Throughout your marriage, you will likely choose to move once or twice—and sometimes much more often. I have packed up at least 30 times, and have learned that it’s never easy.
Packing up your home and moving to a new location, whether across town or across the planet, can challenge anyone. Starting over somewhere new…doctors, bank, grocery, and more—always presents difficulties. Your schedules, responsibilities, and the structure of your life together as a couple can change dramatically in a new location.
The reason for the move could be a new job, an opportunity to serve in a new community, or a larger home for a growing family. Remember to celebrate the good as you go through the moving challenges.
Despite the hassles of moving, a new environment can also have blessings for your marriage before, during, and after the relocation. It can provide a new start; give each partner a new outlook; and even provide for spiritual growth. This Baha’i prayer can help in that process:
If it be Thy pleasure, make me to grow as a tender herb in the meadows of Thy grace, that the gentle winds of Thy will may stir me up and bend me into conformity with Thy pleasure, in such wise that my movement and my stillness may be wholly directed by Thee. – Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 240.
Moving gives us an opportunity to clear out the material possessions you haven’t used in a long time. You can give away that guitar gathering dust, the extra blender, and the books you read long ago. You can recycle the accumulated papers that no longer have value. Honestly, it’s almost the only time I catch up with filing, and discard all those out-of-date documents! Moving gives you the bounty of cleaning up and reorganizing your lives–everything from files and bookcases to the arrangement of furniture.
You can also throw out the old attitudes and make a new start:
…the life of a married couple should resemble the life of the angels in heaven — a life full of joy and spiritual delight, a life of unity and concord, a friendship both mental and physical. The home should be orderly and well-organized. Their ideas and thoughts should be like the rays of the sun of truth and the radiance of the brilliant stars in the heavens. Even as two birds they should warble melodies upon the branches of the tree of fellowship and harmony. – Abdu’l-Baha, Compilation on Family Life, p. 397.
As you go through papers and memorabilia, moving also gives you the gift of inviting you to review your lives. What have you accomplished? What have you learned? What have you experienced? You can smile over an old anniversary card or ticket stubs from a special concert. You can find old photos and recall fun times together. Graduation certificates will remind you of the hard work you put into your education. Make sure to set aside some time during the moving process for this valuable activity.
Moving can help you to see that some of the items you have should be in someone else’s hands. Perhaps a friend or relative would enjoy reliving a memory, and you choose to mail an item to one of them. I recently sent a file folder of special letters to someone, which they had written as a child. Maybe you can uplift an ill neighbor with a gift of something that indicated you were thinking of him or her. A local charity could benefit from your generosity, too.
The process of packing also gives couples a time to connect with friends who are willing to help you and spend time with you. Involving those you care about in this difficult task of packing, moving, and leaving can make it easier.
In your new location, you may also have family, friends, or new acquaintances who will help you settle into your new home. If not, then you can solidify your marriage by relying on each other for help with the many physical tasks every move requires—reassembly, picture hanging, furniture moving, and more.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the moments in your move when you can hold each other in comfort. Big change often brings both joy and grief. When you move, your vitally important marriage relationship can keep you grounded in love, familiar and secure.
Marriage strengthening through an online course “Creating a Fortress for Well-Being and Salvation” is available through the Wilmette Institute for couples in the early years of marriage. Read more information on the course’s webpage. The discount code is BT20. It will give people a 20% discount when they pay.