The Impact Moving Can Have on Your Marriage

There are many things about moving that can be exciting. Maybe you’ll get to experience a new city or state. Perhaps you’ve purchased your first home — or are upgrading to a bigger place.

But even if there are good things about the move, it’s bound to add lots (and lots) of stress. After all, you’re packing up your entire life and transferring it somewhere else. That’s a lot of work — mentally, emotionally, and physically.

And that’s something that’s going to impact your marriage. How so?

Marriage Problems That Can Stem from Moving

Moving relationship stress can take all kinds of forms when a couple is planning a move or after arriving in a new place.

Fighting. You may argue about what to take and what to leave behind. How the move should be handled. Who should be doing what. And more.

Disconnection. A move is a huge project. Because of this, it’s all too easy to feel disconnected from each other if one of you dives into it and the other doesn’t. In some situations, one person may even need to move first for a job, making it even more difficult to connect.

Loneliness. There are some similarities here with disconnection, but with this one we’re specifically talking about the feeling that comes with moving to a new area when you don’t know anyone. This can be particularly hard on kids and people who don’t have traditional jobs. Particularly if you are moving for a single person’s career, this can lead to resentment and anger.

Dealing With Moving Stress as a Couple

What can you do to alleviate moving relationship stress?

Build in time to talk and plan. It probably feels like there’s no time for this. But trust us when we say things will be worse if you don’t make time. Ideally, you should sit down together — even kids, if you have any — and talk through the moving process. 

When are things happening? Who needs to do what? If you can create some kind of checklist that everyone can see and access, even better.

Keep date night/family time. There’s so much to do that it’s easy for each of you to feel like you’re on your own separate islands dealing with your individual lives and responsibilities. Reduce this feeling by making sure you’re still spending time together.

Maybe “date night” involves opening a bottle of wine while packing boxes. And family time means ordering pizza and making a game out of cleaning up the house. The point is to continue to find ways to connect and remind each other that you’re in this together.

Learn about the new area. Going somewhere new is never easy — especially if the move is far enough that you truly feel like you’re leaving people behind. There are no foolproof shortcuts to building social connections in a new area, but it can help to do research — and reach out early and often.

Before you even move, check out nearby stores, restaurants, and other landmarks. Join local Facebook groups and seek out neighborhood organizations. If you have kids, take them on a tour of their new school and neighborhood. Even if the physical distance is too much, all of this can be done virtually!

Validate everyone’s loss. While it’s valuable to focus on what life will be like after the move, make sure to let everyone grieve what they’re leaving behind. Friends. Possibly family. The neighborhood. Shops and restaurants. Workplaces. Schools.

This is particularly important with kids, because parents often attempt to reassure children that everything will be okay, which can make them feel like their loss doesn’t matter. Let them vent. Let them grieve. Acknowledge that it’s hard and it might suck for a while. Commiserating with them will make them feel a lot closer than trying to rush them through their feelings.

Still struggling? Moves are tough, and everyone feels stretched thin. Professional counseling can help when the stress is too much to bear. Get in touch with Norene Gonsiewski and Tim Higdon today to throw your relationship a life preserver.