Even though this living arrangement would be a temporary one (home renovations are taking a lot longer than expected), my friend would rather not stay at her in-laws’ house while they wait.
I can’t blame her.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fortunate enough to get along very well with my in-laws and enjoy being around them. With that being said, I don’t think living with them would greatly benefit my marriage. I use the word “greatly” since there would be a few benefits such as splitting or taking turns paying bills, having easy access to babysitters and shared household chores.
Of course, nothing can beat the help with the above items, but is it worth the challenges that can come from living with your in-laws? My friend is newly married and newlyweds already have the hurdles of getting used to living with each other (and other minute annoyances that have to be ironed out). Having gone through that, I advised her to weigh other options as opposed to moving in with family. I wouldn’t do it, not now and possibly not ever, for a few reasons.
For one, it’s one thing to live with in-laws, but to move into their home is a whole other beast. We all know that women run their household, so each woman would want to build a home the way in which they desire. If you move into another woman’s home (regardless of who that woman is to you), it can become a power struggle. Now add your husband in the mix as the common denominator of issues and the struggle gets more real.
Regardless of the stage that your marriage is in, all couples also need space. If you’re newlyweds, you both need time to enjoy the beginning of your marriage with no interference, and if you’ve been married for years, you need space to enjoy each other, at any time, and space to work through any issues. The last thing you and your spouse would want or need is an outside party, albeit family, butting into any disagreements or problems that you might have and causing unnecessary drama.
I know that some people would disagree and mention that living with family could be great for financial reasons and it would allow the kids to be around their grandparents a lot more. If that’s the best situation for you and your family, great. I do think there are ways to make it work.
First, set boundaries so that you and your spouse can ensure time apart from your in-laws. For example, if you are staying in the basement and this is possible, create direct access to the outside so that you and your family can come in and out of your living space with no interruption. If that’s not possible, just make sure there is some type of marker to note when you’d like your privacy.
Second, make sure you and your spouse have regular date nights. This will give you two a chance, and a great excuse, to get away from family.
Third, set a date to move out and work towards that goal. While living with your in-laws could be your ideal situation for now, it should be temporary.
Whether you live with your in-laws or your parents, being married and living with other people can be tough. Just exhaust all topics of communication, weigh all options and think long and hard before deciding to make that jump. Because chances are, you wouldn’t just be sharing space, but also the goings on of your marriage.