Planning a wedding can be both stressful and exciting. For the months preceding it, it may seem like all plans revolve around cakes, centerpieces, picking music, premarital counseling, and deciding between having a meal at the reception or just hors d’oeuvres. While there is some time spent picking a place to live and moving into it, the bulk of the plans revolve around the actual wedding day. Yet, after the wedding day is over and you come back from your honeymoon, your homestead will be waiting for you. A little more time spent planning your move-in before the wedding will cause less headache working out the kinks after marriage.
When two people get married, they have the daunting task of learning to share a space. This may not be a big deal to some couples; yet, to others, it may seem like a war. The important thing to remember is that your home needs to represent you both and meet both of your needs – whether it is a 600 square foot apartment or a 4,000 square foot home. If you are someone who enjoys decorating, it may even be more tempting to take over the decorating plans.
Be sure to incorporate your spouse in the planning, even if he (or she) does not seem to care about the result. Both people need to have input because this will be the place you rest every night and live every day. When you walk into it, it needs to bring a sense of calm and peace to you both. Your spouse may be energized by bright yellow, but if he or she wants that color in the office (and just looking at the sample gives you a headache), you need to be upfront and honest about the color choice. In rooms where concentration is needed, a softer, more natural color is probably also needed. In rooms centered on fun and play, perhaps a louder color is appropriate. Whatever decisions are made about wall colors, furniture placement and room themes, they need to be done with both people on board.
As much as we love our spouses, we all need a little space from time to time and our dwelling places should afford us this space. Whether you prefer a nicely arranged den or a certain corner of the bedroom, time should be taken to make that space comfortable for you. Each person, if possible, should have their own space. Men often like having a room affectionately known as a “man cave.” These rooms usually include recliners and audio and visual technology. If your current living space is too small to accommodate rooms dedicated just to one person, still find a way to make certain spaces comfortable for your needs and your spouse’s needs. Once those spaces are set, respect them. Don’t invade your spouse’s comfort spot with clutter or take over it for your own projects.
Setting up your housing structure should be done early – either before marriage or in the first ninety days. The way you get used to living in your home, even if you are not happy with it, is likely the way it will stay because we are creatures of habit. Even if you cannot afford to paint and decorate right away, think about how you’d like your furniture arranged. Consider different scenarios while you decide which way the couch to face, where the TV should go, and which corner needs the big lamp.
If one person already resides in the house or apartment, it is important that the one moving in has the power to make some changes that reflect him or her. It is easy to get territorial about our space when it has belonged to us alone for so long; but, it is not fair to expect someone to call this new place “home” without being able to make it homey to them. This is not to say that the one moving in gets to completely take over the place; however, after he or she is in, the house should reflect both spouse’s personalities and needs. It should be clear to others that two unique, yet harmonized, individuals live there.
Home is where the heart is, and home is where you look forward to returning after long days. Make sure your home is a haven, and not a storage unit with a bed, couch, and a TV. If you cannot walk into your home and heave a sigh of relief, there is still work to be done! If you have not yet done so, spend some time creating furniture and decorating plans for your new dwelling together.
Have you thought about how your apartment or home will look when you move in together?