The wedding is done and the honeymoon is now just a perfumed memory of relaxation and enjoyment with your new spouse, and now that person is part of your home. Even though couples are living together more often before marriage, the jolt of living together in a forever-committed relationship can be surprising. If you are moving in together for the first time after marriage, you may find even more things to learn and share.
1. Couples Must Find a New Balance
One of the strangest things about living together is that, after spending so much time dating and wanting more time together, you sometimes need your “alone” time. Married couples moving in together often fall on one of two sides. Either they at first continue living lives that only occasionally connect, like when they were single, or they spend every waking minute together and have a hard time getting things done that they enjoy in their free time.
A good balance requires that each person prioritizes time together, while also prioritizing some individual alone time for hobbies and personal goals. Keeping in mind, balance that works for each couple will always be different, so it is important to set unique goals without comparing with other couples.
2. You Need a Division of Labor
In many couples nowadays, both partners work outside the home, so it makes sense that many household chores should be divided equally or determined proportionally by number of hours worked. However, one interesting benefit of traditional gender roles was that both people in the relationship knew what was expected and knew when they were succeeding. So, while gender roles should definitely change as needed, defined contributions to household work are quite helpful.
Knowing if you are going to be the one to take out the trash, wash the dishes, or scrub the tub helps you to make sure that your part is fulfilled and allows your spouse to hold themselves accountable as well. If no one defines what each person will do, generally the messier spouse will do much less than the spouse who is naturally more neat and tidy, creating resentment. Avoid the resentment and create a great living environment by defining what each person wants to do and reasonably can do, given other responsibilities.
3. You Should Be Proactive About What’s Not Working
Whining isn’t pretty, but it happens in a lot of couples. Rather than either quietly putting his socks in the hamper where they belong, or having an honest conversation about how tidy the bedroom should be, it can be tempting to just snidely remark that the socks were on the floor again.
However, this kind of snide remark isn’t just innocent. It can undermine the feelings of respect and love that keep a marriage healthy. When you know that something isn’t a big deal, try to bite your tongue. If you find that you are biting your tongue a lot, it’s time to have an actual conversation and try to remedy the situation.
4. There Are Many Ways of Living
Everything from the way he brushes his hair to the way she cooks pasta may seem strange for a while because you and your spouse did not grow up in the same house. It’s important to be able to recognize, as soon as possible, that each of you have valid ways to live even if they are different. If you’ve lived with roommates before, you remember dismissing some of their behaviors as strange but perfectly fine. In a committed relationship, many people find that it stresses them out to have disagreements on little things, like how to load a dishwasher.
This is not great for the relationship because you simply aren’t the same person. Give your spouse the same leniency you give a roommate. By accepting that they will do some things differently from you, perhaps even in ways that you don’t like, you will reduce strife in your home and you’ll start to realize that there are actually multiple valid ways to do the many daily tasks you two share.
5. There Is Always More Room to Learn About Each Other
While all the other lessons you’ve read may be hard lessons to understand, this one is more of a treasure. Many relationships get to the point where you feel like you’ve talked about everything you could discuss. The nice thing about marriage and sharing a home with someone is that there will always be things to learn about even the most stable or predictable spouse. You see each other through all manner of life’s difficulties and joys, and because of that you really can’t be bored for long.
The first years of marriage are likely to teach you even more things than this, but knowing a few of the lessons in advance can certainly make the transition a smoother road.