The first year of marriage is hard; getting all your finances on the same track under your married name and trying to figure out how to live with someone 24/7? Even if you’ve spent almost every waking hour of your relationship together, marriage is just another level of stress. Now throw in a potential move! If you can survive all of this and change home, you can pretty much swim with sharks and survive.
My husband and I were living happily ever after about six months into our marriage when the tornadic winds began to blow. His company was moving the department from Dallas, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada; one of those situations where you either go or you don’t have a job. There were many sleepless nights as well as days full of serious conversations before our decision was made. We moved our entire lives to another state and lived to tell the tale. But not everyone has our story. Not everyone is forced to move. Some people make this choice on their own. Maybe you want to sow your wild oats as a couple before you start a family. Maybe you want to live in a lush green valley instead of a frozen tundra. There are hundreds of scenarios about relocating that you might face in marriage. No matter your story, make sure you make the decision together and thoroughly discuss every aspect of this big decision!
Discuss Before the Wedding
Many people are excited about getting married and living with their new spouse in their little house with their little circle of friends. Moving suddenly to a strange place isn’t supposed to just happen after you unite in marriage and it isn’t something you want always want to think about. However, it’s healthy to sit down and just talk about how each of you would handle something like a job transfer, or if moving to another city or state is something you would really love to do for fun.
So, before getting married, discuss what you would do if one of you was forced to relocate. We did months of marriage counseling through the Catholic church before we could get married, and this was one of the questions we had to answer. We thought it was crazy at that time. We thought there was no way this could happen to us, but it forced us to talk about what we would do if faced with the decision, giving us a great jumpstart when we had to do it for real months later.
Make a Plan
Moving can be overwhelming, whether it’s one city away or 2000 miles, so sitting down together and mapping things out can beneficial to your sanity. Write out the pros and cons of the move if it something you’re just considering instead of being forced into. Of course, you are going to start a new life wherever you move and everything will be different. This might be exciting or might terrify both of you.
Make a list of all of the things you will need to change. This list includes things like: all financial paperwork, new utilities, finding new healthcare providers, auto registrations, new schools if you have kids, and all forms of identification. If you’ve ever moved in the past, bring this knowledge to the table! Talk to your fiance about all you had to do both professionally and personally. Now you will be doing these things together so it might be easier, but some things and decisions will be big changes and need more thought.
Will you rent or buy a home? Start looking online together at homes, so you can get prices in mind as well as include property taxes and HOA fees. Talk about how your budget might change, paying special attention to the new job situation. If one of you is taking a new job, where will the other work? Can they work remotely or will they need to find someplace new? This will be a huge part of the budget discussion. If one of you is leaving a job all together, make sure you can afford life on one paycheck indefinitely since a new job isn’t always an easy guarantee.
Finally, talk about the actual act of moving possessions. Will you move everything yourselves or hire a moving company? Talk about transporting vehicles and if you will bring any moving items with you in them. Making a plan simply means thinking of all the things you will need to do to ensure your transition goes as smoothly as possible. Planning will help you manage your stress levels as you dive into this new chapter of your lives.
Each of you may have a totally different outlook on such a big change in your marriage. You may love the thought of starting over somewhere different and living life to the fullest, while your partner may be happy with the life you’ve created together and be scared to death to rock the boat. No matter what, be supportive and open with one another. If they are being transferred, put yourself in their shoes and realize all of the changes they are making on a professional level as well. Do whatever you can to make them feel safe and special because their home and work life are being turned upside down. The stress levels might pull at both of you and make home life a mess. Remember your love for each other and find the good in each day. Don’t let the stress of the decision take over your marriage. Take time out of the day to talk about the move and how each of you are feeling about it.
If a move is something that will continue to rip you apart as a couple, don’t do it! There are other jobs. Other opportunities might not be as good as the carrot that dangles in front of this new position, but nothing is more important than you and your spouse.
I cannot say the decision was fast or easy. Three years have passed in our new chapter and we have made it. It has made our marriage stronger as we navigate the rocky waters of the unknown together. For us, the decision to move came down to finances and a chance to do something different together. You will know best what works for your marriage. Think of being in a big ocean as the boat rocks, and it’s just you and your husband. Can you enjoy the ride or will you jump ship? The way you answer that question is the bottom line to this big decision!