Protecting Your Marriage While Managing a Move

I’m definitely no marriage expert.  While hubby and I are happily married, it’s not because we’re always happy but rather because we choose to be happily married.  We argue, we yell, we infuriate each other and probably break every rule for a successful marriage, but it is never because we don’t cherish or value or marriage.  It’s because we are human and sometimes the stress of life overshadows the love that we share and the commitment we have to each other (which began long before we were legally committed).

When I joined the March Marriage Challenge being hosted by The Eyes of a Boy, at first I thought about writing some cheesy post about why marriage is great.  Or how being married to your best friend is awesome. Or everything I’ve learned about life through my marriage.

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But I don’t have a perfect marriage and I don’t want to pretend to nor do I want to pretend to have all the answers.  So I decided to write about something I do know about: moving.

moving couple

Hubby and I while moving into our first Florida house, a month before our wedding.
 

Moving is stressful no matter how far you go.  Moving is stressful whether it’s just your stuff or a large family.  Moving is just.plain.stressful.  Always.

But add an ocean into the equation.  And a company bankruptcy.  And a toddler.  And an impending birth.  And you’ve got stress times a thousand!

Our big move to Ireland wasn’t our first time moving together.  We had moved across the country straight after college, with all our belongings (including our cat) crammed into my Escape and hubby’s Maxima, his trunk tethered shut by his bike rack.  We had nothing to lose because we had nothing to begin with.

When we moved to South Florida (the first time), we had accumulated things.  Nice things.  Things that we didn’t want to get rid of so we hired movers.  I did all the packing (hubby moved 2 months ahead of me) and the movers just did the heavy lifting and driving.

But fast forward another 2 1/2 years, after a wedding and after a baby and the stuff had grown exponentially.  We had a lot.  And when we moved overseas we had a lot to do.  All our worldly belongings were painstakingly sorted into four categories: send to storage while we were gone; send by sea, estimated arrival time 6-8 weeks; send by air, estimated arrival time 2-4 weeks; take with us on the airplane.

moving boxes

We survived that move.  And we survived a similar move back (that time sorting into: sell/give away; ship by sea; ship by air; carry with us).

I can’t say we “learned a lot” through our moves.  I don’t remember clearly but I’m sure we yelled a lot.  And I’m sure I cried a lot.  But we survived and while we may not have learned anything, there were definitely things we did that aided in our marriage coming out on the other side unscathed.

While these applied to our overseas moves, they certainly can be applied to any move, no matter how big or small!

1.  Leave your partner’s stuff alone.

Not once in any of our moves did I tell hubby what he couldn’t bring.  If he asked about something, I was honest, but if he wanted something I never said “no!”  A lot of animosity and frustration can build if one person feels their stuff is less valued than that of their partner’s.  We both have a lot of crap that means a lot to us for varied (and, truthfully, often stupid) reasons and I would never tolerate hubby telling me I had to get rid of something so I would never do it to him either.  Be respectful of the memories and connections your partner has with his/her stuff.  (Even if it means letting him taking a pair of shorts all the way across the ocean and all the way back with your car keys in the pocket that had been lost for months before the original move only to be found when he decided to get rid of them upon moving back…clearly those shorts were needed in a country that has an average yearly temperature of 50 degrees!)

2.  Let the stress go.

We all let stress get to us once in a while.  We all do things we regret out of stress, exhaustion, frustration.  But don’t hold on to it.  If you lash out at your partner in the heat of the move, apologize and move on.  If your partner lashes out at you, know that it’s just a matter of moving stress and let it go.  Keep in mind, it will all be over soon.

leaving dublin

3.  Look forward to your future and cherish your past.

Don’t get caught up in the logistics of moving.  Do what you’ve got to do to get where you need to go but don’t let it sour your experience.  Preparing for a trans-Atlantic move while simultaneously battling morning sickness could easily push one over the edge but through it all I never lost sight of why we were going and the excitement of it.  Within the first week in Dublin, we were out sightseeing.  And our last weekend, just days before the movers came, we took the time to see all the things we had missed (we even hosted a dinner party!)  We never let the stress of the moves overshadow the reason for the move and it kept us grounded, focused and away from too much stress.

4. Teamwork is everything.

Moving is a big task, don’t put it all on one person.  Of course, some things will be easier for one person (for example, I have more time at home to sort and pack things) but it shouldn’t be left ALL to one person.  Divvy up the tasks or work together to get things done.  And if you have kids, make sure they help too!  The more helping hands involved, the merrier everyone will be.

Moving Boxes

 5. Don’t let moving rule (or ruin) your life.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in moving stuff.  The packing, sorting, selling, the stress!  It can take over your every second, every thought, everything.  But don’t let it.  Continue doing things together that you’ve always enjoyed.  Go out to eat as you always have.  Take a break to go do something you’ve always enjoyed like going to the movies or walking at a park. Take the time to get away from the stress and try to actually forget about it while you’re gone.  And do the same when you get where you’re going.  Don’t stress about unpacking, getting everything just right right away.  Take the time to still enjoy life.

Moving is like flying with young children, no one really likes to do it but it’s something that has to be done in life sometimes and there is always an ending point.  When it’s done, it’s done and your marriage doesn’t have to be a casualty of the stress!

Check out all the great posts being shared in this month-long March Marriage Challenge and learn more about the challenge here.
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