5 things i learned about marriage while moving with Hus

Earlier this summer, I wrote a post about how Hus and I had decided to not move this past August. Well, I wrote wrong. We totally moved.
You see, I was told about this bigger, more affordable house that was only a couple of blocks from campus (where I work) and I had to see it. I did and it was amazing. So we jumped on it.

This was the fourth move for our family since 2004 (the third moving being just last summer- August 2010) and it wasn't any easier than the first move. You'd think that moving would be a breeze for us by now since we have so much practice. But somehow, this is not the case. Moving just sucks.

But the good news is that all of this moving has taught me a few things about my marriage (and about marriage in general).

Working as a team is key to getting anything done. Hus and I work pretty well as a team. We know one another's strengths and we play on them. Hus is good at packing the actual truck and I'm good at going back and forth from the house to the truck with boxes. Hus knows how to pack things so that nothing gets broken and we use all of the space (we once packed a 26-foot long and 8-foot high truck TO-THE-BRIM on our way from Indiana to our first house in Virginia). And, we both work well together when carrying large pieces of furniture. Hus will always accommodate our height difference (I'm 5ft 3in and Hus is 6ft), which definitely makes the day better. And, I try to keep things as organized as possible. The best part is that we both work very hard, and neither of us are slackers. Each of these personality traits bode well in our marriage as well.

Words of encouragement go a long way. I've always believed that encouragement has the power to elicit hard work. And hearing encouraging phrases during a difficult, seemingly never ending task (such as moving) is essential. We tend to literally sheer one another on while moving. "Go, Hus, Go!" and "You can do it, Jen!" are commonly heard on moving day at our house. At this point, it's mostly a fun little game we play more than it is actually encouraging, but it keeps us in good spirits, which help us power through and keep working until the job is done. Just as encouragement is important when moving, it's also important in our marriage. And Hus is really good at this. He always pushes me to pursue anything I'm interested in doing by telling me that I can achieve anything and reminding me why I wanted to do it in the first place. This motivates the hell out of me.

Avoid beating dead horses. We both always make the mistake of complaining about how we have TOO MUCH SHIT whenever we move. This does not help the morale of the day. It's already a really stressful event, and then we go ahead and bitch about our stuff (which isn't going to magically shrink or disappear in mid-move, by the way) for hours on end. And we get specific, too. Hus will ask, "Why do you still have every single one of your notebooks from college?" or I'll say, "When are you going to get rid of that f-ing fish tank? We have lugged that thing around for 7 years and haven't used it for the last 5!" We have the same conversation every time we move. It lasts for days leading up to the move, during the move itself, and for a days after the move. But every time we move, we have the same amount of shit we had the last time. Actually, we usually have a ton more stuff at the next move. As we do in our marriage, we both need to work harder at not arguing about the same f-ing thing over and over and over again.

Don't belittle your partner's feelings. I definitely do this way too often (In fact, I dedicated an entire chapter in my new book to it!). I'll tell Hus, "It'll be fine," "Get over it," or "You're okay" when he drops something on the floor or on himself. He's already pissed off about it and then I stifle his desire to yell and scream and curse, so it infuriates him even more. I talk about supporting your partner "during all of the times in between" in my book, but I still fail to take my own advice. What can I say? It's a work in progress. All marriage-related things are.

Don't sweat the small stuff. There are inevitably several dozen problems that spring up during a move; it's just the nature of the beast. For instance, this last move was ridiuclous. It took way too long and was way too expensive for only moving across town (poor planning on my part, I'm afraid). But, the worst part was all of the little things that went wrong during our 4-day moving extravaganza. First, we were required to have the carpets professionally shampooed in our old rental before we left. Well, I was under the assumption that we could pay the property management company and they would do it (I really thought I heard someone say that last summer). Um, apparently not. I got a call from the management company the day before we were scheduled to be out of dodge asking us if we already had the carpets cleaned. Shit. So I had to frantically scramble to find a carpet cleaning company who was willing to come out by the next day to clean. It took time away from what I was doing, was terribly frustrating, and cost way more than we had planned because the only company available just happened to be the most expensive. This could have ruined our day, week, or month. But, we learned a long time ago that worrying about all of the little things can make you crazy. The bottom line was that we were going to be out of that house (which we never really liked), into a new house (that we adore), and the carpets were getting cleaned. Was it really the end of the world. No, it wasn't. And neither are most other frustrations that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

In the end, I know that Hus and I have a stronger marriage because of the pressure and stress that is put on us during these moves. But, I sure as hell don't want to do it again any time soon.

Don't forget!

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laura said...

I think many of these topics can be accomplished once you move into the new place too. like your first topic--teamwork. J is really good at painting the details--the nooks and crannies and that really annoying spot when the wall meets the ceiling, bless his heart. so he did that area and i kicked ass painting the walls. :-)

Jennie said...

@laura- you're totally right! "the move" doesn't really stop for a while after you get all your stuff in the new digs.

laura said...

jussssssssssssssst take this with a grain of salt too.

a month before the move everyone should dedicate an area for the following piles o crap. 1-keep (therefore to be packed) 2-donate to a shelter and 3-toss. Relationships or not everyone needs to ask themselves if they'll really reuse said item again.

this from a woman who recently moved :-)

Brenda said...

For our last cross-country move (the 2nd in less than a year (51 weeks to be exact), I initially stated it would be "just logistics" that was pre the A/C breaking (in a record heat wave), the truck being delayed by 4 days or some such nonsense, and an endless list of logistics. Still, I took the advice that Jennie list here (and so often gave me in graduate school), that sometimes you just deal and then let the unexpected stuff go psychologically. The world doesn't end and life is a better place.

Brenda said...

That's lists here...

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