A HOME of their own – that is what every young couple dream about. Early in acquaintance the dream home is a castle; as acquaintance ripens the castle dwindles in size until it is rather like the home of their respective parents!
When the marriage stage is reached most couples are glad of any home they can get, so long as they can start the great adventure of marriage with a key to their own front door.
Nowadays, too many married couples have to live with relatives or share their home with other couples; consequently, many young wives are not getting a square deal to start them on their career of wifehood and motherhood.
If at all possible, it is better to start with one room in a stranger’s home than to have three rooms in the home of a relative or friend. You are private in one room in a stranger’s home, and that is the secret of a happy start to a happy marriage – to live privately.
It the home must be shared with relatives, have definite arrangements from the start and, no matter how well you get on with your relations, keep to the arrangements.
This is not only fair to your husband and yourself, it is also fair to the in-laws, for many young couples forget that it is an inconvenience to an older couple to share their home even with their own married sons and daughters.
Whenever possible try to have the home arranged as two flats, the young couple taking the top flat with a proper landlord-tenant agreement.
Starting off like this – each woman minding her own part of the home and her own business – makes things so much more amiable for all. Visiting each other’s flat once a week is then a joy and not a duty. Just going to live with the ‘in-laws ‘as one of the family never works out, and no young man should expect his bride to undertake such a start to their married life.
No mother-in-law should tolerate it either. Mothers-in-law have troubles of their own without having to endure the invasion of their home.
Although it may be possible to have one’s own private sitting-room and bedroom, it is not always easy to have one’s own kitchen.
When the kitchen is shared, each woman should have separate days for cleaning up. Both cleaning the same place at the same time is seldom satisfactory.
Be sure to wash up immediately after meals and put things away in their proper places. And suit your meal-times to your husband – not the ‘in-laws.’ Right from the start insist on having your meals separately in your own room: you will never regret this, for you can then entertain and serve meals to suit your convenience.
Have wash day together and have the washing done between you rather than two separate washes. One can wash, the other wring out, hang up and starch. This gets the wash done quickly and saves starch and fuel.
I find the big problem to be that the longer two women are in the kitchen over jobs of work the more irritable they become, and if they hide their irritation, as most women do, then their nerves begin to suffer and. After a few months have passed, they are not too amiable. That is why I always advise doing everything separately, with the exception of the weekly washing.
Try never to borrow food items from each other. If you must borrow, do pay back quickly.
Each woman should keep to her own sitting-room and only visit the other by invitation. Then you can have a meal together, wash up together, and it is a pleasant visit, but once a week is sufficient – then you will always be welcome. If one woman feels that at any moment the other may pop into her room the atmosphere becomes strained. Keep the ‘two-house ‘atmosphere and you will be good friends.
Let the menfolk fix a definite agreement about paying for the light, and pay all bills such as light, rent and fuel weekly, at the same times, and have them recorded in a book.
We hear so much nowadays about the trials of the young couple having to live with ‘in-laws,’ but in most cases the ‘in-laws ‘would rather this were not so – too often they are forced to take in the young people because there is nowhere else for them to go. But the newly-weds should never forget that they are the ones taken into the home, and they should be discreet, obliging, prompt with all payments, and willing to go should emergencies arise to upset the household arrangements of the owners of the home.
The whole secret of sharing a home successfully with relatives is to have definite plans for eating and living right from the start. And there should be an understanding that the ‘in-laws’ know the arrangement is only temporary and that the couple will get a place of their own at the first opportunity.
No interference by the ‘in-laws ‘should be tolerated by the newly-weds. Marriage has little hope of success where there is outside interference. I think a girl knows instinctively if the ‘in-laws ‘will cause trouble. If she has any suspicion that they will, she should never share their home.
My experience is that the couple sharing the home when both parents are alive do so on amiable terms. The strife seems to occur more often when only a father or a mother is living in the home. Then the lonely parent-in-law becomes unintentionally dependent on the couple, and they find they cannot make a home without having that parent with them.
No parent has the right to penalize the future of a child’s married happiness by making the young couple feel they must have him or her in the home. It is too often a tragedy when this happens. No parents have the right to cling to a child just because they gave that child birth.
On the other hand, every young couple has the right to start married life on their own, free of dependent relatives.