If you have been married a long time, you and your spouse have probably gone through thick and thin together. Maybe you have dealt with the deaths of loved ones or issues with your children. Perhaps you have managed to handle financial issues or addictions.
These are all situations in which marriages can experience added stress. Another thing that can cause issues in a relationship is a home improvement project. You may have heard that building a home with your partner is a great way to test your relationship. But you do not even have to take on such a huge project in order to see your marriage fall apart.
That is right—you may want to rethink that decision to remodel your home. The results of a survey of 975 homeowners showed that 40% of married couples regretted working on the home improvement project together. In addition, 17% of homeowners separated or divorced after undertaking a challenging household project.
But why do home improvement projects specifically cause divorce? It is because of the various elements involved. These factors can make these projects particularly stressful. Here are some things to look out for when working on your home.
Financial problems can threaten any marriage, regardless of whether or not there are home improvement projects involved. But having to renovate a home magnifies the situation. In fact, most of those surveyed found home renovations problematic due to a lack of money. Many of these projects fail to stay within budget, which causes stress in relationships.
Clashes in Taste
When it comes to decorating or improving upon a home, there are many options to consider. For example, there are paint colors, window coverings, furniture, appliances, flooring, wall decorations, fixtures, and many other things to decide on. It is likely that the couple will clash in one or more areas. Many do not even agree on the vision, so ideally, you and your spouse will have the same goals in mind when deciding to update your home.
Arguments Over Minor Details
While large-scale items, such as adding on a new room or knocking down a wall, do cause disagreements, even minor details can cause tempers to flare. In fact, almost half of those surveyed said that these smaller issues caused problems in their marriage while they were in the midst of remodeling their home. Many of these arguments were over aesthetic details, such as choosing a specific type of tile or deciding on a paint color.
Home Improvement Projects are Just a Cover-Up
In many cases, it is not that the project on its own is causing the divorce. It is that the project is being used as a Band-Aid to fix an already broken marriage. Many couples make changes to their home in an effort to make changes to their marriage. This does not always work; in fact, it often backfires.
Home improvement projects are often huge, expensive undertakings. They require a lot of money and compromise. They are not easy for opinionated couples. The stress involved uncovers all the problems in the marriage rather than making things better.
How to Prevent Divorce
A home improvement project does not necessarily have to lead to divorce. Many couples successfully update their homes while keeping their marriages intact. How do they do it? Here are some tips to help your project go smoothly:
- Have a plan in place. A successful home improvement project requires adequate planning. Start the process at least several months in advance. This plan should include all the required steps, as well as your wants and needs and sketches of the final product. This allows you to discuss expectations and goals ahead of time.
- Have a budget in place. Once you have a plan, you can create a budget. The budget should include all the required labor, materials, and tools. But keep in mind that unexpected issues, such as electrical, plumbing, or structural issues, can lead to unexpected expenses. It is a good idea to add 10% onto your budget for these issues.
- Assign tasks. Instead of critiquing each other, have each person be in charge of certain tasks. Does one person like to paint? Let them paint. Who enjoys going to the hardware store? Let them gather all the materials. This method keeps each person on task and prevents micromanaging, which can lead to arguments.
- Take a break. When things do get heated, do not engage. Instead of arguing or saying something mean, take a step back. Walk away from the situation. Take a few minutes to regroup and come back with a clear head.
- Get help from the pros. Are you in over your head? If so, it may be time to admit defeat and call the pros. A home improvement job can easily become too complicated and expensive. A professional has the skills and experience to ensure things are done right. While it may be more costly in the end, it will bring about peace of mind and hopefully save your marriage.
Seek Legal Help
A marriage can end for a variety of reasons. Even tackling a home improvement project can put extra stress on a relationship due to various factors involved.
If you are considering a divorce for any reason, Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you understand your legal options. We have more than three decades of experience. To schedule a consultation with our office, call (954) 398-5712 or fill out the online form.