New parents like to claim that nothing tests a relationship as much as the sleepless nights associated with a baby.
More seasoned parents say there’s no romance-killer greater than stepping on Lego blocks every time you enter your bedroom.
Well, I have my own nominations for “difficult things to do with a partner”. My husband and I spent the past 18 months buying a house, planning a wedding, renovating, starting new jobs and moving cities. And if there’s anything that brings on sleepless nights, it’s the stress associated with packing multiple major life decisions into a stupidly teeny amount of time.
Here are the life decisions that seriously test any relationship – even if you’re not ridiculous enough to try them all at once, like we did.
At least if you get through them without throwing blocks of Lego at one another, you’ll know your relationship is solid.
Relationship hurdle 1: Whether to rent or buy.
With housing prices showing no sign of falling (in Sydney and Melbourne, at least) there’s a strong incentive to dip your toe in the property market, stat.
Buying a place involves lots of serious, where-are-we-going discussions: Are we committed enough to sign the requisite scary mortgage documents? Are we ready to ‘settle’ in this city for the next 20 years?
If you’re on the same page about those questions, it’s a good sign. If you feel too awkward to even broach them, though… Maybe keep renting. Just saying.
Relationship hurdle 2: The whole marriage question.
If neither of you are the marrying type, skip right over this section. But statistically, at least one of you is likely to want to do the vows-and-champagne thing – so you’ll need to agree on whether marriage is on the cards, and when.
Once you’ve set a date, congratulations… But also, brace yourself for many, many decisions associated with becoming husband and wife.
Some of these choices will be inane (no, nobody will remember the serviettes’ colour, I promise). But if you can agree on why exactly you want to get married, that’s a good sign.
And if you can whittle down the guest list without becoming sworn enemies, you get extra points for relationship strength.