Getting married is easy, but to stay in and live a married life is quite the opposite. When the wedding hype and glam is over and you’re all stripped down to your “pambahay” clothes in your own home, that is when, and where, the real ‘married life’ begins.
Unfortunately, no one has ever written a manual on how to live with another human being – that is, your spouse. No matter how long you had been together as boyfriend and girlfriend, it would still be different now that you are living under one roof. Here are some tips that can help you move in together as breezy and as lovely and as romantic as it can be:
· Adjust your habits. You are no longer single, remember? Your usual routine might have to change now that you have a spouse to consider, such as your waking/sleeping habits, eating, and even bathing schedule. You have to sync your routine with your spouse to make sure no one gets unnoticed and left behind. This way you are building a routine as a couple and, at the same time, deepening your connection with each other.
· Be a team in everything. Whether it is dressing up your own crib, deciding where to put that big massage chair, or looking for the perfect spot to put the PlayStation, always decide as one. Listen to each other and be open to each other’s opinions, no matter how different they may be. Make it a point to always consult your spouse, especially when important decisions are to be made. You are now part of a life-long couple, and any decision that would affect you as a couple needs the other party’s input. This way you are making the other person feel important and respected because you made him/her feel that he/she matters.
· Respect each other’s space. Yes, you have to be a team, but you are still your own person. Have that respect physically visible in your new home by giving each other that much needed ‘space’. Create your own corner where you can put that ottoman chair to read books, and give him his own “play area” where he can entertain his friends. Make this space your own “haven” when you need some fresh air. Alone time allows the couple to retain their individuality within the relationship.
· Managing the house – decide and assign who will do what. Living together for the first time without any household help can be a bit daunting for both of you. Talk about the things that need to be done in the house, when it has to be done, and how it is supposed to be done. Communicating this sets your expectations of each other clearly, thereby lessening frustrations and disappointments.
· Find your role and embrace it. Now that you are husband and wife, you’ve got new shoes to fill in. Whether you are the “haligi ng tahanan” or the “ilaw ng tahanan”, embrace and master this new role. Gone are the days when you just rely on your parents to cook the food or to take the trash out. Once married, these roles have to be fulfilled by you, and you alone, in order to have a clean and well-maintained household.
· Sit down and work on your budget. Have a husband and wife meeting and talk about your finances. Identify your sources of income, bills to be paid, and the person who will pay such bills. Having this settled beforehand will keep things light and easy, especially when the first round of bills rolls around. It can also help the two of you adjust to the new lifestyle that suits your budget.
· Expect a change in priorities. If your main priority before marriage was your family of origin, now it’s the family you are building with your spouse. Your spouse, next to God, is your top priority whose needs has to be met immediately. This may be difficult at first, but as you go along, especially when kids come around, your own family automatically becomes number one in your priority list.
· Be more forgiving. No one is an expert on how to start a new life together. Unless you’ve done this before, moving in may be stressful for first-timers hence, more chances of making mistakes. In case it happens, don’t fret. Learn to forgive each other. As they say, the key to a successful marriage is not having two perfect individuals but rather two forgiving individuals.
· Compromise. Yes, it’s not all about you anymore. Irritated with your husband’s snoring? Or your wife’s OC-ness? Welcome to the halfway street. You may not agree with each other all the time, but learn how meet halfway so that both sides are heard, happy, and satisfied.
· Explore. Take risks. Enjoy this new moment in your life as husband and wife. Your lives may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be scared of what lies ahead. Savor the exciting feeling of playing the old age game “bahay-bahay-an” in your own home. Be bold, be funny, be risky. Make memories that you can tell your children in the future.
· Change in how you make each other special. Sweet, puppy-love surprises may still come in handy once in a while like surprise visits, special dates, movie dates, etc. But now that you are together most of the time, those don’t really apply anymore. Change in the way you express your love to your spouse such as cooking him breakfast, or leaving him/her little notes in the shower before he/she heads to work. It’s time to bring that romance to a higher level.
Moving in together can be exciting and scary at the same time. When the jitters kick in, just remember the very reason why you decided to spend the rest of your life with your spouse. Extend your patience, if need be. Remember, both of you are discovering things about each other that you never knew before. And continue accepting and loving each other despite all the changes and adjustments. Just always be hopeful and embrace this beautiful change you are about to embark on.
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