Sharing your home is often one of the best ways we can come alongside others for a season. A friend or extended family might be in need. Sometimes our adult children need extra support. Others feel called to share with a refugee or bring someone in off the streets.
Whatever the reason you might want to open your home, many of us don’t feel equipped to do this. (I know we weren’t!) I’ve noticed that an unwillingness to share an extra room frequently comes from not having a method to manage boundaries. This reluctance makes sense, as having someone live with you is complex and can present many challenges. You need space to be yourself and raise your family. You want to put protections in place and have methods to confront difficulties. It is hard to even know where to start in creating a healthy housemate situation! At the same time power-dynamics, unspoken expectations, and household rules can greatly affect whoever lives with you. Altogether, it feels like sharing your home is a recipe for disaster! Unfortunately, without preparing for these things, too often sharing our homes becomes a negative experience or breaks up relationships.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. After having multiple people live with my family, from a few weeks to nearly four years, we’ve often had to learn the hard way how to make boundaries well and have healthy relationships.
All of what we learned is put together to support you through this guide. We’ve used many different versions of this Household Agreement, unique to each person that has lived with us. This template is a method to plan and prepare for the complexities. It will help you protect your relationships and equip you for a positive live-in situation. I hope that after you’ve used this, your experience will leave you with such a good taste in your mouth that you’ll want to share your home again!
The Household Agreement Template and the Building a Support Team Guide