Last year, my wife Diane and I decided to take an inventory of our lives, relationship, and future. At the time we were both living comfortably, with over $100K in annual earnings to show for it, but there was something missing. It wasn’t kids, pets, or lavish trips, no. We needed an injection of passion and excitement into a life that had grown stale over the better part of a decade. That’s when we decided to make a drastic change. We decided to cut the proverbial fat and went all-in on a cozy 174-square foot tiny home, and, I’ve got to say, it has completely revolutionized how my wife and I fight.
Just twelve months ago, Diane and I were living in a cumbersome four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence, free from any drama, and now we engage in all-night shouting matches on whether or not we should throw out the slow cooker because it’s taking up too much counter space. That’s the kind of fire we’ve long been lacking in our relationship. The almost-nonexistent storage space has forced us to only rely on the essentials. Early in our relationship you would never think that we would get into vicious knock-em-down, drag-em-out altercations about water usage in a home that fits comfortably on a truck bed, but we dared to dream. Many coworkers and friends ask me, “why would you want to live like that?” and I always answer with an exhausted, “why not?” Who needs space, time and hobbies, independent from their beloved, when the enraged bellows of marital misery can easily echo through our tiny bungalow, igniting years of loveless complacency.
What else has changed, you ask? For one, Diane and I do more sleeping on the pull-out couch and sleep loft, respectively. The limited space has all but eliminated chances of having much-needed friends over for soirees, which is good because it now allows more time for deep-thinking about the choices we’ve made, and where it all went so wrong. The decision to downsize also saved us an immense amount of money. The cost for construction and building materials were a mere $56,000, leaving us more than enough money to fund consultations with divorce attorneys and intensive couples counseling sessions.
Sure, from an outside perspective it may seem like I’m miserable, but do you understand the rush of adrenaline that comes from screaming into the throw pillows that were, “non-negotiable,” after an evening-long quarrel about solar panels to make our little place of love more eco-friendly?
Some say happiness has completely left me. Not at all, my wife and I are extremely happy at our jobs because they are a welcome respite from countless hours of verbal spars about compost piles and de-clutter. We’ve been able to gain lasting friendships with our respective bartenders for fear of coming home to the other and getting into it for a sixth consecutive night.
If you would have told me seven years ago, when I first met Diane, that we would be screaming at the top of our lungs about why we only have two sets of silverware and have to empty our latrine in a KOA campground like we live in some post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque hellscape, I would’ve said you were out of your mind. But, now that I am in the thick of it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My blood is constantly boiling, and she gets the opportunity to walk on eggshells IN HER VERY OWN TINY HOME. The anger that wells up in us every time my wife and I dodge glances, is only matched by the good our extreme efficiency is doing for the environment. And that’s the greatest gift of all.
So is it worth all the money you saved? Well, let me put it this way… when I look into the eyes of my spouse as she does dishes in our bathroom-kitchen hybrid and I see the eternal look of resentment on her face, well, you can’t put a price tag on that.