I've been living with G for 7.5 years now. I moved in with him after we were married. I moved into his teeny tiny 400 square feet apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom. It was our first home together and I'll always look back on it fondly. Even if there was a drug bust across the hall and a nudist across the balcony from us.
We moved into our second apartment and lived there for 1.5 years before buying our house. I loved this apartment. It was close to my parents, brother and SIL. It was in a great area. Close to work. We had our own laundry room! The only drawback here was the neighbors. They fought every night around 2 a.m.
When we finally bought our house it was really nice to have peace and quiet. A private backyard. Nice neighbors. Nothing is ever perfect, but here are some of my tips to live together well:
- Share the chores. G loves to cook and I enjoy cleaning so I clean the kitchen after he cooks. He enjoys vacuuming and mowing. I clean the bathrooms and dust. Sometimes we just divide and conquer. I'll clean the upstairs and he'll clean the downstairs. We fold and put the laundry together. The point is we share the load. We don't LOVE chores, but we know if we help each other out and get them done we can hang out together quicker. Be a united front. Be a team.
- Sometimes you do a chore because it is more important to you. What I mean is this: I love a clean house. Even if people aren't coming over. Even if I just cleaned the house a week ago. G doesn't understand cleaning a house when people are not coming over or I "just" cleaned it a week ago. It matters to me and if it only matters to me then I can clean it for ME. I'm not going to ask him to help when it doesn't bug him. Just like he will drop everything and mow if the neighbors just mowed and his grass looks super long. It matters to him so he will take care of it. Trust me on this. I could have avoided a lot of fights if I hadn't begged G to help me clean when it only mattered to me. Now I don't wait for a compliment on how nice the bathroom looks after I clean it. I did it because it was important to me and that is enough.
- Don't share a bathroom. If possible I highly recommend. It is absolutely amazing to not have to share a bathroom. I use the master bathroom and G uses the guest bath. We each have our own space to get ready for work and we don't get in each others way. It is wonderful.
- Spend quality time together. I can see how it could be easy to live in a house and become roommates. Do your own thing and rarely bump into each other. G and I are intentional to not let that be the case for us. We drink our coffee together every morning and we eat dinner together every night. It's our quality time. We talk about our days. Plans for the weekend. Our next house project. The next vacation we want to take. It's just a time for us to reconnect and enjoy each other's company.
- Don't give up your hobbies. On the other hand, I can also see how when you live together you spend every second together and that isn't healthy either. Everyone needs their space at some point or another and everyone needs to enjoy hobbies that energize and refuel them. I have girls nights about once a month. G does woodworking in the garage. I get lost in a book on the deck. G runs outside and I do a workout video. We each have our things we like to do and we do them.
- Talk it out. I know this will sound obvious but it wasn't for me. Your significant other is not a mind reader. If you can't stand that he puts his dirty laundry next to the basket you have to tell him. He doesn't know and he isn't doing it to make you mad. Communicate in a loving way and seek to resolve (not win). Set expectations and stick to them. If you get on the same page sooner than later it will make life so much easier.
- Pick your battles. Sometimes it's just better to give your significant other grace and let it go. The dishes in the sink. The overflowing garbage. Again, remember they are not trying to ruin your day. Maybe they forgot. Or rushed to get to work. Give grace and be servant hearted. Maybe it is just something that matters more to you than to him and its time to let it go and take care of it yourself.
What would you add to this list to live together well?