How to keep a marriage functioning and happy during a home renovation? Unfortunately, it is, and I have been asked about it multiple times. On a scale of 1 to 10, family therapists rate remodeling projects at about a 6in terms of stress on a relationship. Surprised? Don’t be. Many couple therapists say that home improvement projects cause more divorces than extra-marital affairs. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Here’s some good news! My wife and I have completed four separate renovations and even though we went through some tough spells, we remain happily married. So today, in this article, I will tell you what we, as a couple, have learned along the way and how you can also ensure a happy marriage while remodeling your home.
- Start with ‘THE’ Conversation
- Decide – Who Is the Boss?
- Price Your Shopping Wish List Before You Begin
- One of You Should be Doing All the Communication with the Contractor
- Take Vacations During the Dusty Period
- Be Understanding of the Other’s Signs of Fatigue and Frustration
- Shop as if You Are on a Date
- Manage, Manage, and Manage – PROACTIVELY
- Always Remember, Family Comes First
Start with ‘THE’ Conversation
Just like every major task in a happy marriage begins with a discussion, start your home improvement project with a heart to heart conversation that should identify what are the things that you both want to have and would not or should not compromise. Then proceed and identify what you both like but could compromise on. This step will take care of the fact that you don’t begin bickering over the most meager issues once the project is ongoing. Let your partner know beforehand if you have strong preferences over factors such as electrical fixtures, paint shades, or furniture colors. Discuss the final style and design that you want to see in your home once the task is over but also identify the gaps between the two of you and come up with rules to resolve them before they actually happen. After the discussion, finalize your choices – that match both your preferences and compromises – and stick to these decisions throughout the project.
Decide – Who Is the Boss?
Yeah!! Unfortunately a ship can have only one captain. In order to avoid any deadlocks during the course of your renovation process, you need to decide who would be the ultimate decision-maker. This will ensure seamless execution throughout the set timeline, without unnecessary arguments.
Both of you hold your own special areas of expertise. So, separate the decision authority based on the different competencies you each have. If you are good at budgeting, then, by all means, control the finances and have the last say – but agree on that with your significant other first. In other words, decide who is the boss in which areas before you even start the process. You should also think about what kind of conflicts you may encounter and what the rule of thumb should be when they happen. Write them down and keep the list in front of you. These will be your temporary marital vows during your renovation.
Renovations are usually initiated by the party who cares more about style and beauty. Let that spouse lead the way. He or she wanted this change and should have it. If you fought the renovation idea from the beginning and you finally caved in, don’t start to have an opinion now that the process has begun. It will only hurt your relationship in the long run. Support your spouse in this case. You caved, so finish the surrender elegantly and you can maintain your affection and respect for each other.
Price Your Shopping Wish List Before You Begin
Budget often plays a crucial role in determining whether marriages work or not. And your product wishlist has a lot to do with your budget. From the marble to your fixtures and appliances – happy couples need to agree on the pricing of each and every aspect. In fact, this is often the main controversial and quarrel-initiating factor.
Be in the know before you begin to alleviate any potential conflicts regarding spending. Figure out what your taste is going to look like and price it out ahead of time. Get the material budget defined very clearly and make sure that when you hire the contractor, the allowance for those projects matches your budget. By the way, an allowance is the part of the bid that the contractor gives you to buy the materials you want for things like kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and roofing.
Stick to your previous decisions regarding the budget and keep a check on each other. Also, allow some room to squeeze in a few extra dollars when you want to add a little bit of extravaganza to your already-decided item list.
One of You Should be Doing All the Communication with the Contractor
This may seem extreme to some, but – trust me – you can avoid conflicts by streamlining all communications. Choose who would communicate with the contractor and that same person should preferably own the budget, too. If one of you is playing the bad cop with the contractor, make sure he or she is not the main communicator.
Take Vacations During the Dusty Period
Dust and dirt make it hard to stay put in your happy marriage. And you may take it out on your spouse if you are living in your house while it’s being renovated. Whenever possible, pack your bags and go somewhere where you can love each other more. There are many ways by means of which you can keep track of your renovation if you’re not on site. You can go back once the dust settles.
Be Understanding of the Other’s Signs of Fatigue and Frustration
Being frustrated at your spouse’s frustration is going to get you nowhere. One of you needs to be up when the other is down. Resist the urge to be influenced by your partner’s mood. Step up and be strong until he or she is up again. Discussing this beforehand will go a long way when these feelings arise in either of you during the renovation.
Shop as if You Are on a Date
If you are both into the project, you should try to transform your shopping days into actual dates. This is the most enjoyable part of the entire journey; so have some fun while selecting the things that will be part of your home. Take the time to enjoy browsing, spending, and romancing while planning your dream home. It will strengthen your relationship and understanding of each other as you both build your cocoon.
Manage, Manage, and Manage – PROACTIVELY
Managing a renovation can be tough. It requires great project management skills and understanding construction tasks and their inter dependencies. Spend some time talking to your contractor to understand each task and the complete flow of your renovation project. Draw up a timeline with your significant other so that you both stay on the same page. You probably already know which one of you is more organized. So you can now go ahead and put the timeline on that spouse’s smartphone calendar and set up alerts for him or her to check on the progress of every task. Do the same with the materials you need to purchase and give yourselves enough lead time for every product so that you don’t face any unpleasant surprises down the line.
Of course, your best option for managing your renovation is to use Kukun smart bids to get the calendar automatically created and loaded on your device.
Always Remember, Family Comes First
Keep in mind that there’s nothing which is more important than your marriage and family. Any design emergency can wait. Your door color might look great, but not at the expense of your spouse’s peace of mind. Don’t be stubborn during the decision-making process. If you have had your way in the first three decisions, make sure that your partner feels equally involved in the next set of upcoming tasks. Remember, a luxury bath or kitchen is an add-on, not an emergency.
Any renovation can be tough and it can stress out even the most perfect and happy marriage. But by being informed and organized, clearly delineating responsibilities and making a romantic journey of improving your nest, everyone wins.