“I want to leave him.”
That’s what I hear almost every single day from a surprising number of my clients.
They’re tired of their marriage…ready to throw it all away.
The thing is, less than a year ago, many of them were happily married to the love of their lives.
So, what changed?
More specifically, the extreme loss that Hurricane Harvey caused. Many of my clients’ homes were destroyed by the storm. And their lives were entirely upended.
The stress and pressure of having to make tons and tons of instant decisions…
The money it takes to get your home back to its former beauty…
And on top of all of it, you’re probably butting heads when it comes to the design choices.
I remember going through all of this and more during all those tragedies opportunities I told you about last week. You can read about here if you missed it.
And if you’ve heard me teach one of our many workshops before – you know I can command a pretty loud voice!
All this chaos puts A LOT of pressure on your relationship.
Looking back in retrospect, I can’t believe the stress didn’t break my and my hubby!
Now, maybe you’re lucky, and everything is A-OK. Good! I hope from the bottom of my heart that this email sounds silly to you.
But unfortunately, many of my customers ARE in the process of rebuilding or starting over.
If you’re one of them (you know who you are) I want to help.
We’ve had to rebuild our home from scratch so many times, that I learned a few coping mechanisms.
Now, I’m not saying that I have some magical mental toughness. I don’t. But the hubby and I either had to figure out a healthy way to approach these challenges…
Or we would have collapsed under the weight of life.
And today, I wanted to share with you some ways to get through this all without having the stress break your spirit and your relationship.
I’m not a marriage counselor by any means – these are just a few simple strategies I personally used to keep going.
In the beginning there were a lot of mistakes. The easiest part was moving out and clearing the trash out of the house.
Then it got hard.
We had to find dozens of contractors, try to figure out who the heck to trust, and make some under-the-gun high-pressure design decisions.
I remember we had this one general contractor that asked my husband to pay him a weekly “management fee.” This was meant to ensure the project was done on time, up to standard, and up to code.
Each week, my husband would pay the fee.
Yet when I would go check it seemed as though literally nothing had been done.
Nothing – and remember I’m in this industry.
Look back, I think my husband had temporarily lost his mind. Because he’s pretty frugal (I’m being nice here) and would never just agree to pay someone without a work product.
But this contractor somehow comforted him
And this went on and on and on, until I lost it.
Finally (after a good ole fashioned screaming match with hubby) we agreed to stop this arrangement.
There was a slowdown in the job, but it was worth it.
And we learned from that experience.
We learned to manage expectations about what could be done in a week’s time, how much it would cost, create accountability with our service providers, and find someone who could actually reach the goals that had been laid out.
We could have found another terrible contractor — there are many out there — but we learned from that hard and expensive mistake.
The point is, you might spend money you shouldn’t have. You might pick out the wrong color faucet, or jump into buying a whole house full of furniture…
And then decide you actually want the exact opposite look.
But heed these words:
Every single one of us makes mistakes; we’re human. It’s normal. I know you hold yourself to a high standard, but it’s okay to slip sometimes.
What’s done is done. Learn from what you didn’t like. And use that to help you achieve your dream home.
During one of our renovations, we weren’t sure exactly where we were going to relocate our cooktop.
Where we had it made sense, but something in my gut said it wasn’t 100% spot on.
Again, this is something that hubby and I really disagreed on.
I knew this would really affect the resale value of the home if we ever wanted to sell it, not to mention a misplace stove would mean our home just wouldn’t “flow” right.
So I hired an expert. Yes, you hear me right. I hired another interior designer to come in and give me their opinion.
And in the end we moved it, and the best part was — because someone else was able to confirm the right location and explain it better than I could — hubby was 100% on board.
You might be facing the same thing: Arguing over paint color palettes. “I think beige is better…well, I think gray is better! No, now I like white!”
Which is why it’s so valuable to get a third-party, neutral voice in the room.
They’ll help make both of your visions come true.
It only takes you an hour or two, but it will get you back on the right track.
Ha! I know you’re rolling your eyes right now.
But I’m serious. During all our house turmoil, I had to really dig deep to remember why I fell so head over heels for my hubby.
It wasn’t like I forgot, it was just I was so focused on all the despair and frustration that I couldn’t see the light.
But I discovered an unconventional way to remind myself of of that why.
All you have to do is take a break from the hustling — just for an afternoon — and play board games or cards with your children.
You’ll see your partner’s mannerisms, expressions, and so much more in them.
When I did this, all I could do is marvel at how we created these magnificent humans that were so different from both of us — but still shared so many of our little quirks and traits!
And I love my husband more and more when I see him in them.
If you don’t have kids – no problem!
I have two more solutions for ya!
Get in a relaxed state and just think about the first time you met; how you met, where you were, and all the excitement you felt to see them again and again.
Whatever you loved about him or her, it’s still there.
If this sounds too hard, look back on old photos when ya’ll were just kids – it will take you back.
And then remember what you loved about him or her back then and focus on that again now.
This hardship will pass, but your relationship should not.
This isn’t rocket science, but often during stressful times we freeze and do nothing.
One thing I can say I did pretty regularly was force myself to plan outings with hubby and our kiddos.
It feels like we did more in that downtime than we do now!
Plan date nights, take the kids out, meet up with friends, go on little weekend getaways to the cities surrounding Houston and I promise it will break up the monotony of fixing your home.
This helped us tremendously to shift our focus from the bad, the sad, and all the money and fighting.
I know this is a hard time for a lot of you out there. But your family and relationships shouldn’t suffer for it — you need them for strength.
So hang in there.
Take this opportunity to savor the struggle with the people who matter most.
Have any tips or stories you want to add? Be sure to comment below!
P.S. Want to remake your house exactly like you dreamed? Why not level-up your design skills with one of our exclusive workshops? Click here to see the schedule.
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