Building a house can create relationship tension even if you have a great marriage and the best home builder in the area. Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize the stress and strain on your marriage and family during the home building process.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to build up your relationship and family as you build a new dream home?
Then you’ll be able to enjoy the experience together, even more, when the house is finished.
11 Marriage Building Tips (from a Wife Who Has Been in the Trenches)
1. Before you start talking with a builder, talk with each other
The two of you need to be on the same page about the basics of what you want before you try to share your vision with a builder.
- Be sure that both of you really both want to build a new house. This is a major investment of time, energy, and money.
- Commit to making this a joint dream house that will be a joy for each of you.
- Discuss your priorities for your relationship and family for now and the future.
- Talk through what you each think will be most important in a new home.
2. Communicate in healthy, productive ways with each other
Each of you needs to feel like you have a voice and that your unique perspective and concerns matter to the other person. Seek to have a team approach so that everyone wins and benefits from the decisions that you make.
It helps to be friendly, polite, and direct about what you want. Hints and assumptions tend to result in misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Manipulation, passive-aggression, or forcing our way won't strengthen our marriage or family. Using hurtful words or raising voices only damages the relationship and everyone loses.
Consider addressing your desires and concerns in direct, healthy ways like:
- I like this floor plan.
- I don’t want that house plan.
- Universal design is very important to me.
- I can be flexible in this area.
- If that is really important to you, let’s do it the way you would prefer.
- This makes me nervous.
- I don't really like that color. What do you think about this one?
- It would mean a lot to me if we could have this feature in the kitchen.
- I am not comfortable with this expense.
- I'd love to understand your perspective on this better.
- Could we cut back on our spending in this area and spend more over here?
- I like this custom home builder the best.
- I'd really like to spend some time with you this week just to relax.
3. Accept that you may not always agree
There are no two people who would ever make exactly the same decisions when building a new house. Just realizing that you won’t always both want the same thing is a big step in a healthy direction.
It’s not that one of you is “right” and one is “wrong.”
You each have different perspectives and tastes. It's your differences that make marriage fun and exciting! If you are able to communicate well and are both willing to make some compromises to benefit the other, disagreements don’t have to spell disaster.
4. Decide ahead of time that your relationship is more important than the house
Sometimes during the house-building process, it is so easy to focus on the house and the decisions that need to be made, it's possible to inadvertently make the house a greater priority than relationships. So we have to consciously keep our marriage and family the priority over the house stuff.
- Decide what you can do ahead of time to help each other de-stress and to de-escalate any tension.
- Remember that the house is there to serve and bless you and your family, not the other way around.
- Don't expect a new house to fix marriage problems. Marriage problems are fixed with communication, mutual love, and mutual respect—not material things.
- Agree not to threaten divorce over house issues.
When the house is finished, you want your marriage to be strong so you can enjoy the beautiful new home together.
5. Consciously choose to treat each other well
Yes, you may be frustrated with something about the house or a decision that needs to be made. You may be tired and upset. But you can choose not to take that frustration out on each other. You are on the same team! If you hurt your spouse, you will only hurt yourself (and your children), in the end, too.
Try to remember to:
- Smile at each other often—just because.
- Use a friendly, pleasant tone of voice.
- Use at least as much courtesy with each other as you would use with your boss, a customer at work, or a good friend.
- Be your “best self” with each other, not your worst.
- Choose your words wisely. Don’t say hurtful things that you will regret.
- Choose to focus on each other’s good qualities and strengths.
- Avoid blaming or shaming each other.
- Speak well of each other to the contractor, builder, kids, friends, family members, and others.
- Go on "house-free" dates sometimes where you don't talk about the house for a few hours.
Not only will this make your marriage stronger, but it also sets a wonderful example for your children about how to handle stress and conflicts, as well.
6. Optimize timing for talking about problems
We all need certain things in life like sleep, food, and a bit of space to breathe. It is wise to try to avoid having a deep discussion about something that could be sensitive when one or both people are:
- Extremely hungry.
- Very stressed about another crisis.
- Just walking in the door.
7. Take breaks from discussing the house
Building a house can completely consume your life if you allow it to. It’s important to set aside time to enjoy each other, your children, friends, extended family, and all of the other blessings in your life. Have fun! Enjoy each other.
8. Keep your sense of humor
People who learn to respond with a great sense of humor to setbacks tend to enjoy the house building journey, and all of life, a lot more. Life doesn’t always go as smoothly as we all would like, but thankfully, we get to choose our attitude.
Our response and attitude can be even more important than the circumstances in life many times.
9. Apologize when you lose your cool
This means, take responsibility without justifying yourself. Try to avoid blaming the other person.
- I lost my temper there. I’m so sorry.
- Wait, my voice sounded way too harsh there. I apologize. Let me try that again in a more loving way.
- I am feeling impatient. But the delays are not your fault. I’m sorry for snapping at you.
10. Find another couple who survived building a new house with a strong relationship
Share a meal together and talk through the challenges you are facing together. Laugh, commiserate, and enjoy some relaxing time with friends. They may have a lot of wisdom to share about the house-building process and about how to keep your marriage strong, too.
11. Remind yourselves of all the things you have to be thankful for
There are many things that happen in life that are infinitely more stressful than house issues. Chronic illness, tragedies, natural disasters, relationship tension, war, and other very difficult things.
It can be helpful to keep things in perspective. One great way to do this is to keep a list of all the good things that you have in your life and add to it each day. The more you focus on the good things, the more content and peaceful you will tend to feel.
Building a custom house comes with some frustrations, at times, as do many worthwhile ventures in life. This stress could hurt your marriage, but it doesn’t have to! Not if you and your spouse have the tools and commitment you need to put each other and your family before the house.
Are you looking for a custom home builder in the Lexington, SC area?
Contact us today to see if we are a good fit to build your dream home!
We are a luxury home builder in areas including Blythewood, Forest Acres, downtown Columbia, West Columbia, Lake Murray, Pine Ridge, Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, and more.
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