Living together as man and wife is different from living together before marriage, to say nothing of living on your own while dating. You may have been with your fiancée for years, spending every night together for as long as you can recall. You may feel that you already know her inside and out. But when you get married, things will be different. You won’t just be shacking up. You’ll be husband and wife, and building a “home.”
This is a huge step—and since you have so much on your mind already with all this wedding planning, you may not give it much thought. But sharing a home with your wife is going to change things, and that feels weird, even when those changes are awesome. Here are some ways to prepare for the coming life shift, so you don’t end up fighting over who left the toilet seat up. (It was you.)
Don’t Sweat The Clutter
When you begin living together, there’s going to be more stuff—and your home will be more messy more often—if only because now there will be two people instead of one. Of course, it’s entirely possible (and even probable) that you are the one who’s the Oscar and she’s the Felix, and chances are good you are driving her nuts with garbage you leave around the apartment. But it’s human nature that we all tend to ignore our own clutter and be annoyed by other people’s piles of stuff. So resolve from the beginning to remember this woman is not your roommate, or your house cleaner: she’s the love of your life. Don’t freak out just because there are suddenly back issues of O Magazine everywhere you look.
By the way, it’s your job to take out the trash.
Life Will Get Hairy
This might seem minor but trust us, it will drive you insane. Remember how when you lived alone, you used to just use your bathroom whenever you wanted, and you didn’t even shut the door? Well, now your bathroom is going to be off-limits to you for long periods of time. It will also be full of nice smelling expensive hair products. And when you finally do get in there, you will notice your shower and sink drain are suddenly full of hair. No one knows why this is: She’s not going bald, she’s just shedding.
By the way, it’s your job to declog the drains.
Don’t Get Co-dependent
You know how you sometimes see elderly couples who seem to have morphed from separate individuals into one neurotic organism? Well, that didn’t happen overnight. The intermingling of your lives will creep up on you, starting in small ways. For instance, the first time your wife goes out of town without you, you’ll think: cool, now I can play video games and watch porn and get hammered and take a crap with the door open. By the next day you’ll be missing her. By the third day you’re spending all your time cleaning up the house and calling her. This is how it starts.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet: it’s sometimes difficult to draw the line between intimacy and emotional dependency. True, it’s better to have someone you miss than not to love at all. But it’s healthy if you and your wife can both maintain some degree of independence: maybe you have a weekly night out with the guys, while she hangs out with her friends. You’re not signing away your right to be who you are when you co-sign a lease.
By the way, it’s your job to mail the lease.
Be Aware Of Another Pair Of Eyes
You know the old saying “dance like nobody’s watching?” Well, now you have to learn the opposite rule, which is to chill out like someone is watching. Women are like surveillance cameras. They notice everything. If you put the toilet roll on such that the paper rolls from the bottom rather than the top, you will hear about it. The days when you used to eat dinner in your underwear standing over the sink are numbered.
Also, remember how you used to just go out and come home whenever you felt like it. Now you have to tell her when you leave, and say stuff like, ”Honey? I’m just popping out to get some milk.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you won’t have the freedom that comes with knowing that nobody is watching. By the way, it’s your job to get 2%, not Whole.
Say Goodbye To Your Fallout Boy Posters
You have to find a way to merge not only your bank accounts but your sense of home décor. There will be aesthetic clashes. The milk crates that you kept your vinyl collection in will be replaced with baskets from Crate and Barrel. Your heavy bag will be removed. Also there is something called a throw pillow. This one’s tricky because you are not actually allowed to throw it, or even sit on it. Also, remember that closet where you kept your electric guitar? Yeah. That’s not yours anymore.
On the upside, you will discover a bunch of nice smelling lotions in your medicine cabinet. Also, there will inevitably be duplicates: you don’t need two Vitamixers or two coffee tables. By the way, it’s your job to donate these extras to charity.
Redefine Alone Time
This is perhaps the biggest change you will experience. When you’re dating, you can always take a day off, or have a night alone. When you move in together, you will end up spending all your downtime together. Being able to see each other every day is great but if you are an introvert who values solitude, it will be challenging at first. You will discover there’s a huge difference between spending most of your time together and all of your time together. Especially if you live in a small apartment or home, you will need to find skillful ways to negotiate those moments when your first thought is “You again?”
By the way, it’s your job to never say that out loud.