn’t say that Iowa is like heaven (even if it does have the Field of Dreams), but it is definitely home.
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