How Overnight Guests Can Strain A Marriage

BY: - 24 Jan '12 | Marriage

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My mom used to joke that I shouldn’t get a guest room because people would feel more than welcome to stay at your house. I used to think it was a bit mean, but now I certainly understand. Having overnight or extended stay guests can certainly put your relationship in a funky place. I’ve never been one for entertaining for long periods of time in the first place. When I lived with my grandparents, there were several occasions when my grandpa (who loves to entertain) invited his relatives to stay at the house instead of the two perfectly capable hotels around the corner, leaving me to give up my room to distant cousins and sleep on the pull-out bed in the couch in the living room. However, have someone hog your bathroom and junk up your room isn’t the only way guests can get on your nerves.

A couple months ago, my husband recently found out he had a brother that no one knew about. He came, met the family, and stayed in our area for a couple weeks. The brother had been staying with an uncle about an hour away, then decided to stay with hubby’s parents. My husband, wanting to show hospitality to his brother, offered our guest room for him (and his girlfriend, who no one knew was coming with him) to stay. That was quite the experience. They were loud, they wanted to party, they ate a lot (boy, did they eat), and they stayed longer than we anticipated (and tried to stay longer!) When they finally went home, we were so relieved.

These past few days, we’ve been keeping my 18-year-old sister while my dad is out of town. I thought maybe that would be easier to have her as a visitor than having my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. No, it’s a different kind of difficult. She’s sort of thrown off our routine, as we have another person to consider when we’re having a meal, our dog is intrigued that we have someone else in the house for more than a few hours, and not to mention our entertainment choices are different since we want to make her as comfortable as possible (less of our television choices and more of hers). Being a host is stressful.

When you have guests staying with you, whether they’re staying on your couch or in your spare room, you have some added pressure. If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page, you don’t want to argue in front of company. Depending on whose company it is, one may feel that they’re a reflection of the person who invited them to stay. It can prove to be a financial hardship, especially if they’re using up all your groceries and utilities. To lessen the toll a visitor may have on your marriage, consider these things first:

  • Can you afford for them to stay with you?
  • How long are they staying?
  • Where exactly will they be sleeping?
  • Is your spouse okay with having a guest?
  • Are you okay with having a guest?

Have you ever had a guest that overstayed their welcome? How did you handle it?

About the author

Briana Ford wrote 143 articles on this blog.

Briana is a writer, influencer, and Shero who's California bred and Texas fed. When she's not explaining the world of blogging and social media to entrepreneurs and small business owners, you can find her sharing memes, gifs, and her life lessons on her blog.


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35 WordPress comments on “How Overnight Guests Can Strain A Marriage

  1. Ychauntee

    We always have guests over and only recently have I said no guests in 2012.  Our house is always the go-to house for frat brothers, cousins, other people’s kids, but um not in 2012. it is.

    1. Kenya

      I totally feel you on this one. My husband and I moved into an apartment about 10 years ago and since we have been living here we have never been alone. Constante guest (family and nonfamily) I have had enough of it and said to him NO MORE GUEST for a year. I put up a sign tha said if you do not live here, pay bills here, you do not belong here GO AWAY. some people act like theu don’t understand but the are getting the picture.

  2. Guest

    My mother always told me, even as a child, that “no one wants to be bothered with guests for more than 2 days”. Family included. I still live by this idea today.

  3. Sunshine

    My theory is to not let the guest get too comfortable… heck, give them the pull out sofa in the living room and then get up early every day to make breakfast. Preferably something that requires a lot of pan banging in the kitchen. And it’s either our shows or we all grab books to read. Boom!

  4. LaTonya

    It’s easier having kids as guest. You tell them clean up… they do.  Adults are different.

    When we visit others, I try to be the guest they’d want to come back. I cook, buy food, (we have 5 kids), and make sure the space we use, is neat and clean. Before we leave we clean up, and leave their house as clean, or cleaner than when we arrived.

