Marriage and Homeownership: How to Keep the Peace with Your New Roommate
Tying the knot and buying a home are only parts of the battle. The bigger challenge to tackle? That’s actually living together.
Newly married couples often have growing pains when moving into their first home together. There are squabbles over who will do dishes and take out the trash, rolled eyes at annoying quirks and bad habits, and fights about money needed to pay bills or cover the mortgage.
And it happens to even the best, most suited-for-each-other couples around. Marriage and homeownership can be just plain hard sometimes.
The key to keeping the peace with your new roommate is pretty simple: Have a plan. Know what you’re getting into, what you’re responsible for and how you’re both going to pull your weight long before you move a single box.
Here’s what that plan should cover:
Just because housewives in the 1950s did all the housework doesn’t mean your home will run the same way in 2018. In fact, if you want a peaceful household, try splitting the duties as close to 50-50 as you can. Sit down and talk with your spouse about what duties they’re willing to take and which ones you are. Commit to approaching chores as a partnership—where each of you plays a role and supports the other.
Will you share a bank account? If so, who will be responsible for paying bills as they come in? How will you handle extra expenses that come up? If possible, put the majority of your bills on auto pay, so they don’t put a burden of either of you and if you share finances, make sure each of you has access to the accounts and can see your funds and expenditures at all times. There shouldn’t be a financial gatekeeper when it comes to marriage and homeownership.
Repairs and maintenance
What will you do if something goes awry in your home? Will you have a warranty in place to help? What tasks will you outsource (like lawn maintenance, cleaning, even hanging Christmas lights) and which ones will you handle on your own, as a couple? Pose potential “what ifs,” and makes sure you’re on the same page about how to handle them.
This one really depends on your work schedules, lifestyles and individual preferences. Are you OK with your spouse inviting coworkers over for after-work drinks during the week? Would you be mad about last-minute guests or late-night jam sessions? Set some general ground rules for what’s acceptable and what’s not.
In the end, keeping the peace in marriage and homeownership is all about knowing your spouse, being aware of their needs, and doing your best to support them and your household in equal parts. The rest will fall in line.