In order to maintain a happy relationship when DIY’ing as a couple, it’s important to explicitly lay out your expectations BEFORE you start a project.
Before you even get your feet wet:
1. Share the Vision (and agree on what EXACTLY you want to accomplish).
Generally, the person with the most passion for the project has the vision of what they want to accomplish. That may or may not be the person that has the skill to bring the vision to reality. If not, make sure to supply the “technician” with plenty of visuals so there is no question about what exactly you want the finished project to look like. Use drawings, inspirational pictures or draw on the walls or use painter’s tape to create a temporary outline of built-ins, floor plans… Make sure they are “completely on board” before you start tearing things up!
2. Set a Budget.
It’s really difficult to get this one right but important to have a range and try your hardest to stick with it. I’ve been known to dramatically underestimate what a project is going to cost. To remedy that, I now plan on spending double what I think the actual cost will be so no one is caught off guard. It’s better to be under budget than over!
If one person is more passionate about the project and the other is kind of going along with it but would rather buy a motorcycle (or something else) with the money, they are likely to be REALLY resentful if you end up spending EVEN MORE than you originally told them to expect.
Before you dive in:
3. Determine Who is in Charge?
If one person clearly has the technical skill, knowledge and experience with the task at hand, it might seem like common sense that they would be the “Team Leader” on the project. BUT, it’s a good idea NEVER to assume anything. Talk it over. Take take stock of each others skills and talents. What do you each have to offer to the project? Then agree on roles. Generally, it’s best to have a clear “leader” or “Project Manager” to avoid misunderstandings. The person with the most experience and who has done the homework and research…should be the one to “give the orders”.
4. Realize that Every Role is Important.
Whether your the project manager or the gopher, what you have to offer the project is important. In my opinion, projects go 4 times faster with two people than they do with one. Realize the value you bring to the table, even if you are holding a hammer or running to the garage for “the other screw driver”.
Don’t let stereotypes create obstacles for you. Men and women are both capable of great things. Everyone has their own set of skills and talents. If the woman in your household is the one with the DIY skills, be thankful that one of you has them because at the end of the day, you’re saving money DIY’ing this project.
5. Set a goal and time limit.
If one person thinks the “team” is going to work hard all day and knock out the entire project before anyone takes a break or goes to bed that night, and the other person thinks they are going to work for a few hours and then go shopping or golfing (or whatever), there’s likely to be some disappointment and resentment at some point during the day.
*Set a clear, realistic goal for how much you want to accomplish that day, or
*Set a maximum time period for how long you are going to work.
If something comes up or someone gets too sore or tired to continue, stop. It’s not the end of the world. You want this experience to be as positive as possible for each other. Be encouraging and grateful for what DID get accomplished and pick up where you left off the next time.
7. Be Patient.
Be patient with yourself, your spouse and the project. Don’t rush things because you are getting tired of working. In my experience, when we power through and keep working when someone REALY doesn’t want to, things start getting pretty sloppy. That’s never good. If you’re going to do a job, you might as well do it right — even if it takes longer than you want it to. You’ll most likely regret rushing the job if you do. Take a break and come back to it when you’re rested, less irritated and excited about it again.
8. Don’t Stress the Mess.
When DIY’ing, dust is a given. Learn to embrace the sawdust and drywall dust…it means things are getting done!
9. Be Humble.
It’s OK to get fired from a project. You can still be friends and love each other at the end of the day. Sometimes, you just shouldn’t work together. It’s better to have a happy, loving relationship and figure out another way to get that project done than to slop through it being miserable and resentful.
After all, that’s the person you spoon with at night!
a LOVING home is more important than
a BEAUTIFUL home — any day of the week!