Planning a Move as a Couple

Deciding to move as a married couple can be one of the most exciting—albeit challenging—seasons to go through. It can be due to several reasons: a change of job, financial goals, a growing family, or empty nesting.

A couple that runs a marriage course in the UK tells about how they recently moved to a smaller house after the kids had all grown up and moved away. The wife talks candidly about how she struggled with her husband’s seeming nonchalance, while she felt that there were a million things to do and plan for! They ended up needing to talk things through, to reach an understanding of what each was expecting from the other during the process.

In our case, Joy once helped her parents remodel their old home. While it wasn’t necessarily a move to another place, she had to guide them in decluttering and organising. It was a few months’ worth of persuading, arguing, and convincing, because her mum wanted to hold onto all the sentimental stuff—including toys Joy and her brother hadn’t seen for over twenty years!

We share that because it’s important to understand that moving houses, no matter how much good news it is, can bring a truck load of emotions with it.

While you do need to talk about how much you can bring and the need to declutter unnecessary things, be sensitive with the things that your spouse holds sacred.
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Top 5 Tips for Moving Houses as a Couple

Here are some top tips to help you move houses as seamlessly as possible and strengthen your marriage in the process:

1. Share your heart about why you’re moving.

First things first. Make sure you have a conversation about the reason why you need to move. Is the house getting too small for a coming baby? Are you needing to move closer to your workplace? Or are you moving to a whole new country because of a work assignment?

Sometimes, it may be that only one of you feels the need to move. The important thing is that the spouse understands why.

2. Come to an agreement about where you’re moving.

Then comes the process of finding a place to move into. Are you buying or renting a new place? Is it a similar housing arrangement to what you currently have—for example, a condo unit or an HDB—or is it something totally different?

While couples will definitely have different preferences, opening it up to conversation means that you get to discuss your negotiables and non-negotiables, which can help you come to the needed agreement so that you are both happy with the decision.

3. Discuss your expectations for the timeframe going towards moving day.

Just like in our example above, usually, husbands and wives would have different perspectives about what needs to be done. The key is to be able to talk about these expectations.

For example, if the wife likes everything to be planned out and the husband prefers to be spontaneous, it can cause a lot of stress during this season: the wife may be annoyed at the husband’s relaxed mood, while the hubby might tell his wife to loosen up! But if both of you understand where the other person is, it becomes easier to adjust in a way that makes your partner feel loved and understood.

4. Use packing as a way to connect.

Packing is one area of moving that can really pull heartstrings, because each of us has a different level of sentimentality, and different things that mean a lot to us. It can cause strife if the wife accidentally tosses out her husband’s prized baseball from when he was 12 years old, or if the husband suggests leaving some of his wife’s old books!

Instead, consider the packing stage as a time to get to know each other better. Sure, you do need to talk about how much you can bring and the need to declutter unnecessary things, but be sensitive with the things that your spouse holds sacred. This gives you the chance to see a side of your partner that you may not have seen before.

5. Ask for help from other people.

While you may think that you can do everything yourself, it’s wise to consider asking for outside help. Moving houses is no easy task, and having an extra pair of hands to haul things or to tape boxes shut can make a big difference.

Sometimes, the perfectionist in us refuses to have someone else involved, because we want to know exactly what went into which box. But you can still choose to delegate other things, perhaps covering the furniture with packing sheets, or anything else that you don’t need to micromanage. And yes, this outside help can be your own children (yes, please do include them!), some relatives, or friends, or you may even consider hiring out for this.

Moving Houses: A New Chapter for Married Couples

In the end, consider your house move as a new chapter in your life as a married couple. Yes, it may signal the end of one season, but it’s also a beginning. Cherish the process and get to know each other better through it all.

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