I am a huge fan of couples moving in together before marriage. I understand that a lot of times due to religious reasons or respect for parents’ rules, moving in together before marriage may not be possible. Or maybe it’s that you’ve got your own place that you’re not quite ready to give up. The thing is that you learn so much more about a person once you have to share a space with them. Vacations are great, because you do get a dose of how your SO sleeps, gets up—and just their general routine—but often times you don’t see how the person is on a day-to-day basis on the vacation. You don’t see the little quirks they have until you live with them every single day. And guess what? It can be eye-opening.
Have “the talk”
When you’re at that comfortable point in your relationship where you can see yourself potentially being with this person long term, have the talk. The talk about whether or not you want to get married, have kids (and how many) and move in before marriage. Once you’ve both established that you’re on the same page about moving in together before marriage, it becomes a lot easier to approach the when and how down the road. Once you’ve gotten to the point where moving in is in the near future, have the discussion on the how, when and where? Are you planning on renting first and then buying? Are you saving for a house together while still living apart in your respective homes (either alone or with your parents)? Is someone moving into someone else’s house? They can sometimes be tough questions to ask and to have a discussion like that. If it becomes a tense conversation, back off a bit and try again later—perhaps it’s just not time.
When it’s time to finally make the big move, try to have a game plan. Moving can be stressful under the best circumstances, and it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re lugging furniture and boxes of shoes (yes, plural) all day long. Have a game plan ready for which room you’re going to unpack first (the bedroom, duh), when you’re going to paint, go furniture shopping, etc. so that way when you actually move you’ll hopefully have all the kinks worked out
Have your space
The key to living together harmoniously is having your own space and hobbies. One of the bonuses of living together is that you’re less dependent on making plans on when you’re going to hang out because you know at the end of the day you will see one another at some point. One of the traps that couples fall into when moving in together is that they spend all their time together and can sometimes get sick of each other (this sounds silly, but it happens more often than you think). Take living together as an opportunity to try different things or employ “separate togetherness,” where you’re doing one thing (reading a book, watching a movie on your computer, etc.) and he’s doing something else, but you’re both close by or in the same room. Having your space helps too for when you have those little fights (or when his quirks become annoying—it happens) to avoid storming out. Just go into the other room, chill for a bit and then talk it out.
…But make time for each other too
As easy as it is to fall into the trap of spending all your time together, it’s easy to also neglect one another because you know you’ll see them at some point in the day. Go on dates with each other (and just each other—no double dates) at least a few times a month. Whether it’s staying in for movies and a nice meal or going out for drinks, make a point to act like a couple and not always like roommates. And if you do go out for your date, get ready in separate rooms (actually, one of the keys to harmonious living is actually having your clothes in separate rooms if you can get away with it) so when you’re ready to go, it’ll be like he’s picking you up for your first date all over again.