Helping couples have a smooth transition when living together
When two people decide that they are going to live together and share all of the up’s and down’s of life together. There should be a manual!
The thing is that as individuals, people primarily think first about him or themselves. Decisions such as what’s for dinner? Or how early/late to arrive home. Are no longer solely dependent on one individual. By living together and sharing your life journey, you are also letting go of your one-sided mindset.
A manual for first-time couple’s living together is vital to the longevity of the relationship and your nerves.
Do NOT make important decisions alone. Also, do not be a smart ass when considering what “an important decision is”. Ask yourself “would my partner want to be included in the decision I am about to make?” If your answer is YES, do NOT make the decision alone.
“Take one for the team”. My coaches used to always say that statement. It wasn’t until I moved in with my wife and became married that I honestly understood its significance. There will be times in your relationship that you will simply have to suck it up and do what is best for the team and not you.
Give each other space. Now that you are both under the same roof it is vital to understand that each of you should expect to become tired of each other. Tired of hearing him snore, tired of watching her floss, tired of seeing him leave the toilet seat up just after you got done telling me. You will each need your space and for self-care. Think of the space as a healthy way for you and your partner to revitalize your energy meters.
Do Not compare. Just because your friends or your parents seem to be living a certain lifestyle does not mean that what you are doing is wrong. Communicate with your partner so that you are both on the same page for what the future will bring. It is natural in the very beginning stages to feel jittery and nervous about the upcoming future. Just remember this time around “you both have each other to lean on”.
Learn to communicate over big and small topics. Communication is probably the number one factor that brings couples into my office. Talk with your partner about what you like and do not like. Allow the communication to be a median as you both find compromises. When communicating with your partner take time to explore what works and what doesn’t. For instance, if you find that most arguments take place late at night, try to make a rule from that to not have any conflict-like conversations later at night. Instead, save those types of conversations for a time during the day that has more structure to it.
Discuss chores/tasks/responsibilities within the home. Create an excel sheet that has all of the chores in the home. One by one you and your partner can pick and choose in a fair and healthy manner. Post the sheet on your fridge or phone. When kids are in school, teachers give them a list of duties and responsibilities to complete each day. The list is on the board or somewhere in the classroom. Today, sit with your partner and create a list. Find a healthy way to allocate certain tasks to you and others to your partner. Follow through with it each day and evaluate progress at the end of the week.
Discuss money. The topic of money is critical to communicate with your partner as you both will be sharing bills and responsibilities within the home. Work to create value regardless if your job makes more/less. Value each other for who you are and how you each individually contribute to each other.
It’s okay that you and your partner are not able to see eye to eye. Marriages are difficult and if you can be strong enough to know that you need help – Go for it. Seek professional counseling to help mediate the process and get you two back on track. When you find that you are not seeing eye to eye, remember that you fell in love with your partner because of some of their differences. There are plenty of great quotes that highlight how opposites attract. The basic point to be made is that if you are not seeing eye to eye with your partner that is okay. Do not allow the issue to pull you away from your partner. Focus on respect and commitment. Learn to argue without criticism.
Conflict will be a part of your relationship and will certainly pop its head out during the transition into living together.