day 13: embracing expat life with you spouse

Four tips for moving overseas with your spouse - Fiona Lynne

Moving to Luxembourg ten months ago was the first time I’d moved together with someone else. All my previous moves, including three international ones, had been by myself. Moving together is a different experience of course, but one I wanted to address today, since so many of us move with husbands and wives, with fiancées and boyfriends and girlfriends, maybe with best friends. Going together brings its own challenges and joys.

It’s been an incredible blessing for me to do this latest move with Rasmus. But it’s not without it’s tricky moments too. Here are four tips I came up with as I thought back over the last ten months of being in Luxembourg together:

ONE. Keep the lines of communication open. Talk about everything you see, everything you do, what reaction you have to these things, how you’re feeling. It’s a good guideline for all of life, of course, but it’s crucial now, when you’re in such a new and different context, to be able to understand where the other person is at.

TWO. Explore together. You may both be working, or just one of you, but find time at the weekends or on evenings to explore this new country as a couple. Take trips out to the tourist attractions in your first weeks, walk your new neighbourhood together, find cafes and restaurants to become your new favourites.

THREE. Give each other time. It may take one of you longer to adjust to your new life than for the other. It’s very natural and one timeline is no better than another. Keep talking, keep encouraging, and be patient.

FOUR. Validate your partner’s experiences. Their emotions and reactions to your new life here may look very different from yours. They might be brave where you’re nervous. They might be frustrated when you’re fascinated. They might be adventurous while you’re cautious. There is no right way. Allow each other to experience your new home in your own way, and enjoy the dual perspective you have together.

I’d love to hear from you if you have moved with your “significant other”. How did it make it a richer experience, and what was challenging?


This post is part of my 31 days to embrace expat life. I’m writing every day through October on this topic. Click on the button to see all the posts so far…

I have a few posts planned for later this month that I’d love your help with! Are you a “trailing spouse”, moving for your partner’s job? Or are you an expat parent, negotiating life overseas with children? Send me an email with your experience, tips, thoughts (only if you’re willing to let me use what you write for my posts) to: hello (at) fionalynne (dot) com.

Yesterday’s post – Combating the “missing out” feeling.