Within our first three years of marriage, my husband encountered two of the five most common marital problems: finances and family. I became underemployed and my parent died. Moving did not make it to the Newlywed Survival top five but after interviewing my friend J. who has moved five times in four years, she warns that such frequently uprooting can strain a marriage. Death and underemployment may be out of your hands, but J. shared her Protect Your Marriage Moving Checklist.
Here are 5 things a couple can do to protect their marriage while moving frequently for school or work:
1. Allow yourself three days to settle into your new place before starting a job. Why? Count on flat tires, driving only 30 mph on hilly terrain, tardy flights and delayed moving companies. Unloading a 24’ moving truck may take an evening but true unpacking may take four months. J. tested the stress levels of jumping into work less than 24 hours after landing in a new neighborhood. She does not recommend it. If both of you can’t wait three days, have at least one of you working on the getting the new place up and running while the other begins work immediately.
2. Gather free moving boxes at least two weeks ahead. Why? If you don’t have much notice, you may find yourself throwing items, unprotected by boxes, into the moving van. Your property will get dirty and damaged during transport without being encased. J. says that grocery stores and coffee joints were happy to give away boxes to her.
3. Label moving boxes according to room. For example, the priority label should be for the kitchen. The Guest room takes lower priority because you may want to start a job in three days rather than show hospitality the first week. Make it easy for yourself by labeling boxes for kitchen use so you can set up the heart of the home quickly.
4. Clean your old apartment three weeks in advance of move out date. J. suggests this because you may need to do some repairs if you want your deposit back. She gives these tips: get a list of things to do before move out from the landlord, repaint and spackle as needed, eat the perishable food so you will not have food that will go bad when you pack. Purge items that you haven’t used in awhile. Donate.
5. Communicate authentically with your spouse. These are high-stress times for both of you. Help your spouse feel safe in expressing when he feels sad, excited, stressed or overwhelmed. Ask permission to be transparent with him also. Be patient with yourself and your honey. Avoid feeling guilty if you have to dine out frequently for the first month before the home is running smoothly. Use dining out to take a breather with your sweetheart. You’ll have more laundry, toilet paper restocking and toothpaste shopping to do tomorrow.
I’ve been married for three years. J. has been married for four years. Use her five moving tips and tricks to protect your marriage. Learning from her, helped me move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles for my husband’s schooling. Now I’m healed after the death of my dad and I am the primary income earner.
Image by TheMuuj