Maintaining a Healthy Marriage When Downsizing to a Smaller Apartment
Your five-bedroom 3500 square foot house just seems to be too big now, and you and your husband are considering downsizing.
You both think that you just have too much stuff, and as you continue to age, you want to simplify things.
You’ve found a great apartment nearby which is more affordable, you finally have enough money to retire, the kids are situated well enough that you think they can do without your constant presence, and you are ready to take the leap.
Take a step back, however, and make sure that you know what you are getting into:
1. He’s ready to be done with the lawn
Our good friend was a lawn guy. He not only loved his lawn, but also every individual blade of grass.
Cutting the lawn wasn’t work—it was therapy. When he and his wife moved to a condo, he was OK at first because he felt freed from the twice-a-week cutting requirements that made it difficult for him to go on a relaxing vacation. No one would edge the lawn as he did, he thought, so going anywhere during the prime grass-growing season was unheard of.
His condo had so-so landscaping, and he started to talk to the owner about it.
Next, our guy was drafting garden plans, and his wife was not that surprised when she found him cutting the grass at the complex. Our friend really missed gardening, and if it weren’t for the opportunity the complex owner gave him, our guy would have been quite depressed.
2. One bathroom is enough
The new apartment is great, but it only has one bathroom.
No problem, you think, because instead of a big family, you only have two people living in the new space. Think again, though, because if both of you have somewhere to go at the same time, you may be competing for space, and that can be a serious conflict.
Maybe signing up for bathroom time isn’t something you want to get into.
3. Limited space
You could always escape to a part of your home where no one would bother you, but in a downsized apartment, you may have to hide out in a closet. If that doesn’t appeal to you, think about downsizing to a little bigger space.
4. Messes look worse
If you have one messy room in a big home, you can always just shut the door.
If you have a one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, dining, and living room all attached and visible, an unkempt area might make your entire place looked trashed. Also, speaking of trash, the one kitchen container that you have in your smaller apartment may need to be emptied many times per day.
5. Trial run
Living together in a downsized apartment can be stressful, especially if you’re a former homeowner used to spending time together working on renovation projects.
Maybe try out a one-month vacation in a rented place similarly sized to the quarters you think would be an ideal downsized space.
If that works, you can think seriously about moving.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.