Wednesday, July 20, 2011


There's a big change coming to our Sak family home soon - a new addition so to speak.  And no, not the kind that barks or cries for a diaper change.

I've gone back and forth on whether I should write about it, seeing as it's a rather sensitive subject, but it'd be kind of a hassle to hide another resident for the next indefinite period of time.  Plus I need your prayers and good ideas.

Sak's brother is moving in with us.  Since he's graduated, he's leaving LA to come stay here and look for a job.

Not that I have anything against my BIL, but this is really a huge deal for me.  If a baby can wreck havoc on a relationship - I'm pretty sure a housemate can as well. I just don't want to feel uncomfortable living in my own house.  Plus Sak won't be able to spend as much time working projects with me, since I'm sure he'll want to bond with his brother (and videogames). So I'll have to share both my home and my husband! I'm not sure if I'm ready for that - I'm a pretty selfish person.

But family need is what it is. And I'm pretty sure my family doesn't have that Nicaraguan saying my co-worker keeps repeating about newly married couples living in their own home alone.

Not that I'll be newly married anymore - he's moving in on our anniversary.

(That little fact alone may be the crux of my moodiness.)

But I need to stay positive - this could turn out well. Sak will have time with his brother.  And I'll have more free time to watch girly anime?

Anyway, any tips on how I can make this a successful transition? Have you ever lived with a sibling (outside the family home, of course)? Any tips of how to find my BIL a job? He's got his degrees in biomedical engineering.


  1. I'm glad you've put this in the blog world, lady. I know you've been dealing with this a while (and I might not have been the BEST help as I linked you to the Tenderloin site). Vent away lady, vent your little heart out. Get a smart phone. Text me as much as you need to.

    This breaks my heart though. I want you to know that. Breaks my heart.

  2. My heart is with you, as well, Penga. This has to be rough, and I've had friends go through this and struggle, both married and unmarried. And it can certainly cause stress in the relationship, but can also bring people closer, as well (if you work hard at it).

    I've never been in your shoes (which I would love to do one day =)), but I would at least recommend a solid, set-in-stone date night (or three) every week. A night where, even if you stay in, is just you and Sak -- and BIL needs to know that, too. You guys are too new to be having to give up time with each other. And if he's living with you guys, he'll need the Ground Rules laid out from the get-go. Quiet hours, guests, common area cleanliness, chores he needs to help with, whether food will be split or if you're covering everything, and other expectations (depending on whether he's paying "rent" or not). Unfortunately, it really is like living with roommates in college where everything has to be laid out, but that will lead to a smoother transition, with everyone on the same page and understanding, and will hopefully lead to easy co-habitation, too.

    I can totally understand how you must be feeling -- I have had the foreshadowing that my MIL will ultimately need to be moved in with us, and while I have a very strong sense of family, I also feel vehemently against that kind of invasion of... privacy? home? both? ... especially when (here's my selfishness) it's my in-laws. And on your anniversary? That's like twisting the blade. We're all here for you, and I'm glad you decided to discuss this on your blog, too!!! <3

  3. Wow - that's a big change for you guys! I really hope it goes well, and I hope that you enjoy having him there. I can imagine it would be tough to have to share your home with someone, but I'm sure there will be a lot of great side effects too!

  4. Aww Penga! Hopefully it's rather short-termed and that when he does get a job and gets situated, he can find his own place! And make sure he isn't being Asian/claim-family to save money and doesn't play so much video games he forgets to apply to jobs. Remember it is Sak's responsibility to speak up on your behalf if you are unhappy about something (thought you should speak your mind as well, in a nice way), and make sure you communicate with Sak and don't bottle anything in.

    You will survive! :] Pray hard, remember to communicate, and remember to extend God's love towards your BIL!

  5. Tread carefully. While it's admirable that you're lending a family member a helping hand, you need to set up structures to ensure that your relationship with Sak is safeguarded. It's tough living with other people, especially when they're family, and especially when there is just one of them.

    Z and I have lived by ourselves, in a share house, with one housemate, and with a couple. Undoubtedly, the hardest one for me was when we had just the one housemate, as he was Z's friend and they'd spend a lot of time together, which would have been fine, but Z is my husband, so spending time with me should be his top priority. It might be similar with Sak and his brother, especially if they were close when they were younger. Maybe talk to him about it, and make sure you spend a LOT of your time alone together, either in another room, or maybe even out of the house. Having another person in the house really does change the dynamic, we found that we weren't "ourselves" as much with someone else listening in / observing.

    Therefore, suggestions:
    -Make time for couple time, just you two, alone. Once the house becomes a share house, all of the living spaces become public space. Make sure you guys spend enough time alone together, just chatting and hanging out. It's not your job to entertain him, and you're not excluding him, you're making your relationship a priority, which is the way it should be. I can't emphasise this enough, it was what drove me up the wall.
    -If you start to feel excluded or lonely, talk to Sak and change things. You don't wanting to be sitting in your room feeling lonely while Sak and his brother are having fun together. You're not being crazy or jealous or anything. The husband and wife relationship is more important than anything.
    -Make sure he helps out with chores, a lot. Nothing breeds resentment like always picking up someones dishes.
    -Have a discussion when he moves in so that you're all clear on what the expectations are. Will he pay board or utilities? If so, how much and when by. What happens if he can't pay? If he isn't paying, what is he doing in lieu? Cooking, cleaning?
    -Don't have his living with you be open ended. Make a date to review the living arrangement. 4 months in the future is about a good length of time. If he hasn't found a job within that period of time, he might need to start considering alternative plans. Yes, you're helping him out, but you don't have an obligation to continue that indefinitely. Having an end date makes it a lot easier to put up with any frustrations that arise. (Alternatively, you might decide at the 4 month review that everything is going great and you want to extend it another 4 months. It's just good to clarify these things at the start).

    You can do it! Keep the lines of communication open, and remember Genesis 2:24, it applies to brothers as well :P

  6. Oh dear. That comment turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. Whoops :P

  7. that really is a big change. and good for you for trying to handle it with grace and a good attitude. i know this will be hard. i think that it's really important to set out expectations at the beginning. for instance, maybe say that Saturday night is date night and that you want alone time with Sak on those nights. or that on Monday evenings, you'd like your BIL to be out of the house so that you can have alone time with your home - which can be important too. or say, once a week the BIL needs to vacuum the floor and that he is responsible for washing his own dishes. whatever it is, you definitely need to say out loud what you expect while he is living with you.

  8. Thank you for sharing this post with us. I can't imagine what you must be going through as I have never experienced anything like this before. But I agree with the other comments that date night and ground rules (which Sak will need to be in charge of enforcing) will save your sanity. I also agree that BIL needs to show his commitment to applying regularly for jobs as opposed to trying to get all he can out of your hospitality. Good luck!

  9. thanks all for the well-thought advice and encouragement! I'll make sure Sak reads it all as well. We've sent a list of house rules, but that's about it so far. A weekly date night sounds like a really good idea!

  10. yeah, that's tough. of course you want to do for family what you can, but it kinda throws a wrench into the life that you're trying to create with sak. i would be sure to communicate your expectations to sak beforehand, and as issues come up. i often see that (and i'm totally guilty of this) that someone forgets to carve out and maintain space for the couple, even if it means putting the family member outside that boundary. oh, and don't forget that sak is going to be "in the middle", and to be sensitive to the fact that he's going to try and please both of you!

  11. That's really a tough situation. Claire's suggestions seem spot on. Good luck! Take the time for the two of you when you can.


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