There is nothing which is guaranteed to start an argument than deciding to paint the front room or put up some shelves. What colour will it be? Who will hold the drill? Who is the so-called expert? It is enough to make most couples down tools and walk off into another room in a huff with mutterings of “well you do it then...”
It is possible for a couple to make a good job of a DIY task by realising the strengths and weaknesses of each person and making the most of it. And strangely, a DIY task can be completed much faster when there are two people working in harmony with each other. We manage to work as a team when at work, so why can't it be done in our own homes? Well, it can. Just follow some simple guidelines and remember to take a few deep breaths!
- Be objective about what you are capable of and what your partner can achieve. If you are good with colour and she can wield a saw then allow her to do it. Watch and learn because next time you might like a go.
- Remember that you are doing DIY. Neither of you are an expert and therefore expecting that your partner can do the work of someone who is properly trained is setting yourself up for disappointment.
- When shopping for your materials make sure you have a list and stick to it. Don't change your mind while in the queue at B&Q as this is guaranteed to start an argument. Also it is important you have everything you need, as having to make a last minute trip back to the DIY shop will add to stress levels.
- Plan what you will be doing and what your areas of responsibility will be. Talk about it in depth and even write it down if you think it will help. It is a good idea to have a plan to refer to if an argument starts.
- Once you start, take care to stand out of the way when your other half is doing their bit. Step in if asked, but otherwise let them get on with it and above all – don't make sarcastic or “helpful” comments – it won't help...
- If it looks like things are going wrong, take a break. Sit down together (or apart) and have a cup of tea. Think about the problem and have a chat about it. A solution is bound to be there.
- If all else fails and one member of the “team” is letting down the side then allocate them the task of making the tea or cleaning up at the end. At the end of the day, all people want is to be able to say they had a hand in achieving the final result. It doesn't matter how small that part is. But be very careful how you tell the person their help isn't needed. Telling them they are useless isn't the way to go about it.
- Once finished, sit back and enjoy your work. Congratulate each other and make sure when you show it to friends you emphasize the fact you worked together. This will sound so impressive to friends who know they could never have managed to work alongside their partner. You will look like the perfect couple!