Being Married and Living with Parents

Here in the Philippines, extended families living under one roof are not uncommon. As a matter of fact, close family ties is a fundamental part of the Filipino culture. In poverty-stricken homes, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents sleep side by side on the floor. In our society, the idea of sending the elderly to nursing homes is frowned upon – regardless of class.

I started living with my husband's family when I was six months pregnant with Nini. Five years later, we were still living in the townhouse unit with his parents and his younger brother. My husband had an auntie who lived with us until she died of cancer. At one point, his grandmother and some distant cousin lived with us for a few months as well.

It was a two-bedroom unit with a living room and a small dining area. The living area was converted into a bedroom for me, my husband, and Nini. When we finally made a decision to leave, one of my husband's uncles was staying at the house. The set-up was not entirely unpleasant but things tend to get cramped when everybody is inside all at once. Guests are made to sit and entertained outside, as you can imagine why.

Some Reasons Why Married Couples Live with Parents

I know there are a lot of young and not-so-young married couples living with the family of either the husband or the wife, for reasons such as:  

Free Board and Lodging

Of course, this is most convenient if only one of you is generating income for the family. Living with your parents should minimize your financial concerns. In our case, we only shouldered the monthly electricity bill and the occasional allowance for my mother in law. The rest of our income is ours to spend for our and our daughter's needs.

Family Obligations

I browsed forum threads related to the topic and several members mentioned that they stay at the house of parents as a way to help them out – through the provision of financial support, companionship, or managing health problems. Some say their parents or the parents of their spouse are unemployed or are too old to work, thus, depend on them for support.

Insufficient Funds

As a young family, it took us five years to summon the courage to step it up and live on our own. Paying for a house, even if you are only renting, is a large responsibility. Even if you have steady income, it can be quite scary – especially for younger couples. You would usually need a large amount of cash for a deposit or a down payment, if you are buying.

The pressure of having to pay the rent on time and worries about sudden emergencies can be overwhelming. My husband and I would like to invest in properties as part of our long-term plans. But for now, we work hard to make end meets and hopefully, save enough.

How We Did It

After much planning and searching and worrying, we finally moved out of my husband's parents' house. It was one of the hardest yet most exciting decisions we ever made - and one that is very necessary. We did not do it because his parents were mean; it's not that dramatic. (As a matter of fact, they are kind and helped us out a lot.)

Living on your own is just one of the things a family must do to be able to grow, in my opinion. Like any major decision in life, it comes with pros and cons (to be discussed in next blog entry). We have been renting a two-bedroom house for half a year now. It hadn't been a smooth road entirely but having a place to call your own is rewarding in plenty of ways. We face everyday's challenges as a family and I think that's what matters most.


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