Moving my Marriage.

As most of you know, I live in Russia. Not permanently – we’ve been here for eighteen months, and it’s a three year contract, so we’re halfway through our time here. We’re here because of Andy’s job, although I now work here too (for my sanity I HAD to find myself something to do – I tried the expat wife thing of having my nails done and long lunches, but it’s just not me). I’ve been wanting to write a piece for a long time on choosing to up and move overseas with your partner, and how it can affect your relationship, but now that we’ve been here for a while, and are more settled into our lives, I’m not sure I’m the best qualified to write about the huge impact that it has, and the emotions, and issues that it can raise. Marie however, from Wife in a New City moved to the US recently with her husband’s job, and having been a long time follower of her blog, I knew she’d be the ideal person to talk about it. 

The thing is, the issues that moving overseas with someone else can bring up, aren’t only relevant to people in our situation. They are issues that can, and probably will arise in any relationship. Moving somewhere within your home country can be just as difficult – your support network is suddenly  and dramatically shrunk. One of you losing your job and becoming reliant on the other financially is an issue that, in these times, could hit any one of us. Even giving up work to stay at home and have children can bring up all sorts of issues similar to those that Marie mentions (and more). I’m sure there are lots more – let us know in the comments what strains your relationship’s has survived…and how, like  Marie’s, it affected your relationship – for better or worse. 

J and I had been together for seven and a half years and married for one and a half of those when we moved our marriage. Picked it up and put it down on the other side of the Atlantic. The opportunity to move had come about earlier, a few months earlier and we had spent many evenings discussing the pros and cons, the practicalities and the worries of changing things in such a big way. The thing was though that we were changing our external circumstance and keeping constant our marriage. Just moving it to a new place.
When we got married I didn’t know how things would change, in my mind, in our lives and in our relationship. I thought things would be the same as they were before we got married, just harder to escape from. But it’s funny because it really did change, it really did feel different. The being harder to escape from made a big difference, the solidity it gave us was wonderful and knowing you had the constant support and trust from someone you loved, well that was huge. Not that it hadn’t been there before but somehow it felt even stronger once we had crossed that line taken the next step.
When we moved I also didn’t know how things would change. I knew it would be hard but I didn’t imagine how hard it really would be, will be. We made the decision to move together, it was as much my decision as his and this was important, there was no way I was going to be uprooted from so much I knew and loved without deciding to do so for me and for us. So we faced the move together, the practical difficulties of living in a new country were fought as a team and then we started to establish our lives here. In the background though we both found it tough and not wanting to make it hard on the other kept a little quieter than normal about that.
The move is so far the hardest thing we have been through together. It has changed things, each of us as individuals and our relationship. We’ve been tested in ways we hadn’t been tested before. Losing my income has been hard for me I’ve struggled to work out my value while not contributing. But we’ve talked about it, a lot, and now I don’t worry so much, in fact it’s been a change for the better, I am spending less on useless crap and we’re starting to save again which is wonderful. Feeling like I only have J for support has also been tough but at the same time he has been more support over the last few months than I could have imagined and although I miss my friends terribly I can talk to J about so many things and am enjoying treasuring this time together, just us, really enjoying being married and with each other.

I feel like we’re now stronger together, having gone through this and faced issues I’m sure will surface again in the future, especially the balance of contributions in the marriage and money. It’s not been easy, I don’t want to make it sound too rosy because we had some really tough months, but I think we’re coming out the other end of the tunnel now and building our future how we want to. If the opportunity arose again in the future would I do it again, who knows, this was the right time in our life and our marriage to do this.

Categories: Life Experience, Marriage, Travel
10 interesting thoughts on this

10 Comments

  1. Posted February 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    This is so timely for me. I'm stuck in a bit of a work/life rut at the moment, as is my husband (everything is great with our relationship; we're just not where where everything else is going). While I would love to move abroad (I lived in France for a year and LOVED it), due to family illness I want to stay closer to home. But moving, say, 50 miles away to the next city wouldn't be unthinkable – if Marie and her husband can move all the way to DC then surely a little move like that would be easy peasy… Lots to think about, anyway.

