Single Life to Community Life
When my wife and I got married, I had been living in the apartment that we would live in for about four months. Since we lived close, she had spent many meals and evenings over at the apartment. At the end of the evening, she would go back to her home.
When we moved in after our wedding, it was easy for me to think of it as “our home.” After all, there was someone else here. Someone else’s stuff was here. She had a key and got mail here. What I failed to realize was that she felt like a guest in my home.
After four months in a place, you kind of make it your own. Sure, I had some of her decorations, but the daily rhythm was set by me. The kitchen arrangement was mine. The chores were mine. I just now had someone else with me.
It wasn’t until our first fight that I started to cede over some of the responsibility for the household. We fought over the grocery money, so I asked her to be responsible for the grocery shopping. She did the menu planning and made the grocery list and we both went shopping. I gave her the grocery envelope (budgeting tool that has cash for the groceries) and she completed the transaction at the register.
After that first week where she had control over an aspect of our community life, she said, “I feel like I actually live here now.”
The merging of two people into one is difficult. We each have the particular ways that we like to do things. I prefer to get up early and go grocery shopping, she prefers to sleep in. I’d rather do all of the chores for the house weekly, she prefers bi-weekly. Not better, not worse, just different.
You have to do a lot of compromising as you create a new life together. Don’t get me wrong, it is quite fun. Yet you have to realize that you are no longer the sole decision maker.
The best wedding preparation in the world cannot fully prepare you for every situation that you will encounter in the married life. However, a recognition that you both will have to give up some habits will make the process move more smoothly.
Don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open. Ask the questions that reveal how she is feeling. Make sure that you both feel at home in your new home together.