Weddings signify the start of a life together as a married couple—and that reality sets in as soon as you move in together. Between waking up next to your spouse every day, cooking meals together and decorating a shared space, living with your partner takes your relationship to the next level. You’re not just dating anymore; you’re married and building a home.
While it’s true that more Americans are living together before marriage today than in the past, there’s still a decent portion of the population who wait to cohabitate until after they say “I do.” If that includes you, read on to learn how to ease the transition from newlyweds to roommates.
Moving in together for the first time is no casual exercise. Packing up your respective homes and unloading your belongings in a new place takes time, effort and energy. That’s why you likely want to avoid any heavy lifting during the week of your wedding.
Basically, don’t move in together right before your big day. You’ll likely be dealing with last-minute wedding details. And, you also want to give yourself a few days post-wedding to relax before getting to work.
Depending on whether you are moving into your partner’s home, they are moving into yours, or you’re moving into a new place altogether, think about the most convenient time to do so. Maybe you want to move in right after your honeymoon, or the week after your wedding. Whatever you decide, organization and communication are key.
Ease the Transition: Try to prepare by slowly packing up your items weeks before the move to reduce stress. If your husband or wife is moving into your place, make room for their belongings. Time will also give you both an opportunity to go through your things and decide what will come into your shared home, and what won’t.
You may have been together for years, but when you move in with your spouse for the first time, you learn things about them you didn’t know before—both good and bad.
You might soon discover, for example, just how often they leave dirty dishes in the sink. Or your partner may come to realize that your long hair really does clog every bathroom drain… oops.
Schedules may not perfectly align either. You might prefer to wake up at 6 a.m. and head to the gym, while your spouse works on their computer until midnight. As with so many newlywed matters: the key is open communication.
Ease the Transition: If something starts to bother you, talk about it. This is the first time the two of you have shared a home together, so it’s understandable there may be an adjustment period. You also need to be prepared to meet in the middle.
Money is a huge part of any relationship, and couples need to be on the same page when it comes to finances. Between bills, paying off a mortgage, and household expenses, moving in with a spouse comes with a bunch of financial responsibilities.
Ease the transition: It’s important to talk about money openly, honestly and regularly. Ideally, before moving in together, you should have a conversation about your financial status:
When it comes to paying bills on time, a shared Google calendar can help both of you keep track of who is paying what and when.
If one of you enjoys doing laundry while the other can’t stand folding, lean into your strengths and divvy up household duties based on them. For chores that neither of you enjoys, like cleaning the bathroom, for example, take turns.
The goal with dividing responsibilities is not to keep a tally of how much each person is contributing, but rather to ensure that the important things are getting done and you’re both happy with the way the household is running.
Ease the Transition: Clear responsibilities also help field any resentment. Of course you need to work as teammates and take on additional tasks from time to time, but having a clear idea of who typically handles what is important.
Fill your place with photos of you as a couple, hang art that you like, and decorate in a way that feels natural to both of you. You want to create a home that is a reflection of your relationship.
It’s also important to create your own traditions and celebrate milestones, like your first holiday season as a married couple.
Ease the Transition: Hosting a housewarming party is a great way to welcome loved ones into your new space.
After living together for a few months you’ll learn what makes you tick—and when to pick your battles. It’s easy to become annoyed when you come home and the place is a mess, but before starting an argument, try to communicate what bothers you and why.
If you’re used to living alone, suddenly having someone around 24/7 can take some time getting used to. While you’re obviously over the moon to be living with your spouse, every person has their boundaries and needs downtime. It’s OK to want to spend time alone or feel the need to get out of the house.
Ease the Transition: Talking openly also means discussing the not-so-fun stuff, like what should happen to your shared property if someone dies, for example. While these situations are often hypothetical, it’s important to be on the same page.
Just because you’re now married and living together doesn’t mean you should stop scheduling quality bonding time. It’s very easy to let date night fall to the wayside after a busy week at work, especially when watching a movie on the couch is so tempting.
Make an effort to be present. Even when you and your spouse are together, be sure that you’re not both scrolling on your phones.
Ease the Transition: Quality time means living in the moment and doing something enjoyable. Sign up for a couples’ cooking class or check out a new band. Whatever you decide to do for date night, make sticking to those plans a priority.
Moving in with your spouse for the first time can be a shock for both parties. Living with anyone has a learning curve, but the pressure is even higher to make it work with someone you just said “I do” to.
With a lot of love, a bit of compromise, and some of the tips we outlined above, living with your spouse can be the happiest time of your life.