How NOT To Ruin Your Marriage doing DIY projects
Some days, it sounds absolutely dreamy to go all “Chip and Joanna” on a project. But if you’ve ever tackled even a minor DIY with your significant other, you know it has the potential to evoke WWIII type of explosions on your relationship. There are so many micro decisions that can compound into one major debacle. Not to mention, you’re trying to appease two very different people with, most likely, very different design aesthetics.
Ie: “Black Leather All-The-Things” vs “I want to live in a modern/rustic/Parisian Glam Farmhouse.”
Scouts honor: some of our most memorable “disagreements” have taken place in the aisles of Home Depot. Oh DIY projects. I love you so yet, you are the perfect breeding ground for arguments within marriage.
So before you get your tool belt in a twist over stainless steel vs. brushed nickel, let’s take an adult time out. We’re here today friends to help your No Small Life and marriage navigate these waters that no one tells you are tricky. After all, shouldn’t we all just roll through projects like Chip and Joanna?
No worries, you’ll get there. AND if it’s any consolation, Chip & Joanna got their TV show pilot based on an argument they had over a house boat. True Story. Read their book.
Is it possible to tackle that DIY project AND give your marriage a boost in the marriage in the process? You bet your drill bit it is. And these 6 tips will help you do just that.
1. Make decisions BEFORE you go to Home Depot
Oh, if only someone would’ve given us this advice. “Know what you’re doing Chris and Megan. Have a plan Chris and Megan. Get on the same page Chris and Megan.”
Learn from our mistakes friends 😉
Before you pull into the giant orange or blue, (looking at you Lowes) building, have a game plan. Talk about what project you’re going to tackle and what supplies you need. Know what paint colors you want and how much of it you need for your project. And for the love of Dave Ramsey talk about your budget. (This post will help with that!)
If each of you are on the same page with your expectations, you will be 100% ahead of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, wandering through the aisles and dreaming CAN be fun, buuuut it can also leave you way too ambitious and overwhelmed. Case in point: instead of enjoying your Sat afternoon like the DIY boss that you are, you exit said giant orange or blue store all kinds of flustered with only a pack of batteries and a light bulb. Not awesome.
2. Respectfully talk it through
Chances are you and your spouse are different and lean towards different styles. Welcome to real life 😉 Remember this: their style and taste isn’t stupid and wrong. (Unless they like a contour rug encircling the toilet in which case, it is. I kid. #notreally #ew) It’s their opinion. You’ll set yourself up well and for a very liveable compromise IF you’ll recognize the value in what they bring to the table instead of criticizing it.
3. Remember which hills to die on and which one to not
Some details are crucial. Some are not. In 2007 we painted every piece of oak trim in our house white. We were about ½ way through the house when I noticed, we picked the WRONG white. The trim didn’t look fresh and updated. It looked sterile and extremely cheap. I tried to stuff my feelings. I imagined living with it. I tried to be ok with it. But in the end, one fateful afternoon, all my feelings regarding our bright white trim came tumbling out of my mouth with abandon. Poor blindsided husband. He just stared in disbelief.
Not a whole lot of other words were spoken in our house that day. However, in the end, after I apologized for my outburst and Chris recovered his thrown paint brush, ;p we picked out the perfect “linen white” together and never looked back. And now we laugh about it…10 years later. 😉 That particular hill, even though I approached it completely wrong, was worth dying on. It affected our entire home. Others however, minute details about oh, I don’t know, the correct hook shape for ideal closet organization. Or settling the long standing debate of “under” or “over” for proper toilet paper distribution. (#teamover) Let those go. They will not matter.
Do your marriage a favor. Take a step back and A. Figure out WHY you’re so upset and B. Learn to laugh at yourselves. That leads us perfectly into our next point.
4. Keep it in perspective
You’re not simply building a home, you’re building a life. A life together with the person who, once upon a time ,you knew was God’s greatest gift to you. Decor trends will change. That West Elm vase that is so important to you now, will be sold in a garage sale in 17 years. But your marriage isn’t that disposable. Valuing each other and demonstrating that value through love and respect is what lasts. Doing that is what enables you to actually build the beautiful lasting home you desire. It’s not easy to do in the moment, trust me, I know. That’s why we’ve included the last point to help you arrive at this perspective. And it is…
5. Have FUN!
Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, Murphy and his dumb dumb law will inevitably show up.
No, you will not blissfully agree on every point. So expect that. Take lots of deep breaths. And set the atmosphere for the best outcome possible.
Make a project playlist. Use one of our date night playlist’s here & here to get you started.) Research shows that the chances of fights drastically decrease while listening to 90’s R & B.
Have a code word for when things start to get intense.
Take a cue from 80’s movies. If nothing else, they have taught us that few things in life cannot be solved with a dance off. Give it a shot. Just try being ticked off as you Dougie it out over A-ha’s “Take on Me.” We dare you.
6. Don’t neglect your physical intimacy
We get it. Whether you are living through a reno or just up to your eyeballs in paint, your physical relationship may be the last thing on your mind. But that probably isn’t the case for your spouse. This aspect of your relationship sets it apart from all others. So prioritize it. Make time for it. It doesn’t have to be up to your usual standard of awesome, you’re both probably exhausted after all. BUT, if you make time to connect even a little, you will reap rewards in your unity and the overall temperature of your relationship going forward.
Protect your marriage, love your spouse, and tackle a project together. And in the meantime, you can pray for us as we do the same thing. PS. We moved last weekend into a temporary rental. So we are speaking from ALL the experience 😉
Which tip given today will be your best marriage saver?
Until next time,