How A Renovation Has Been Good For Our Marriage
Let me get straight to the point:
This renovation has been an incredible lesson in communication.
A while back, I wrote about the positive aspects of arguing in marriage (read here). Of course, I don't condone abusive fighting or verbal aggression, but I do believe that learning to argue in a healthy way can actually do your marriage some good.
As some of you may know, home renovations can be an incredibly stressful feat. Whether you're living in your home during a renovation or not, the decisions, financial strains, time commitments, and labor can create a really tense environment - one that's very conducive to snapping and bickering.
Since venturing into the world of our DIY kitchen renovation, Tom and I have been pleasantly surprised at our teamwork and utter lack of quarreling.... and since we talk about lessons learned in this little online community, I thought I'd give you the scoop as to how we managed to keep our marriage happy in the midst of chaos and stress.
1. We got it out of our system.
No, we didn't have some crazy screaming match to begin the renovation. But, we did come across a really pithy disagreement near the very beginning (aren't most marital arguments pithy though? haha) and we hashed it out super openly. We met it head on, talked about our differing viewpoints, came to an agreement, and moved on. In fact, we went on to have a really great rest of our day! You know how sometimes a disagreement can ruin your entire day? Well, not once did this happen in the entirety of our reno. I'm very proud of us. Give yourselves one slightly drawn out disagreement to set the basis for the ones to come. Show grace and compromise because you'll need a lot of that moving forward.
And if you really want to know, our argument was about whether or not to create a kitchen sink in the garage or not. Yep, really dumb. We got along washing dishes in a little bathroom sink juuust fine.
2. We didn't have time.
Quite literally, we did not have time to sit on an issue long because we had limited hours to work, and wasting time arguing would only slow us down. We would hit an issue, go over pros and cons and move on with the best decision. BOOM.
3. Attitude really is everything.
Amidst full-time jobs and other commitments, we could have easily gotten really crabby when every single other spare moment had us tirelessly laboring away. But instead, we sang, we snuck some kisses, we had mini dance sessions, we had long conversations while we worked on opposite sides of the room, and we laughed. We kept the atmosphere light, and when we hit some road blocks, we figured them out and tried to be all c'est la vie about it because set-backs come with the territory of DIY and renovations. You're not doing open heart surgery here, it's just a kitchen.
4. We gave ourselves a day off.
Once a week, we took a night off. We ordered some pizza, picked a movie, and vegged. Friday nights were the most common for this, and they were essential in keeping our sanity and motivation going. Making sure we still prioritized time spent together was very important.
5. Verbally encouraged each other.
Doesn't everyone respond well when they're told how wonderful they are? We both instinctively complimented one another and our teamwork as a whole. This added to the attitude of the project and gave it a positive outlook. Especially when one of us started to lose steam.
6. Supported patience.
It's been two months.
It gets really old having to microwave, grill, or crockpot your meals. And it got to a certain point where everything seemed to be moving at a glacial pace and we would never see the light at the end of the tunnel or be able to go barefoot in our main level again. But by using the methods above (attitude, encouragement, etc..) we marched on, and suddenly the project started to feel like it was racing towards the finish line. Patience is a virtue, is it not?
I feel like I could go on and on about the lessons we learned in this renovation, but the most significant by far was how well we learned to communicate. We've always been good at communicating (we're both entirely too honest for our own good) but we didn't always do so hot at letting go of an issue even once it was past us. We're a little surprised at how well we managed the stress, and I hope that by sharing the positivity we found in this project, it will encourage others to go into a renovation a little more fearlessly.
Have any questions for us? I'd love to hear 'em!