Do you ever look at those couples who do DIY projects and wonder why on earth they do it? Does it ever seem like just too much work? You may be surprised what a DIY project can do to benefit your marriage. Read on to find out why you may want to consider home improvement for your next date night.
1. Brain exercise
Unless you, or your spouse, are a professional contractor, home improvement projects use a different part of your brain than does your usual work. This means you get a break from sitting at a computer. Instead, you can stimulate the part of your brain that enjoys hands-on experiences. Processing spatial relationships, recognizing color balance and applying force with our muscles can all be a refreshing and engaging part of home improvement projects. Sometimes, rejuvenation and connectivity are just what a marriage needs.
My husband and I recently bought a thrift store dining table with the idea that we'd refinish it. The project is slow going, given that my husband is a graduate student drowning in deadlines. However, he has been grateful for the change of pace, not to mention the tangible evidence that his hard work means something more than just data on a screen.
Working on a project with your spouse can remind you how well you work together. If this isn't a strength in your marriage, it can allow you to practice cooperative skills in a situation with low stakes. After all, refinishing the table is a much less critical project than teaching your children. Once you get really good at cooperating on smaller tasks, those skills carry over to bigger tasks like childrearing and finances.
My friend Laura loves to do DIY projects with her husband. For example, they repurposed an old door as a headboard and worked on it every evening for weeks. Through the experience, she rediscovered the excellent way he balances her creativity with his hands-on skills. Together, they talked and laughed and dreamed as they worked. Laura told me that it felt just like dating. Who wouldn't want that?
Marriage requires a lot of creativity. This is fortunate because creativity is also a ton of fun. When you work on a DIY project with your spouse, you get to exercise your creativity with the one person who benefits from it the most.
4. Learning to make work into fun
Many elements of family life can feel like drudgery. No matter how many times you have done it before, laundry, dishes and diapers still need endless attention. Home improvement projects are a different kind of work, and can allow you to practice making work fun in a situation that has a little distance from your usual responsibilities. Turn on music, swap stories or race to complete a task. Whatever your technique, you may find something that makes chores and childcare a little more bearable, too.
5. Specialized interaction
Studies show that when men communicate, they do so most comfortably side-by-side while completing a task. In other words, a home improvement project can be the perfect place for a husband to communicate with his wife and enjoy it.On the other hand, women usually communicate face-to-face in situations where talking is the activity of choice. While opportunities for this are limited while working on the project, it does allow for conversation fodder later that is easy for a husband to relate to. In this situation, everybody wins.
My husband and I find food fascinating. We love to work together on making our diet more healthy, frugal, tasty and interesting. When he works with me in the kitchen, it makes him a bigger part of the project, and then I don't feel so weird asking for his input later. It becomes a natural part of our week to hunt for recipes on Pinterest and write them down. Circling each other in the kitchen is like a slow dance, keeping time with questions like "Will you stir that?" and "What else do you think this needs?" I fall in love with my husband a little more every time we get in a good rhythm like this because it reminds me how well we work as a team. Here are some other ways to be supportive of your spouse.
With benefits like cooperation, shared creativity, and mutual hard work, it's easy to see why you might consider starting a DIY project with your spouse. Not only do you get to be closer to your spouse, but you also get to move one step closer to your dream home. So get to work, dreamers. You're the only one who can do-it-yourself.