Helpful Advice For Starting Your New Life Out Right
It was a little over two years ago that I tied the knot and moved into a new home with the love of my life. With two years of marriage under my belt, I was asked recently by a soon-to-be-married friend if I had any tips or advice about moving in together after they’re hitched. So I racked my brain, relived some great memories, consulted some experts and told her this:
Talk about money
You both work hard for the money, so deciding what to do with it is a team effort. According to this Huffington Post article, Sharon Gilchrest O’Neil, author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage said, “I have only seen two or three couples where both partners have viewed money exactly the same.” Is one of you a spender and one of you a saver? Make a plan, create a household budget that you both can live with, and stick with it. It’s also important to decide whether you’ll have a joint bank account or separate ones. Here’s a post about the pros and cons of a joint bank account to help you decide.
Decide roles for household tasks
Similar to money issues, expectations for household chores are HUGE when it comes to moving in together. If one of you is a neat-freak and the other leans more towards slob, there could be trouble on the home front. Take some time to talk about expectations; decide the roles each of you will take on when it comes to household chores (whether done jointly or separately). Will you do the laundry while he takes out the trash? Does the bed need to be made every day, or can you both deal with disheveled sheets? What about grocery shopping, washing dishes, and cleaning the bathroom?
Figure out your living situation
If you happen to be living with relatives until your wedding day, you can choose a new house together to start married life. But, if you’re living separately in your own homes (or apartments), you may have a difficult choosing what to do for a home. Will one of you move into the other’s house, or will you choose a home that’s new to both of you. Do you want to live in a house or apartment? What about buying or renting? What’s the budget for the new home? It’s important to take time to discuss what’s best for your relationship and financial situation.
Purge your stuff
Take a good look at the wedding gifts you received and what you both brought to the new place, then decide which items to keep and what to get rid of. If you decide to pick out new furniture or new things for the house (maybe with some of those gift cards), it’s fun (and good for the relationship) to do it together.
Consider having a garage sale to get rid of the things you don’t need (or want). You could make some money to put toward your first-year anniversary celebration! Here are some tips on how to have a successful garage sale.
You could also donate your items to charity and get a tax deduction when you file your taxes together for the first time. Here is a great list of things to donate when you’re moving to get you started.
Side note: This may not be the best time to get rid of his favorite nasty, stinky t-shirt… wait until at least year 5 for that.
Ah, the “C” word. When it comes to marriage, you’ll be doing a lot of this. It’s human nature to want to keep things as familiar as possible. You’ve lived your whole life to this point doing things your own way and now you’re meshing lives with someone who may do things completely different. I like to think of things in terms of “deal-breakers.” Is his crazy way of folding towels or that he doesn’t make effective use of space in the dishwasher a deal-breaker? Probably not. Talk about it… decide on those things that you need to do the way you prefer, concede to some of the things he prefers, and move on.
Get away from each other
Even though you love each other dearly, sometimes you just need space. If you have the room, create a “man cave” for him or a craft room for her. If you don’t, at least give each other the space to hang out alone reading, watching TV, relaxing – whatever makes you happy. It’s also healthy to have the freedom to occasionally go out with friends. Think “girls night” or “poker night.”
Talk about the annoyances
Though he/she may be able to do nothing wrong now, there will come a day when things they do will annoy you (gasp!) And once you discover that annoying thing, they’ll do it constantly. It may even cross your mind that they’re doing it on purpose, just to make you crazy. And crazy it will make you if you don’t talk about it before you’re angry and resentful. These are the minor things that can blow up and turn into major things if they’re not addressed.
Enjoy moving in together after marriage
Yay! You’re almost married. It’s such an exciting time in your life. And kudos to you for preparing ahead of time to make it a successful first year! Congratulations!