Marriage is a partnership, and it’s one that often requires many sacrifices. Sometimes these sacrifices are small, such as putting up with your spouse’s organization skills, or lack thereof. But sometimes these sacrifices are huge, such as when your spouse gets a job offer that requires an overseas move.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working and dedicated to achieving certain career goals yourself or not, when your spouse gets this kind of opportunity, you need to think about the many different aspects of your life that can be affected by a move abroad. Some of the things you should consider include:
- How the relocation will affect your personal goals and personal life. In the States you may have a vast social network, hobbies, and a certain comfort level with the way you get to spend your personal time. Even a move to another state can affect that drastically, but a move abroad can bring about a total change in the way you’re able to spend your free time. Think about all the important facets of your personal life and find out how they will be affected by the move abroad. Explore the new options you’ll have available after the move and the ways that you can continue with some of your favorite activities. Cultural norms and language barriers can have a drastic affect on your social life, so be sure to factor those in as well.
- How the relocation will impact your career. If your current employer has offices abroad, you may stumble into your own new opportunity when you decide to accompany your spouse abroad. Likewise, if you can get a comparable job in your industry once you move, you may well make your own way quite nicely. But if you have no ability to transfer or get a new position, you may find you have to put your career on hold. Consider how that may damage your future prospects or delay the achievement of professional goals. Before you give up entirely remember that the Internet allows for an increasingly global marketplace which could mean that your employer will allow you to work from your home abroad or that you can start freelancing, consulting or coaching within your industry. Just be sure to check with local laws and regulations regarding work and business operation from home.
- The health of your parents and relatives. It may seem odd to consider the health of your family members who will remain at home, but if you have loved ones who will soon need assistance with certain activities in their daily lives and you’re not in the States to help them, you may feel guilty or find yourself spending money trying to move back home early. While you can’t predict the future, if your family is in good health or you have a vast support system that will be there for any ill relatives while you are away, it will certainly be easier to take the leap.
- Consider how the living arrangements will compare. If you embrace an adventure abroad for your spouse’s career, you’re probably going to be resigned to, or even excited about, the different lifestyle that you’ll experience. But make sure you look closely at that lifestyle and understand how it will impact your day-to-day life. You could be moving from a quiet rural setting to a large city. If you aren’t used to city living, small living spaces, the noise, crowds and public transportation system, you could easily find yourself unhappy and unable to adjust. Likewise, if you move from the city to a more rural location, you need to be prepared to find different ways to entertain yourself than you may be used to.
- Explore your international health insurance options. Even if your spouse’s employer offers one of the many international group insurance plans available to businesses, you should explore all the benefits offered by other long-term, individual international health policies. You may find that you get a better selection of coverage options and a more affordable premium than international group insurance plans offer.
If you look at the cold, hard facts of the move, even if you aren’t completely happy with some of the aspects, you will at least go in with realistic expectations and reduce the distress you might otherwise face with such a drastic change. With proper planning and research, you may even find that your spouse’s work abroad spells opportunity for you.