How to Complete a Renovation Without Getting a Divorce
DIY renovations can put a lot of stress on a marriage. But these six tips will help you complete any renovation project while maintaining a happy marriage.
Get the Family Involved
‘My wife decides all the details about how something should look, and I retain veto power if I DISLIKE anything.’ – David Hawkins
‘Get the whole family involved. A remodel that doesn’t meet everyone’s needs will lead to more arguments and more stress as soon as the last nail is driven.’ – Paul Bianchini
‘My wife likes to say, ‘We work best together in separate rooms.” – Ed Stawicki
‘I let her make all of the design decisions and I do all of the work, which is the part I enjoy!’ – Dave Pike
Pick Your Battles
The 3 most important words in a marriage: you’re right, dear!’ – reader, Larry L. Meacham
‘I do everything but paint. I’m not allowed to do any of that at all, and for 27 years that has worked fairly well.’ – reader, Michael Gilfilian
Timing is Everything
“I tell my wife, ‘Let me finish one project and enjoy it for at least a week before you add another to my list.’ ” – reader, Brian Feltz
Happy Family Means Happy Renovation
‘During a recent project, I spent the early evening with my family, tucked my girls into bed, and worked from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. I lost some sleep, but this kept the family happy.’ – reader, Ben Kim
Patience! ‘My wife doesn’t work with tools every day, so she doesn’t know one saw from another. You have to be ready to explain things a lot.’ – reader, Mark T. Platte
‘If mama isn’t happy, nobody is happy.’ – reader, Charlie Marken
Take Advice from a Wise Contractor
Know your budget. A fight over the remodeling budget was the biggest argument I ever saw, and there’s no way for the contractor to fix it.
Make three lists: Must Have, Would Like If Possible, and Optional. Keep as much of List 1 as you can, because that’s why you’re remodeling. Keep 10 to 25 percent of List 2, depending on budget. Toss all of List 3.’ – reader, Paul Bianchini
Don’t Forget to Laugh
“What doesn’t cause you to divorce doing DIY projects, just gives you great stories to laugh about for years after.” – reader, Jordan Van Moorleghem
Caution: Remodeling Can be Hazardous to Your Marriage
- One divorce lawyer says he’s seen more divorces over remodeling projects than from extramarital affairs.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, family therapists rate remodeling projects at about a 6 in terms of stress on a relationship.
- Paint color is one of the greatest sources of DIY disagreements for couples.