Keeping your relationship intact during a move
Relationships can take a lot of work to ensure their vitality and growth over the months and years. Changes in circumstances - be they career, finances, family, personal goals, health - can put strain on a partnership and during such times, it may feel that the work is overwhelming.
Moving house, whether to a new neighbourhood in town, clear across the country, or even abroad, is a change that can, not surprisingly, put couples to the test when it comes to seeing eye to eye and finding harmony. It's a third party in your in partnership that clamours for time, attention, and possibly even physical exertion depending on how you choose to do your move).
So how to navigate that transition without losing your patience, or your partner?
Moving house is a multi-step process with a lot of choices and if you're embarking upon it with a partner, discussions, agreements, disagreements, questions, and compromises should be in full gear - but always from a place of respectful and constructive intent. You both want to be settled into your new home with as little upheaval to your way of life as possible. Starting off by making choices together will support that outcome.
A reputable moving company, offering a range of services to fit your budget and time, can go a long way to easing the burden. Even then, however, it's important to begin the process on the same page. Communication with your partner will be key from start to finish. If one partner is tasked with interviewing movers and ultimately arranging for one, it will be important for them to clearly and consistently communicate what's been arranged or discussed to the other partner. Otherwise there could be surprises or mismatched expectations that will generate strife.
How will you Move?
Decide how you want the move to happen. One partner may want to DIY it all the way ... rent a truck, pack everything, load it into the truck, do the driving and reverse the process at the other end, thinking big savings will be the reward for the effort.
A conversation about the reality of that approach should be had calmly. How much do you have to move? How heavy are the pieces you'll be moving? How narrow or steep are your stairways or halls? Do you have friends to help? Most importantly ... how much time do you have?
If the arguments against the full DIY start to mount up, maybe think about help. Perhaps a compromise? You could do all the packing but call in a mover to load the truck, drive, and deliver and place your furniture and boxes at the other end.
Create a list of movers in your area, ones with an established presence, community affiliations and industry/business accreditations, referrals from people you know and trust, and then call around to get estimates.
This will help determine what will fit your budget and how much help you can afford. One partner may be very focused on budget and the other on physical effort or time ... find a common ground that can see both sides addressed.
The process of moving can be isolating. Even if you're both looking after the associated tasks, you may find you're becoming consumed with selling your house and finding a new one, mortgages, finalizing service arrangements in your current town and arranging for new ones in your new community. If you've got children there will be a whole other set of goodbyes and arrangements to be attended to, not to mention keeping your children reassured and positive about the change. Work obligations may still be there and you might be juggling uprooting with the regular routine. There may be very little time to check in with your partner or even yourself to keep your own outlook balanced and positive.
If the move is happening because of one partner's job or extended family obligations, there could be resentments held by the other partner - they might not want to leave the community or their own family or job. Remembering why you came together in the first place and checking in with each other as the move-related tasks and stress increase may help ease these resentments. Talk about it. The partner initiating the move should be open to hearing the other's misgivings. There may not be full resolution but there may be dialogue and respect.
Build in some time to meet with friends, and, if the increased demand on your schedule has you and your partner becoming little more than ships passing in the night, find time to take a breather with your mate. And the kids. Getting close to the big day? House a pile of cartons? Have a pizza picnic on the floor and let everyone catch up on each other's news of the day and hopes for the new home.
Try to arrange for support at the new home. Reach out to community organizations, schools, teams, clubs ... and find out if you can put into place some elements of familiarity and maybe even immediate social connection, in advance of arriving. A friendly face when you arrive in your new community can add some ease to the transition.
Be there, be kind
Throughout the journey ... make sure to let your partner know you appreciate their contributions to the process. Starting to feel overwhelmed or maybe that you're getting the heavier load? Express some gratitude for something your partner is doing, and you will be amazed how that can turn things around.
If something is damaged during the move, you and your partner may disagree about the importance or value of the item - the mishap may cause anger or sadness for one and only fleeting notice in the other. Be sensitive and supportive if your partner is struggling.
Moving can be an exciting journey, it can a be a source of dread, it can be a professional or economic necessity, it can be a muscle and mind busting chore ... it can be many things, but it doesn't last forever.
When you're in it as a couple, remember to be patient with each other, listen to each other, lean on each other. Keep communicating and even though you may not (will likely not) agree on every detail, you'll soon find yourselves in your new digs, unpacking the very last box and getting ready to take on your next adventure. Together.