How To Help Your Spouse Through The Move

Image from Flickr
Image from Flickr

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to a show called, “House Hunters.” In particular, I’m hooked on the international version. If you’ve never seen it, the premise is pretty straightforward. A realtor shows buyers three homes and they are (allegedly) supposed to choose one of the three. While my focus is supposed to be on the presence or absence of double vanities and granite countertops, charm or modernity, their conflict often comes from spousal differences in opinion. Some of the worst have been in episodes where one spouse is clearly ambivalent about the move altogether. This may or may not be fake, but moving tension is a very real phenomenon. How does an otherwise happy couple adjust when one member would rather just stay put?

Moving is stressful even if everyone in the family is onboard. Whether it be about a job transfer or to be closer to one side of the family, big moves are often quite one-sided. But, with a little understanding and support, the move can be less stressful for even the people who want to stay put.

1. Ask your spouse what they need in a home – Before selecting a home, sit down with your spouse and ask what his or her priorities are. You already got a big concession. Give the next one or two to your spouse.

2. Make it as easy on your spouse as possible – It’s bad enough that your spouse is less than enthusiastic about the move, but you’re making them do all the work? Hire a mover or a move coordinator. Let the mover pack if you can afford it. If not, arrange for some help. Hire a cleaning person to clean both the old and new home.

3. Take your spouse on a romantic date in the new area – Find a nice restaurant. Take an evening stroll through the town. Walk by your new home. Help your spouse fall in love with the new community.

4. Help your spouse find people with common interests – Remember, you have a built in social network – your coworkers. Your spouse won’t have that. Help her or him meet new people. Meetup.com is a great way to start. Look into various groups with common interests.

5. Don’t leave your spouse with all the work of finding service professionals. Help find daycare, pet care, hair salons, gyms, etc. Yelp is a great resource. So is word of mouth.

6. Be patient – It’s possible that your spouse won’t be very happy the first few months after a move. Try to be understanding and ask what you can do to help.