Picture this: you’re officially married to the love of your life. You’ve had a beautiful wedding, you’ve spent an incredible week at a romantic honeymoon spot, and now it’s time to officially begin your life as a married couple. You get an Uber from the airport, still glowing from your week of rest, relaxation, and romance, and get ready to head home…to your parent’s house.
Not exactly the idyllic fantasy you had in mind? The truth is, this situation is more common than you might think. Between the rising cost of living, the weight of personal debt like student loans, and the sky-high housing market in many major cities, more and more millennial newlyweds have no choice but to live at home after they tie the knot.
There’s no shame in living with your folks while you and your spouse save up for your own place or make alternative living arrangements. However, if you’re going to put everyone in one house, there are a few things you need to know. Here are a few tips to help you navigate living with your family when you’re newly married.
Ground Rules Are Essential
If you are even considering moving in with your parents (or your in-laws, or your grandparents, or any other family members) after your wedding, the first thing you should do is sit down with your family and have a heart-to-heart. Make sure everyone is on the same page with your living arrangements, and make sure you all know what to expect from the situation.
All family members should have the opportunity to set boundaries and lay ground rules for the household. Do you expect privacy and to be treated like an adult? Say so! Do your parents want you to do your share of housework and let them know if you’ll be home for dinner? Let them have their say. If you all work together to establish rules that everyone can live with, the house will be a much more harmonious place, and when you’re settling into married life, harmony is always helpful.
Remember that You’re All Adults
Diane Barth, a New York-based psychotherapist, once told the Chicago Tribune that many newlyweds fall into a common trap when they move in with family: one half of the couple begins to act like a child. See, while this living situation is new for one of the newlyweds, it’s old hat for the other. Returning to their parents’ home (in some cases, even their childhood home) can cause old patterns to reemerge—and the result is a fully grown, married person acting like a teenager.
Do your best to avoid this habit if you and your spouse move in with your family. Not only will this behavior irritate your parents, but it’s also bound to be off-putting to your partner! Remember that everyone in your household is an adult, and everyone should act like it! Treat your parents less like caregivers and more like roommates, as this will ensure you take responsibility for your own actions in the house.
Keep Your Marriage a Mystery
Many couples go through an adjustment period after getting married (especially if they didn’t live together before the big day). They may have to get used to each other’s weird habits, they may butt heads over household rules, or they may simply struggle with the realities of married life (like the difficulties of paying bills). These struggles are totally normal, and most couples navigate the storm and come out stronger on the other side—but if you let other people weigh-in, you can have a real mess on your hands.
It may be tempting to vent your frustration to your mom (especially when she’s right in the next room) but this can put a wedge between you and your partner at a very important time in your marriage. If you’re going to live with family, make sure your marital tiffs are not up for discussion.
When you first get married, it’s usually best not to talk about your marital strife with other people. (I say “usually” because, of course, there are exceptions; if you’re in an abusive situation or if you or your spouse might harm themselves, absolutely seek help from others!) Keeping your issues under wraps gives you and your spouse the chance to work it out on your own, and the conflict resolution skills you learn will help you navigate arguments in the future.
Make Time for Romance
Alright, people: let’s talk about sex. When you are newly married, you might want to be going at it all the time…but when your parents are watching Friends reruns in the next room, it does tend to kill the mood.
If you’re going to live with your parents as newlyweds, it’s important that you make time to keep the spark alive with your spouse. Plan for weekly date nights, consider a weekend getaway (when you can afford it, of course), and do your best to be romantic with each other in any way you can. This will keep you two feeling like newlyweds even when you can’t get busy all the time—and there will be plenty of time for that once you have your own space.