Transforming Ordinary into Extraordinary Marriages
Spring 2006

Feathering Your Nest

Does your residence reflect your personalities, lifestyle choices, and activities? While all couples have conflicts over their abode, couples on the track toward happy marriages aim to reduce conflict about sharing their space.

In the 31 years we have lived in our nest, some of the feathers have gotten worn out. Although our space needs have changed, we delayed remodeling because we knew how extensive it would be. Newsweek magazine (January, 2006) reported that couples make between 1000 to 2000 decisions designing and completing a project. Couples who enter into extensive remodeling projects raise their risk for divorce. Our goal for ourselves and for our readers who are building or remodeling: resolve to keep the relationship in the fore-front while the decisions/work goes on.

Start With a Master Plan

Before you start pulling out the ladders and plaster, plan how you will maintain your marital solidarity while you work.

Do Your Homework

To establish a theme, you will need to do some research.

Design Carefully

Start a project notebook with a section for each aspect of the project. Use clear plastic sleeves to collect articles and product information about appliances, flooring, and furniture. Some people like using a story board on a wall to plan out the phases of the project against a time line.

Hire Good Helpers

If you have experience in the home building trades, you can act as a general contractor and hire subcontractors to do the actual technical labor such as plumbing and electrical work. Otherwise, hire a general contractor.

You may also need an architect and/or an interior decorator as well. You need an architect if you are building a house or moving walls in a remodeling project. You can hire a decorator to direct the whole project or you can consult with one on an hourly rate as needed. We found the services of both of these professionals invaluable to our final outcome. They often ask questions about your “theme” or the uses of your space while a builder may not. Shop for someone who really listens and get second opinions.

Make Decisions Easily

If you pretend to make each decision as though you are making it without your partner, you will each get in touch with your own values and preferences. Then you can haggle about your differences, asking, “What is our ideal; what can we live with; what if money were no object?” Get creative about options. Do we need the largest shower or would we do ok with a medium size one?

Lastly, expect delays and detours. Don’t take out the frustration on each other. Use the opportunity of building or remodeling to make your marriage even better.

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Center for Extraordinary Marriages:
Office: 3725 Font Hill Dr, Ellicott City, Md. 21042
Mailing Address: 3725 Font Hill Dr, Ellicott City, Md. 21042
Phone: 410-465-5967
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