The median age for men to get married for the first time is 29.7 years and 28 years for women, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies. In nearly 30 years, a person can accumulate a lot of junk. Multiply that by two, and a honeymoon cottage can look more like something from an episode of The Hoarder Next Door. Combining two households requires a combination of decorative flare and psychological insight. If you do it wrong, you can have your first fight before you even move in. But, if it’s done right, your new home will sparkle with shared love.
Two People, One Home
The Freudian joke is that sometimes a banana is just a banana. But in the world of psychology, everything means so much more. Deciding whether or not to keep that ugly lamp or a favorite table cloth may be setting the tone for your entire marriage whether you realize it or not. Self-protection and distrust have a direct effect on marital satisfaction. For instance, if you have two chairs but only need one, logic dictates that you have a yard sale for the one in the worst condition. But, self-protection whispers worry into your mind, telling you to keep your chair just in case. Try to keep your decision making rational, and if emotions or insecurities rise to the surface, discuss them. Use this time to make your new marriage strong.
Be True to Your Culture
When two businesses merge, the companies do not simply pile new desks next to old desks, and there are not two CEOs. But, this does not mean that someone has to be demoted. It means that the whole structure and culture of the businesses need to be integrated, retaining the strengths and dispensing of the weaknesses. When you get married, you are merging two families, two cultures and two lifestyles. Start looking across the aisle for the things that you are happily incorporating into your new life. You may have been raised with meat and potatoes but lechon y arroz also are pretty yummy.
Leave Room to Expand
The simple fact of marriage is that you do not know what the future holds. The way that you handle adversity and change will define the success of your marriage. There are so many things that can change in a lifetime from babies to job loss to moves and promotions, and you need to be open to changing together. So as you create your home, leave room for change. You do not need to fill every empty space because the natural ebb and flow of life will fill it for you.
Throw It All Out
If the picking and choosing of who’s furniture, decorations and other household items are going to be used, then toss them all and start new. Have a yard sale or donate the old stuff, and start shopping for your new home together. Start with a piece of furniture that you fought about and pick out something you both like. Go for big pieces like a comfy couch, or begin anew with the details like patterned curtains or drapes. But no matter what, don’t fight and be sure to compromise.
This is your time to create the foundation of your marriage and leave your old stuff in the past. Being able to differentiate your marriage from your past life and family of origin will lead you to a healthier, happier and more intimate life together.