Keeping Your Relationship Together While Your Home is in Pieces
Your relationship started out perfectly. You met, fell in love, and then one day you both decided to move in together. For a while, life was good. You threw extravagant dinner parties, went away on romantic weekends, and posted so much mushy content on social media that your friends got a bit queasy.
As things got more serious, one of you came up with the brilliant idea of building your own house so you could have a big space to raise kids and, you know, live happily ever after. Well, so you thought….
Safe As Houses?
It is not uncommon for the building or renovation of a house to put extra strain on a relationship. Emotions run high, budgets can blow out, timelines can be delayed – and sometimes it can just be lots of insignificant things piled on top of one another.
All of a sudden, the simple act of your partner munching on a sausage roll too eagerly and you’re at each other’s throats. Before you know it, you’re sleeping in separate rooms, cooking your own meals, and silently wishing you had never embarked on this project (or met your partner) in the first place.
Communication Is Key
Building a house is time-consuming and demanding, so it’s perfectly normal to find your partner increasingly annoying during such a stressful time. Look at it this way, if your relationship can survive this, there’s a good chance it will withstand most things.
Fortunately, there’s a few saving graces to reduce the potential for relationship drama – including compromise, open communication, honesty, organisation, and patience. Oh, and more patience.
The Art of Compromise
Designing a new home brings with it lots of choices, which can lead to confusion and petty arguments along the way. Have a clear and detailed plan about what you are doing with each room. Be clear from the beginning so that there are no unexpected surprises. If only one person’s opinions count, it could lead to feelings of resentment later on. Make sure you compromise, rather than expect everything to go your own way.
A good way for both of you to get your own way with the interior design or layout of the home is to each be allocated a separate room to decorate and style individually. Having an equal say in the creative process will have a better overall outcome than if there’s a power struggle.
Set A Budget – And Stick To It
Financial woes and budget blowouts are a major source of arguments, and place enormous stress on a relationship in normal circumstances, let alone when you’re building a house.
The financial commitment that goes into building your own home is huge, and it is important that you are honest with each other about how much money you can contribute, and how much more you are willing to spend for touch ups or last minute changes.
Sort It Out, Save A Headache
Stay organised and make sure you write down important timelines in a calendar. Talk to tradesmen and ensure that you obtain clear start and completion dates. Also, be clear about your role in the decision making process. You don’t want anyone making decisions on your behalf and resulting in conflict later on.
All You Need Is Love (And The Patience Of A Saint)
Before you call your divorce lawyers and start divvying up your assets, just remember that building or renovating a house is highly stressful for anyone. There will no doubt be stressful and frustrating moments during the build or renovation, but just remember why you started in the first place. Think of the potential of that big new open space, the fresh start, the blank canvas.
If the project really was the last straw for your relationship – and you think there isn’t anything worth salvaging from the rubble – don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. The stresses of building were only likely to have aggravated pre-existing relationship problems, which would likely have raised their ugly head at some other moment in time. Some things just aren’t meant to be.