    Oh and I totally love DC, am very jealous of you living there! Ben's Chilli Bowl – mmmmmmm (yeah, I'm such a tourist).

  2. Posted February 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Marie (and Clare) you are my idols. Honestly, I have so much respect for you and am amazed at the strength of your relationships-or rather your belief in the strength of your relationships!

    Phil and I moved to Southampton a couple of years ago-50 miles from my family and I struggled. Possibly due to my age, I was only 19 and still very close to my parents and little brothers…but it was so hard! We're 35 miles away now and that 15 miles and 4 years have made all the difference!

    May you and your husband continue to have the most wonderful life together in Washington, Marie. I am in awe.

    Chilli for dinner, anyone?!

    x

  3. Posted February 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I love the whole talk of new beginnings in marriage, and for you it happened after 1.5 years and for others it will be much earlier or later.

    I think the dealing with change and adapting is part of marriage that doesn't get talked about enough, especially in essentially positive circumstances like a new job opportunity for example…this is so valuable to others in new marriages like me, and I hope through this you continue to build something even more brilliant and to grow your marriage together…x ps. off to check out your blog now!

  4. Anna K
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if this is what Mr K feels. I always forget he's "abroad" – his family and best friends all live in another country. I always assume we'll stay and make a life in the UK. Because the UK is home. Is that fair to him? I don't know. I have strong and incredible network of family and friends all within a couple of hours of me. All he has here is me.

    Right, off to give Mr K a massive hug…thank you ladies for making me think!

  5. Posted February 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    @Kristy – Any kind of move can be good, even if it's a few streets, the change, the newness, the discovery. And Ben's Chilli Bowl, hell yeah! It is amazing.

    @Aisling – Thank-you. I think it has been made easier by having an ending to it. We know we will come back at some point. But I can understand how you would want to be close to your family. I miss mine hugely.

    @Lucy – Yes, true, people tend to talk about marriages just continuing and not changing and developing. I'm hoping I've learnt many things from this move which will help with other changes we'll have to face!

    @Anna K – It's tough being so far away from family, but more so for some than others. I think as long as you and Mr K talk about it and make decisions together about where you'll be then that's the key thing. I guess you do never know what will happen but you do have each other and that is key!

  6. Posted February 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Marie made a really valuable point actually – I get asked a lot how I can manage to live so far away from everything and everyone I know, and how 'brave' (hah!) I am. But actually, the fact that there is a very specific time limit to it makes it so much easier. People who emigrate, you know, FOR LIFE, are so much braver than I could ever be. I know that, even if we don't come back after Russia, and end up going on somewhere else, it will still always be for a limited amount of time. 'Home' is still in the UK. So sometimes moving to another town in the UK *permanently* can be SO much harder than what Marie and I have done, because psychologically, what you define as your 'home' has to change. Therefore, Aisling and Kirsty – I salute YOU for even thinking about doing it.

  7. Posted February 23, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Lovely post. Any brave thing you do together, making choices together, facing the hard times together… that's got to help your marriage grow, right? You guys are awesome.

  8. Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This is also very timely for me as we have just applied for an amazing opportunity to move our lives to a remote part of the UK. My husband is Scottish and i'm Irish and we're currently living in N. Ireland in a city but have always dreamed of living in the middle of nowhere. This job as a housekeeping couple on a country estate would be perfect for us as we would be working as a team but using our different strengths and although i know it would initially be a huge upheaval and high stress, i just know we could make it work. This post has given me an interesting insight into how it works for other couples.

  9. Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Pointy Pix – what an awesome thing to do! I am a teensy bit jealous actually!

  10. Posted February 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Great post Marie. We too have moved for our jobs (to the other end of the country rather than internationally) to somewhere that we didn't know anyone -the only difference being that my husband goes back to London all week to work {we didn't want him to give up his wonderful job} so I live on my own in Somerset. We did this move 6 months into our marriage and have been doing it for over a year now. I am sure we could have made it work if we weren't married but being married has made it all seem entirely possible. During the first 6 months of our marriage I didn't have (much) of a job or income. Our relationship is certainly very strong, whether that is marriage or the situation, I don't know.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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