Congratulations!! Yes, I see what you mean about the power dynamics issues I would also be on high alert for demanding in-laws. The third condition of moving out seems to contradict those suspicions though, so that’s a good thing. It sounds like it may be more of a test on how bad both you and him want to make this marriage happen.
Not quite same situation, but I also come from a more Asian/conservative background and my Fiance lived with his parents until he was 30 (3 years while we have been dating). In the last year, he and I moved in together. I admit I wasn’t too onboard at first and neither were my parents. My dear dad made him write out his intentions and send it to him haha. We already had an understanding then but he wanted to see if we could adjust to living together especially since he had lived at home for so long (he also only had roomates in college for 4 years).
Eventually I came around to see that it was to my benefit to also know how he really was before marriage. His mom had done all his laundry and cleaned his apartment while he was at work – not by his demand, but she is one of those helicopter parents unfortunately. Sharing all this because I was also worried about his motivation to move out and keep things moving forward with me.
When we were searching for apartments to rent, we would take turns sending each other links to ones we thought were good. He was not sending me many at first so I was also worried, just like you. I was cynical and doubtful we would find a place that we liked and thought it would take months. It ended up that we found a place we both liked within 4 weeks during off-season (Nov) which I consider a small miracle.
We had agreed to move closer to where I lived (an hour away from his parent’s home) so for practical reasons I did more of the house tours for ones scheduled after work on weekdays. Housing in my city is very competitive, good ones can literally go the day of open house and this is just renting!
How he showed me he was motivated and serious is he kept sending me suggestions and on weekends we would both go and see the houses together. He would make good observations on location, neighborhood, house condition, and whether we should apply or not. He would pay attention to what I cared about and have discussions and pros and cons when evaluating each new place. We discussed finances and what was our min and max range, what we were willing to pay more for (location, space) and what we didn’t care about (this was hard but we eventually decided we were ok with no laundry in building when everything else was good – huge compromise but we make it work and it has shown me he holds up his end of the agreement and never complains).
Like I said, he was able to demonstrate more of his motivation the further along we got. He just needed a bit of time to fully warm up to it. Finally when we moved, it happened very quickly, just two weeks after. We had a ton to do and he made sure to do his part in packing, getting a truck, and getting his friends to help us on the day of. He contributed to the deposits and gave me money.
Did I do arguably more work that he didn’t? YES. I went to more house tours than he did (I ruled out a lot of bad ones), got the keys, wrote the checks, measured the apartment for furniture, bought furniture (didn’t have living room, dining, etc.), called telcom company and had to take off work to have them install wifi, and tranferred utilities to my name from previous tenant. This was all a huge pain, and at some points I did get mad and asked him to do more stuff, it was just that I was closer to the new apartment and some things he did not have strong opinions about, like the furniture choices (we also split this cost).
Now that we’ve been living together a while I can see how things balance out over time. For example, he does most of the cooking and dishes and always takes out trash. I do more of the daily groceries like picking up eggs but he drives us everywhere on weekends to run errands or visit friends and family (I work in the city so take public transportation). I still do a bunch of things for the house and take care of bills, but overall both of us are ok with the division of work. When we are not, then we argue and the other person will adjust somewhat. 🙂
TLDR; see if he’s responsible and follows through. Help but give him a chance to step up to take action and help make decisions. Listen and hold back your desire to run the show, don’t be too anxious to do things right away. Hopefully you will find in this process that you can depend on him to take care of some of the burdens and be a good partner.