We often watch the House Hunters, and House Hunters International shows on HGTV. One aspect of these programs is to show some of the stresses couples deal with in locating a new home for purchase or rent. Often they include job changes and children. While we have moved several times during our marriage, the last was 14 years ago and our memories of the stress have faded. However we have recently been reminded of them as we listened to Bob’s nephew and his wife talk about their third military move in less than 10 years. More personally, we were, and are, in the process of helping two of our children move in the last month – one purchased the townhouse next door to the one they were renting in Chicago, the other moved from Ohio to Texas.
The process of finding and negotiating a purchase or rental agreement can take quite a bit of time and cause stress in a couple just in finding a place that is acceptable and attractive to both. When those details have been worked out, getting an inspection, mortgage approval and closing often come with stressful glitches. Our son who moved next door thought that it should be an easy move until they discovered that their landlord insisted they move out 9 days before they could close on their new home. They went through a great deal of effort to arrange to have their belongings stored while they would move in with us during that time. The situation suddenly changed as closing day neared and they could do the move directly, but the stress was already there.
Moves require attention to many details – stopping and starting utilities, getting address changes out to family friends and businesses, in some cases changing car registrations, driver licenses and insurance, getting children registered in new schools, and learning new rules in a new place. In the move to Texas, our son and his wife had to deal with the city when they accidently ran their lawn sprinkler at a prohibited time and the city disconnected it. One more little thing.
Packing up a house and unpacking/organizing another is fraught with stressful decisions, what to keep/not keep, move/not move, how to arrange furniture and store items. Figuring out where you stored something, when you need it.
One more major issue, of course, is that moves are often associated with job changes for one or both spouses and corresponding effects on income and expenses, as well as related child care issues. There is stress in getting used to a new job and in adjusting to a spouse’s new job.
All of these things impact family relationships – of the couple, as well as with the children. The kids need extra support in getting adjusted to a new school, new house, making friends. Often prior support systems, family and friends, are disrupted, especially when distance is involved. So moving is a time when relationships need special attention. We have been fortunate to help both of our children move their families – in one case by watching small children as their parents packed as well as in the actual moving day with unpacking and getting their children’s bedroom organized and ready for them for their first night in their new home. For the long-distance move of our other son, we were able to keep their kids for a week as their Ohio home was packed up and moved to Texas. Then we took them to their new home and have been here for over a week helping to organize and make it a home, especially for their children, by helping them organize their rooms.
The relationship of husband and wife is at the heart of it all. When they are together and strong in their relationship, everything else is easier. We believe that strong communication is essential. The stresses of moving will cause tension and disagreements, but hanging in there and confronting issues together can get a couple through the difficulties. (read last week’s blog, Married and Fighting before fighting). We are skeptical when House Hunters shows the family a week or two after moving in and they gush about it being the right move and just wonderful for their family. We know that effort can get you there, but it might take somewhat longer until you feel at home in the house and the community.
As noted last week, our grandson, Jack, asked Rita if everything is possible. She responded to him that all things are possible with God. He said, “Now that is something to think about.” Romans 8:28 is one of her favorite scripture quotes. Depending on the translation it reads “All things are possible for those who love the Lord.” Successful, happy marriages exemplify this. When one thinks of the possibility of two people with their own personalities, desires, goals, needs, wants, physical capabilities, emotional make-up, psychological composition and spiritual underpinnings, it is amazing that the two can become one as Genesis states is God’s plan. Possibilities and trusting aren’t always easy and may have ups and downs but when married couples have the goal to live as one, things are possible that otherwise might not seem to be so. Even moving.
Please leave a comment below.
Today’s scripture readings, reflection and prayer:
Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Make a retreat with your spouse, at home, on your time. Readings, relationship tips, questions for discussion.