Home, let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you. —Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
My husband Thomas and I have a chart of all the times that we have moved in the course of our six-year relationship.
The total is between 7 to 16 times that we have either helped each other move or moved together since becoming a couple. (The number depends on whether we count only permanent moves or include all the temporary ones as well.) We’ve had addresses in seven different cities and three different states since we’ve known each other. There has even been multiple houses in the majority of those places. No matter how you measure it, the two of us have moved around quite a bit in recent years.
Understanding where “home” is in the midst of all these changes has been a challenge for us. Neither of our families live close to where we are now, and we left behind friends that are like family when we most recently moved from Oahu to the Big Island in Hawaii. We are making some new close friends where we live now and have a great church community, but both Thomas and I have complicated feelings about being far away from so many of the people that we love. In addition, even though I’ve been here for over three years now, I struggle with the fact that I never intended moving to Hawaii to be permanent. After all this time, my heart longs to feel settled, but I don’t really know when or where that will be possible.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting on a piece of advice that Thomas and I received when we were moving and getting married at the same time last year: “This transition will be challenging,” two of our married friends assured us, “but it really is the best thing for you to go off on your own like this when you are newlyweds.” What?!, I thought, How could moving yet again be a good thing for us? We need stability! But they insisted, “Embrace this time and let it strengthen and enrich your marriage.”
As they continued to explain, our two friends had also moved far away from their family and friends only a couple weeks after their wedding. In fact, they didn’t just move to another island, but halfway across the world to a military base in a foreign country. Our friends were convinced that making the big move together was a defining point in their relationship. They were forced to lean on each other throughout that adventurous time, and were able to develop a strong identity as couple when they were on their own. Being away from the stability of what they used to think of as “home” turned out to be a good thing for their marriage.
In light of that, Thomas and I found out this week that we will be moving again in a couple of months. This time the move will just be to another apartment, but it’s still hard to face the prospect of uprooting ourselves for what feels like the umpteenth time in recent years. However, this impending move is reminding me of the fact that building a home with Thomas isn’t about buying a house or settling down in a particular place. Creating a life together is about learning to rely on each other and having a deeper and stronger relationship. I may crave a longer-term living situation or wish for more permanency in my life right now, but I don’t need those things to be at home. My true home is wherever my husband is, wherever our love is.
So whether we’re in Washington or Hawaii—Alabama or Arkansas—darling, I’m coming home!
Photography: Flickr/ TimOve