From the BlogSubscribe Now

Top Tips for Surviving DIY Projects with Your Significant Other

It’s Valentines week, and that means mushy, gushy, couple-y things and flowers and teddy bears holding hearts.
teddy bear holding heart

Important soapbox moment regarding teddy bears holding hearts:

NO. Just NO. Why are these still in circulation? NO ONE WANTS THIS as a Valentines Day gift. Please return it to the 7-eleven where you bought it. That is all.

* * *

In honor of Valentines Day, I’m participating in a super fun blog hop this week with a handful of some amazing DIY bloggers, starting tomorrow. Today I want to tell you my biggest lessons about doing DIY projects while legally wed to some other person who may not see things correctly exactly as you see them.

We’re about 80 percent finished with our home, most of which was done while we were both working full-time jobs, and our marriage lived to tell of it. It’s due almost completely to the fact that I married the kind of guy who should probably be cloned and sold to women who only want IDEAL husbands. Sometimes I actually feel a little guilty that I have him all to myself.

I didn’t say he’s completely sane.

But no marriage is perfect. Here are some tips that carried us through those nights of installing hardwood floors until our back ached, or four-trips-to-Home-Depot-in-one-day marathon Saturdays, or stressful oh-crap-what-have-we-done moments:

1. Don’t do it.

Unless you really like it, that is. Learning to do projects together can be a fun hobby that leads to great quality time, but if you’re not careful, they will also freaking punch your marriage right in the face, then run away giggling. Home remodeling is like that. It’s also incredibly fulfilling and saves money. But you need to love it.

2. Agree to a spending plan from Day One.

Notice what word I didn’t use? The dreaded “b” word that rhymes with “fudge-it.” “Spending plans” are happier than budgets, right? And much more fun? We’re huge Dave Ramsey fans and follow his methods for saving money and getting out of debt. I was thrilled to discover that part of this plan is to set aside money from your paycheck for each category of spending.

Did you catch that? EACH CATEGORY OF SPENDING. You know what that means?

THIS GIRL. Gets money SET ASIDE for home stuff. That money is only for house stuff. If I don’t spend it on pillows and DIY projects, I’ll be going against our budget, and I’m much too responsible for that.

Pillows from ElemenoPillows etsy shop.

See how that worked? Brilliant. Andy gets his own spending cash too – for things like electronics (but not for Star Wars posters). The result? We don’t have to argue over what I spend on house projects, and trips to the home improvement store are decidedly less stressful. (Though often still stressful.)

3. Appear to Compromise.

…without actually doing it, of course. Or else your walls will be covered with Star Wars posters. (I’m kidding. Mostly.)


4. Listen.

You would not believe the creative genius that can occasionally spurt unexpectedly from my husband. He’s the math guy. I’m the one who can’t put down my old issues of Domino magazine.

But sometimes when I have an idea I think will be brilliant and fabulous, he’ll point out that it is, in fact, possibly not brilliant and fabulous. I can’t tell you how many giant decorating mistakes that guy has saved me from, looking back. Sometimes he really does have a point.

5. Initiate a Veto Policy.

If I reeeeally love something fabulous and it WANTS to live in our home but Andy hates it down to the depths of his soul and refuses to occupy the same dwelling as that decor thing? He gets to veto it, and I turn down the whining to low. Because I also have veto power, and we both use it very selectively.
Decorating with plates
My plate wall, for example, is hated by my husband but loved by me. He knows I love it more than he hates it, so he doesn’t fight it. But if I love a couch because it has incredible lines but he thinks its so uncomfortable that he’s undergoing some kind of medieval torture by sitting in it… it’s out. He needs to like living here too. But he doesn’t have to look at the plate wall.

Bonus Tip from Andy
If your significant other is reading this, you can encourage them to skip the previous points and go straight to this one, which is what Andy told me to tell them is the secret to having a happy, sane marriage in the middle of a reno:

Give up. Just say yes. Do what you’re told.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, friends. He’s a keeper.

What are your must-do tips for working with your significant other when your house is covered in sheetrock dust?

Let's connect


  1. my husband and i have been married almost 9 years now… he is already at the last step. he just says “do what you want”. the only compromise i had to make is that i had to have the tv above the fireplace.
    and btw, did you notice the word promise is in compromise…. just saying!

  2. You two are so cute. For the record I LOVE the plate wall. What is it about men and plate walls? John refuses to let me do it and I really want to in the dining room!

    Oh and I’m completely with you on the teddy bear. Who started that tradition and what grown women ever wanted a teddy bear instead of flowers or chocolate or flowers AND chocolate?

  3. Our husbands can never meet. Because I’m pretty sure Nate would say the same thing.

    Cute post.

    And I like your plate wall. A lot. You’re a genius.

  4. lovely post! When we were looking for a house our realtor would often tell Aaron, “happy wife, happy life.” 🙂 I remind him of that sometimes.

  5. Good tips! I also wrote a contract that my husband signed that states that he’s good with me making all decorating decisions in exchange for me not getting my feelings hurt when he gets the faraway look in his eyes when I talk about window treatment options. 🙂

  6. Too funny but all your points are true. While tiling the kitchen back splash, I say to hubby “We make a great team.” He says, “Yeah as long as I do what you tell me to do.” Smart man.

  7. Cutest post ever! Your husband sounds a lot like mine. He has some input sometimes, but mostly just goes along to get along. 😉 Thank goodness for agreeable, handy husbands!

  8. Oh words of wisdom! I was cracking up at the Star Wars poster thing. Haha. I love the “spending plan” terminology too. We love Money Life (similar to Dave Ramsey). Great post!

  9. haha so much of this is so true for us. Rick is also pretty much in the “do whatever you’re told” camp, and I’m so grateful for that Because really, he doesn’t care what color a room is (mostly) or what the curtain fabric is, so if he was ornery about it, that wouldn’t make sense.

    I’m off to go return that oversize panda bear w/heart that I bought at K&K. Good thing you said something before I embarrassed myself by giving it to my husband and he never let me make decisions around the house again…

  10. I loved everything about this post. Andy needs to give seminars. I love my husband to pieces and we are a perfect match but he is an artist by trade. He always has an opinion on the house stuff. Choosing colors is a nightmare 😉

  11. Laughed (snorted really) out loud! I have to say my hubby is unusual opinionated when it comes to paint color -but in all honesty he has picked some gooders! But I will need to show him andy’s tip before I show him the paint I picked up to paint our front closet with (he doesn’t get that it’s a room, it totally is right? Back me up here!)


  1. […] and here. Yes.Yes, I did build this playset just so I could talk about theorems and numbers and star wars. But the end result is a whole playground for only about $440 (max), so I think that’s a […]

Speak Your Mind


Back to top          Privacy Policy          Copyright © 2013 View Along the Way. All rights reserved.          Contact Me