Home Sweet Home Improvement

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10 ways to keep your relationship happy, healthy, and positive while working side by side with your mate.

Are you an A type personality? Is he a B type personality?

The two of you might get along fine in the bedroom, but when it comes to redoing your bedroom, there are definitely some things to watch out for. Home improvement can be scary, stressful and even the spark that can blow a tiny disagreement into a full-blown fight. Somehow, the smallest discussions over things as mundane as where to place furniture or what color to paint a wall can explode, unleashing frustration, anger and fear. It's enough to make a gal swear off even raising the topic in the first place.

To help save a relationship or two, here are some ways to prevent the two of you from launching into full scale war with each other when disagreements start to boil up to the surface:

PATIENCE: Home improvement is stressful enough as it is. You must exercise an excessive amount of patience through each and every step of the process. Forcing things along the way can be extremely dangerous. Patience and respect call for making sure each person's ideas get a fair hearing. You wouldn't summarily bash someone's ideas in a business meeting-and you shouldn't do it in a meeting with your mate. Set some rules of engagement if you must; the golden rule applies as much ever.

SAFETY: If the two of you do end up having it out, take a brief moment to look around. Are there any safety hazards you need to be immediately aware of before arguing your point with your spouse? You may want to win your point, but not at the expense of losing a limb. Safety comes first.

HUMOR: You've heard it before - laughter is the best medicine. Take a few moments out of the work day to share some fun together. Study up on a few good jokes you can tell while working. Find the humor in the situation and share it with your partner. And, most importantly, learn to laugh at yourself during the process.

BREAKS: Tension builds when you're tired. So, be sure you take breaks throughout the day. Give yourself a bit of time to recharge to insure that your emotions don't start calling the shots. Drinking water especially during the hotter days will keep your electrolytes balanced which will help the emotions stay in check.

TEAMWORK: The stress you're going through might very well not have to do with each other, but simply the project at hand. Realize that your spouse is there to help you, not hinder the process. If your partner is doing all he can to help, but actually IS a hindrance, then explain nicely that it might be better for you to complete the project by yourself. Don't patronize or yell at them, simply thank them nicely and send them on their way.

KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY: There's no point in escalating the argument to a level that there's no turning back from. Know when you're about to say or do something you might regret later and simply walk away. Explain quickly to your partner that it's best they left you alone for a few moments. By the way, if they keep nagging you when you feel this way?run instead!

FEAR: Learn to recognize when your spouse is acting out of fear. Home improvement can be scary sometimes. You're literally tearing into the walls the two of you call home and neither of you might feel 100% secure in your abilities to piece it back together. Know that if your partner is expressing his or her fears, this is normal. Reassure them that if you work together as a cohesive unit, you'll be able to successfully accomplish the task at hand.

WITNESSES: Take into account the people that are around you. Whether it's your children, your neighbors or that friend you coaxed with beer and pizza to come and help on her day off. Be aware of their comfort level. If you find that you and your spouse are not jelling and just yelling, you might consider going to work by yourself in another room for awhile to let your emotions calm down.

KNOW WHEN YOU'RE DONE FOR THE DAY: When we're working on home improvement projects, we often lose our sense of time. We'll look down and be surprised that six maybe seven or even ten hours have passed. But take stock of yourself during the course of the day. You want to be sure that you and your spouse call it quits when you feel you've given it your all and there's nothing more you can give both physically and mentally. On that note, be very careful not to bully or be bullied by your spouse if you're feeling tired but they wish to continue. You might very well be at a point in the project where it could be potentially dangerous for you to keep working. If they wish to carry on, then simply let them be.

COMMUNICATION: As any counselor will tell you, the key to a successful relationship is communication. You need to communicate with your spouse to let them know how you're feeling. As we mentioned above, if you're tired, hungry, thirsty, scared, or whatever, let your partner know. Unless they tell you otherwise, they are not mind readers and you should never treat them as such. You need to learn to communicate your needs, or else expect to never have your needs met.

Home improvement should be something the two of you will take pride in doing. You want to be able to show off the results of your labor and not of your arguments. So, take stock of yourself throughout the process, know when to walk away, and be sure to communicate with your partner as needed and you and your home will be better for it. Remember, it's supposed to be fun!

Ultra Boost



Maybe it's good I'm going it alone! My biggest safety issue is not falling off the ladder when I'm dancing to a good tune!

Maybe it's good I'm going it alone! My biggest safety issue is not falling off the ladder when I'm dancing to a good tune!

Forget about keeping the peace while doing the project... My fiance and I can't even agree on what to do and how best to do it!!

My husband and I had to work out differences over decorating, he loves to pick out stuff too. We ended up choosing natural greens and tans, but I wanted a hint of redwood color to accent. He didn't picture it so he didn't want it. I learned to be patient, and he saw what I meant later on and got excited. It's about nurturing the relationship and working together as much as it is about color. :)
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