You’ve gone from boyfriend-girlfriend to fiancee’s to newlyweds, and now there’s one more title to add to the list: roommates. Although more than 70 percent of couples cohabitate prior to marriage, there are still some couples who wait until they tie the knot to move in together. Whether you waited to live together to save money or because of personal values, know that post-marriage cohabitation will be a slight adjustment. There are some things you need to consider to make it a smooth transition, but if you take the proper steps, you can keep all your newlywed bliss intact as you move into your love nest.
Where Will You Live?
First things first, now that you’re husband and wife, where will you live? Does he have a condo he fixed up and doesn’t want to give up or do you have an apartment that’s big enough for both of you? Whether you move into one of your places or find a new space, this is something you must discuss prior to moving in and preferably before the wedding.
A new living space brings certain considerations like which items can you keep, will you need new furniture and appliances (which may also affect your wedding registry), will you be farther from family and will you have a longer commute to work?
Make sure you discuss your ideal living situation and listen to each other’s needs, find a space ou can both agree on and don’t settle because it’s convenient for one of you.
Join Forces and Finances
Chances are you’ve already discussed how to handle your finances once you’re married, but if you haven’t, now is the time; make this a priority even if it’s difficult. “Psychologists say that many people will talk about anything, even sex, before they'll talk about their finances,” according to Deborah Fowles from the balance. “Perhaps because money symbolizes different things to different people: power, control, security, or love, for instance.”
Now that you’re married and living together, you need to discuss your bills and charges. Will you write separate checks for rent and bills? Will one person be in charge of the bills or will you keep the books together? Do you plan to keep separate accounts or open a joint account?
Also, make sure you’re aware of any pre-existing debt or any acquired during wedding planning. How will you handle this once you’re married?
Remember, you may have different views when it comes to money, one of you may be frugal while the other one likes to shop. Take everything into account: how much each of you make, how much money you need each month for rent, utilities, food, recreation and date nights; make a budget and stick to it.
Divvy Up the Chores
While you don’t need to make a chart with gold stars (unless you’re into that in which case, no judgment), you do need to have a discussion about how you want to handle household chores. You can designate certain tasks to each person, like the dishes and taking out the trash, or you can decide to take turns with these responsibilities. Just do yourself a favor and make sure you discuss these things; assumptions about household chores can be a sore spot among couples.
According to: Who’s doing the Dishes? Negotiating household tasks and improving relationships, “Researchers have found that typically couples' do not openly discuss the division of household tasks but rather rely upon unexamined assumptions about responsibilities--assumptions regarding who should perform a task, how often the task needs to be performed as well as how a task should be performed - that lead to women taking on an inequitable burden of domestic labor.”
One effective idea is to discuss which task each of you doesn’t like doing and see where you can compromise; if you enjoy cooking but don’t like doing the dishes, see if your partner will swap with you.
Better Safe Than Sorry
One or both of is you is moving into a new space, so it’s important that you feel safe, and this may mean different things for both of you. One of you may be more concerned about home safety and want to install some type of security system. While traditional systems can be pricey, there are some DIY options like motion sensors and smart locks to keep your home safe and help you prevent break-ins.
In addition to divvying up chores, consider delegating roles for a safety and/or emergency plan. Create a checklist that you follow whenever you leave, whether you’re heading to work or going out of town, that lists which doors to lock and appliances to shut off. According to experts at Dependable Locksmiths, “when you repeat the same actions every time you leave the house, it becomes a habit, allowing you to keep your home safe no matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone.”
You may also want to look into home or renter’s insurance for your new abode. You can find some low-cost options and it’s a sound investment to protect your valuables in the event of theft, fire or emergency.
Embrace Your Differences
One thing’s for sure: when you move in with your partner, you’ll learn new things about him or her, and you may even learn some things about yourself. Chances are, you won’t agree on everything and you won’t do everything the same way. Guess what? That’s OK!
He may like his shirts folded a certain way and she may like to make the bed each morning. Discuss these things but also understand, living together (and marriage for that matter) requires compromise. Pick your battles and figure out a solution that works for both of you. At the end of the day, there’s no use fighting over spilled milk, folded laundry or dirty dishes.
Be Resilient and Practice Open Communication
Despite discussing your living situation, finances and household chores, you and your partner are human - which means things may not always stay the same. If you established household responsibilities when you moved in, understand these may change. One or both of you may switch jobs and kids may come into the picture. Your finances probably won’t remain the same, either, so be flexible when it comes to reallocating your budget.
As partners, you need to be willing to make adjustments as your lives change and evolve. The great news is that when two people love each other and commit to one another (as married couples do), they’re willing to work together to tackle all of life’s challenges.
Did you move in with your husband or wife after your wedding? What challenges did you experience? Let us know in the comments below!