Can Renovations Make a Marriage Stronger?

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Last summer, my husband and I listened to a book about all the ups and downs of marriage. The author explained in the book that successful marriages almost always involved the couple sharing an activity together. My husband and I felt we had a healthy marriage, but we did not share any sports activities together. We finally realized that our marriage was likely stronger due to renovating our homes together DIY style over the last decade. It was the only consistent shared activity we had, and what a big expensive hobby it is to share.

It has not been uncommon for friends of ours over the last decade to tell us their marriage would not survive a renovation. Although we do enjoy a good DIY project together, it has not always been easy. With two renovated homes under our belts, we have learned a few things.

Talk to Each Other

One of the first lessons was learning to talk to each other. I noticed very quickly into our first big renovation, that my husband politely talked and worked with his father and brother when they chipped in time to help. When we were alone, he barked orders and was often snappy. The switch in the tone of voice did not sit well with me.

Since I am not afraid to address my feelings, I expressed my dislike in his tone of voice. As his wife, I felt I deserved the same respect and tone of voice offered to his brother and father. He agreed, and we worked through it.

Husband’s clean mudding on the left; wife’s messy version on the right.

Accept Differences

My husband and I are like most couples, we have opposite personalities. We quickly learned that we approached tasks and projects with different mindsets and different methods. I always manage to make the bigger mess in the process while my husband is clean and precise.

We are in the process of converting a garage storage room into a laundry and mud room. Because we both hate finishing drywall and decided to tackle the project together and our work met in the middle of one wall. Stepping back, it was very clear how differently we worked. His side was clean and precise. My side looked like a preschooler coloring outside of the lines.

Trust and Support

Learning to trust your spouse during a renovation is very important. When a spouse is negative about the other spouses work before, during or after completion, it will not be an enjoyable experience. When a new skill is learned, it may take more time than expected, and it may not always come out to be the way it is expected. Offer grace and support to one another. Thankfully, the internet and Youtube are both full of videos from experts who offer tips and step-by-step instructions to help novice DIYers. Expert tips can often help avoid costly time-consuming mistakes.

With our first home, I was often nervous about the projects we tackled. Could we really do it? Would it really look nice in the end? We started with small projects and learned to trust each other’s work as we worked through the home. Currently, there is significant trust in each other’s ability to work. We have a lot of trust but are short on time to tackle the desired projects.

While renovations may not be for everyone, finding an activity to enjoy with a spouse is important for all marriages. Read here why we only buy old, ugly and outdated homes and stay tuned for our laundry room makeover!

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