  5. Cameragirl01

    My husband had his 10 yr old cousin stay with us the WHOLE summer.  After about a month of him being here, is 21 yr old sister along with a 4 yr old cousin came.  After about 2 weeks, the 4 yr old went home and in his place came a 5 yr old girl.  We already have 2 boys ages 3 and 1.  The 21 year old was useless, she stayed in my son’s room on the phone and on my husband’s laptop.  She came out late at night when we were asleep to get food.  

    The 10 yr old was disrespectful, I had to jack him up a few times, because I refuse to be disrespected in my house, where you are staying and eating  food that I pay for.  It was a struggle, and when they went home in August, no one even had the decency to say “thank you”. To make matters worse, the 5 year old is the daughter of an older cousin who stole money out of my son’s piggy bank when he was laid up in ICU on dialysis.  They’ve been gone over 4 months and I swear I still can’t get their “smell” out the sheets that they slept on.


    1. Briana Myricks

      That sounds like hell on earth. I never understood people (kids, young adults) feeling a sense of entitlement to stay somewhere. I never felt that comfortable. And to steal? That’d be a #1 deal breaker. No remorse smh. I’m so sorry for that experience.

  6. Vapurple

    It is difficult to live with extended family. Currently, I am living with my aunt and her family, while I attend grad school. I am in the basement, I am not a loud person or a partier, I buy my own food and clean up. I even help out with her son. So I think its about having rules and boundaries so that your guest don’t take advantage of you. Also I am respectful of my aunt, but we’ve had many problems with her disrespecting me and trying to take advantage of me, in terms of babysitting. She’ll just leave her kids at the house and not even tell me she leaving. I appreciate her letting me stay with her, but she tries to overstep her bounds.

    On the flipside if I had a relative live with me in the future, I would set really clear boundaries, no loud music, no house guest. Even though I am a very respectful guest, I know other folks will take advantage of you, if you let me.

  7. Tony Blount

    To be quite honest my main concern with guests is them messing up my sex routine.   Even if you already have kids in the house, its somehow quite different when a grown person you don’t normally live with is in the next room….. C’mon I know I’m not the only one thinking this, lol

    1. Peejay

      I’m with you there. Now I have to be quiet! if we get comfy enough to have it. Smh. I like walking around without a lot of thought on what Im wearing and I liked having my own space in the fridge/pantry. Speak truth.

  8. Martha A. Snowden

    AS my family would say, “Child please”, I have had every single one of my husband’s younger siblings live with us and every single one was a hot mess. It definitely affected our relationship as the more they disrespected our home, family rules and beliefs, and myself the more angry and hurt I felt. One brother snuck his girlfriend in my home and had the nerve to have sex on my daughter’s brand new bed and linens that she had not even slept in yet. They were a birthday gift she had yet to see !! and then the young hoochie had the nerve to come to the bedroom door naked when we knocked the next morning to ask her to leave, the brother got in legal troubles and the sister was just very “fast” and did not want to go to school. Needless to say I put them all out of my home and it cause a very big rift in our relationship becasue I felt outnumbered and overrun, unappreciated and disrespected by them and my husband. He felt that I “just didn’t like his family” We are still working to fix the wounds that were caused Now everytime someone wants to come over I get tense and distracted and we argue.

    1. Briana Myricks

      :( I’m so sorry to hear that. That has to be tough, especially if your husband is close to his siblings. I pray that everything works out for you guys. Has he had the same complaints, even just a few of them?

    1. Briana Myricks

      I’m used to having them for a couple hours; I’m a great hostess in that arena. When it comes to overnight or more, I start getting a little thrown off. If it’s going on 5 months, you have a great guest LOL!

  9. WelcomesGuests

    There’s a difference between live-ins and guests.  My husband and I are also parents to a 2 and 4 year old. Our policy for guests is that they have an arrival date and departure date and they are treated as guests with the luxuries of a bed and bath, but no extended stays are welcome.  They are provided with their own space, bathroom and amenities that do not impose upon the flow of our household.  I guess I am fortunate to not have had any guest nightmares, but I suppose that’s because of our policy and mutual understanding as a couple.  We once had my husband’s God Father stay for 2 months; but it was a pleasure because he was most helpful, kept the house clean and helped me with my newborn son when I needed help.  Guest will only impose when they are allowed to.   No such disrespect is happening under my roof.

