While living together before marriage is gathering a bunch of raised eyebrows and mixed feelings, living together after marriage seems to be very much expected. I know a number of us grew up with the notion that living with our boyfriend is totally unacceptable. Where I’m from, best believe you’ll be the headline at the family meeting for a long time! Our African aunties will continue to rub it in if you dare.
Come to think of it tho, why is it expected that a couple should automatically warm up to each other 2 minutes after they say their vows. I know I liked you from afar but do I have to start living with you now? Maybe for some people, it’s an automatic switch up, for some others, it takes a bit of adjusting and I think it should be alright to talk about these things.
I got married some months ago and I remember that on the night of my traditional wedding, I was expected to go home with my husband. Apparently, it’s culture (nobody told me before that day). I knew I was going to move in with this man but I still had another ceremony that week. I didn’t want to go. First, it was too soon. Everything had happened so fast that day and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. Another reason was, I wasn’t mentally ready to be anywhere else that night if I’m being honest. I ended up just visiting and coming back home ( whew! ). I have amazing in-laws!
Before you move in together
Eventually, I had to start living with my partner and I thought I was ready for it but I really wasn’t. There are a few things, I’ll recommend when you start your journey as newlyweds because I almost hyperventilated when I thought about having to wake up to the same person every single day of my life.
For some couples, you may need to sit down and actually talk about this new phase. How loud do you snore? How much space do you need in bed? When do you wake up? Do you like lights on or off? How will we do chores? How clean or messy are you? Talk about it all! Ask as many weird, nasty and unnecessary questions as possible. Of course, reality will still surprise you but talking may help with expectations. You don’t want to be surprised on so many levels.
Another thing I suggest is the honeymoon. Try to spend some time together and alone – just the two of you. You’re a new couple so go out and enjoy. Spend as much time together as possible. It helps to ease you into the whole married life thing. If you’re dating and reading this, I will encourage you to go on as many baecations as possible. Your honeymoon is not to escape the reality which is your marriage. It gives a softer landing and eases you into it.
Living together after marriage
Once the honeymoon is over and all the reality starts to hit you, I’ll like to say that it isn’t all bad. He’s still the same person you fell in love with. This time, you have access to his bathroom. She also isn’t that bad, you just never knew the hair went up in a net or bonnet or whatever they call it.
Try going out a lot at this point. There’s a lot you both can do together. Visit friends, hang out with other people. At this point, you’re just stalling because you lot will be too tired by the time you’re back home and it’s straight to bed. Really tho, think about it.
As you begin to get into the serious stuff. You’d have actually learned your full names by this point (LOL). I think it’s time to define space. Remember, you both are in this marriage together and you’ll do what is right for your family (the two of you). If you need 1 hour to yourself in the morning then tell your partner. If you get cranky after 8 pm, put that on the table. Don’t be too afraid to talk about what space means to you.
Everything in Between
If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel a rush of different emotions with all these changes. I used to hide away and cry just thinking about my old life. It’s a good thing that you’ve decided to spend your life with this person but sometimes, you actually start thinking about all the changes happening. I wrote about how new beginnings can be in a previous post. For me, it was a lot. Also, the expectations from society don’t make it any easier. This is where communication, between you and your partner, really helps. Let your partner know what you need at this time. I ended up spending some time at my apartment before I was ready to even move in fully. Do what you must but make sure you communicate.
I was watching Sex and the City 2 and I saw where Mr. Big wanted days off in their marriage. It seemed funny when I watched it because how can you want days off from your marriage but if that’s what you both need to keep sane then please explore your options. I guess all I’m really trying to say is, do what you both know works for you. It may not be conventional and people may raise their brows but that’s on them.
I’ll like to put out a disclaimer that I am no marriage counselor. My partner and I are still figuring things out as with every marriage out there but that’s the beauty of starting a family. It’s that the both of you will have to work to figure out what works best for you. There’s no hard and fast rule for these things. Just make sure you’re communicating through these things. It makes it easier.
One more thing, keep learning every day. You are evolving and so is your partner. As with most things in life, living together after marriage means that lessons will be learned and you will grow. The goal is to grow together but always know that they don’t stay the same. So, be a little patient with yourself and your partner.