Why Home Renovations Can Lead to Divorce

Why Home Renovations Can Lead to Divorce

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
 

Have you ever felt completely stressed out and have difficulty making the “right” decision whether it be a new job, selling your existing home or even building a new home?  For many of us, this is called life and although at times, it can feel downright scary and isolating.  However, we plow through the pitfalls and face adversity head on.  We innately know that things will somehow get better, but we struggle to get through those darker days.

Many people react negatively towards their spouse or partner when a job loss, or stress that arises from selling, remodeling or building a home.  In fact, according to a study of married couples done by Houzz found that home renovating can be an extremely stressful time for couples with a “surprising 12% even admitted that their projects led them to consider a separation or divorce”! 


Experts agree that the best way to deal with these high stress situations is to address the PROBLEM, rather than ATTACK each other.  According to Gary Neuman, author of “In Good Times and Bad”,he states “…the most important step in managing life’s struggles as a couple is to decide that you will focus on the struggle as a team, not as two individuals ready to blame each other”.  It seems that this is where couples start heading in opposite directions.  I have met countless couples (regardless of age or income) who, when considering purchasing a home, have 2 very different ideas when it comes to their dream home.  One might want a newer executive home with a smaller yard to ensure a low maintenance lifestyle, while the other partner envisions a slightly older home that they can update to suit their tastes and a good-sized yard for resale.  Often times, just being “on the same page” when considering a real estate purchase can ease the level of stress for a couple.

A very insightful (and simple) exercise everyone can do is called “The Meaning of Money”.  Simply answer this one question – “What does money mean to you?”  Common answers include: control, power & strength, being able to care for others, fun, social acceptance, health, diversion from other issues, feeling better than others, safety and being right. If someone considers money to mean safety and security, then they are more apt to buy a home within their means and probably pay it off as soon as possible, thereby fulfilling their need for safety and security.  However, if someone views money as representing success, then they might be more inclined to purchase an executive home with higher-end finishing and feel that it is better to pay a little more for a home that they truly feel represents their tastes and accomplishments.  I know that my wife and I have built a home that we designed, and enjoy entertaining clients and friends in our own home.  For me, our home represents calm and peace. Now that we have sold our home and are busy packing, I clearly recall when my sewer lift pump stopped working the night of our first housewarming party and the home represented anything BUT calm and peace as I raced around to try and repair it in time.

It really is interesting that real estate can be seen from so many different viewpoints, and it is how we deal with the stress and react accordingly, that often determines how happy we are with our home and even to some degree, our investment properties.  My grandmother used to say that whatever is troubling you today will likely not matter six months from now, and I have tried to apply this sage advice throughout my entire life. So, as I embark on the construction of our new home, I will try to lessen my stress levels by reminding myself that our next home will one day reflect the calm and peace we enjoyed in our last home…even if I need to tell myself this a few times each day!
Regards,

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