  10. Guest

    We love having guests… we have four children and will often have 3 or more over… the kids love extended sleep overs with their cousins. Summers will always find 7 plus children sleeping in two rooms at one of their aunts homes. We fight over who is going to have the kids in the summer. Adults… that’s good too… one long dinner party.  I suppose it’s like someone said, you got to be on the same page, we’re both from big families and both our families love us as individuals and as a couple. I can’t imagine friends and family coming to our town and not staying with us.  

    1. Briana Myricks

      I definitely enjoyed it as a kid. I guess it’s just been the adults that haven’t been the best. We’re from big families but admittedly we didn’t spend a lot of time with everyone in our family. Hopefully we can work on it.

  11. Bstill4kidz

    I   stayed with my brother and his girlfriend for two weeks while recovering from an illness. My brothers’ girlfriend and I hit it off well but my brother was angry he wanted his space, I didn’t even know it.   I hung around them more than I wanted to because I didn’t want to be rude and I didn’t have money to go anywhere. I am a loner and would have preferred to be alone . One day he said , “After 3 dayz fish and company stink”. I wasn’t offended by the comment I was ticked because HE was the one who invited me to move from Houston to Cali to recover.  If you know that you don’t like having company don’t have it. I  don’t mind having company but I don’t like to entertain so when I say make YOURSELF at home I mean it! Couples also need to send consistant messages, my brothers’ girlfriend was the one engaging me and my brother was ready for me to go. I had not been around my brother so I misread his smiles and body language. Why can’t we just be honest in the end we end up being brutally honest causing all sorts of negative energy!

    1. Briana Myricks

      You make a great point. We have to be honest with people, something I have to work with. I’m surprised your brother offered and then was annoyed. You’re awesome for not getting offended by the comment, I think it would’ve hurt my feelings.

  12. Guest2

    Thank you.   My wife doesn’t quite understand what it’s like to have her best friend (and husband and kids) stay at our house for a week.   We all like each other but they are truly best friends and I’m odd man out a lot of the time since the husband and I are just cordial.   Hopefully this will help her understand that others feel the same.   What’s the saying about fish and houseguests — starting to stink after 3 days?

  13. guest

    My father in law always overstays his time, it is so much worse because our house at the moment is sooo tiny and he is in the next room to us, he sleeps with the tv on and we share one bathroom. It drives me crazy! I don’t want DH to feel like i dont like his family but he suggested having his dad stay with us for 2 months and that’s when i had to put my foot down! I know i’d have to move out for those two months.



  15. Pat K.

    My husband and I don’t entertain guests overnight.  We converted our extra bedroom into a media room to accommodate guests who want to watch movies, but we terminate the visit at bedtime.  We have found that it just works easier for us if we can maintain the routine of our home, without the distraction of people who don’t live with us.  In addition, both of our families share different values than our own, especially when it comes to raising kids.  Maintaining good boundaries has helped us to maintain good relationships with family members.  This would not be the case if we had guests over past the point where they are welcome.  

  16. barbie55

    We are married with 2 babies. My husband decide to let his friend stay with us without asking me 1st. Now, he want us to move in with him to a bigger house with 5rooms. I seriously dont wish to stay with anyone except my own family. Ive talked to him about this in a nice way & argued about this also but no point! I’ve even stop talking to his friend and showed some signs tat he should leave this house but its no use also. What should I do ? Cuz this is really killing me alive ! Diz guy slam de room dooe each time he in & out ! And have taken my son’s room. My current house is with 3 rooms. And we as a family sleeps on a king size bed and another room is my kids play room! How to end this ?? I clearly told my husband that he should move out with his friend to the new house and leave his family in this house !! Im really gping insane about this! My husband spend all this time with his friend. They both work together & there’s no privacy! What hurt me the most is he is not loving to my kids & he dont play with them! He have scolded my son who is still a toddler when he touch his things !! Now, im only praying to god to save my family & marriage cuz ever since this guy came in … we always argued ! My husband dont see all this !! He value his friend so much cuz this guy have helped him before in time of trouble!!! What should I do ??


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