Wow… after 5 years and 3 months of living with other people, I cannot believe the day has finally come where we will be living on our own (and hopefully loving it)!
We married in 2006, and spent the next 1.5 years making a townhouse our home and getting used to living with one another. I remember those testing times where an argument would be over something as simple as tea-towels – apparently there’s one tea-towel for drying hands, and one for drying dishes. Or the best way to defrost meat. Or how to stop the doona from magically disappearing over to one person’s side of the bed each night. Ah, the joy of being newlywed!
We then made a significant decision to move in with my in-laws for an indefinite period of time in order to save to buy land or a house. After a year we had saved enough mula, and along with a secondary party, bought a 405sqm block of land. We sourced a builder, signed a contract, and then I was called into the office and made redundant. To say this was a testing time would be an understatement! Not only did I need a new job stat, but it had to be a full-time permanent role at a certain pay level in order for the bank to approve our build. So, after months of applications, interviews, knock-backs, and tears, I started a new job.
In April of 2010, I passed probation and the bank gave the nod. Earthworks began early July and the slab was laid a week later. The agreement of “you’ll be in before Christmas” turned to “early 2011” and then finally, in August 2011 we moved in – 9 months past the original completion due date… by that time, I think we were pretty much over it and just happy to finally be in! That marked the end of living with in-laws for 3.5 years and the commencement of living with another married couple indefinitely – them downstairs, us upstairs, with a shared kitchen/laundry/garage.
Our affectionately nicknamed 7 Hills Haus (7HH) was (is) beautiful. I remember as the warmer weather came upon us, how the light would dance in a different way throughout the house, announcing the start of spring. The maple leaves multiplied and we could actually contemplate swimming in the pool that had remained untouched during cooler weekends. We had a flurry of dinner parties, made the most of our overhead rain shower, and slightly panicked as people jumped into the pool from the upper deck. Whilst living with friends as opposed to family had it’s upsides, it still had its constraints – no walking around in your knickers that’s for sure!
Since 7HH was intended to be a short-term investment, we put up the sale sign in July 2012 and commenced weekly cleaning sprees and purchasing of flowers to entice buyers. Our first contract fell through only a month after we went on the market, and then we had a long wait until early 2013 till the next contract… which also fell through due to finance. Finally, our third contract passed and we received the news of the sale going unconditional just before Easter. What a mixed bag of emotions: joy, disappointment, excitement, sadness, but above all relief. We may not have got what we wanted, but we still made profit in an unsteady market…
…AND we still maintained great relationships with our family, our friends, and each other!
It has been a long journey, an eventful one, but its the experiences along the way that shape us into the people we are today. People ask ‘would you do it all over again if you had the chance?’ and I don’t feel I can answer that question. We simply chose a path and pursued it. We sacrificed a lot to achieve what we wanted, had massive highs and crushing lows, and have grown enormously in the process. Do I regret it? Not at all! Did I envisage living with other people for most of our married life? No way. But I trusted that there was a greater plan for our lives and we hopped onboard for the ride.
Sure, living with other people is not for everyone… but if you decide to go down that path as a married couple then here are my top tips for making it work:
- You need to have an overall plan/purpose and agree on specific goals to reach so as to keep perspective (and sanity).
- You need to look past the things the irritate you about the people you live with and understand that you have things that irritate them too!
- You need to make time to check in with each other on a regular basis – go on a date and ask how one another is coping and if there’s anything you can do to help.
- Above all, know when to bail. Tough times are one thing but if the situation is pushing your marriage to breaking point then it’s not worth it.
Thank you to everyone for your support and love other the past years and here’s to the next chapter of our lives!