During our first renovation together, we got to the point where the reno was all we talked about. There was constant assessing, planning and obsessing about the renovation. It didn’t help that we were living upstairs while the renovation was going on downstairs. In reality, the whole house was a reno zone. The result: everything was taking longer than it should, we were frustrated and getting burnt out.
We hit our max one morning when nothing seemed to be going right. Feeling tired, grumpy and hungry, we needed to get away from the mess and put food in our bellies. On the way to lunch, we decided that we wouldn’t talk about the renovation at all throughout our meal.
Taking a break
We both started to relax when the suggestion was made. What a relief to totally leave the reno zone behind!
That is until we sat down, looked at each other… and had no idea what to talk about!
There was about 10 minutes of stunned silence. The few conversation attempts we did make were about the renovation. It was kind of funny but, mostly, sad. We were so caught up in the tasks of the renovation that we had forgotten about enjoying each other’s company. We realized then how much the renovation had overtaken our lives – physically, mentally and emotionally.
This renovation was supposed to be about creating our home and building our financial future. How did we let it put strain on our relationship instead? We needed to get back to appreciating each other for more than checking something off the renovation to do list.
The No Reno Zone
We realized that the loss of connecting as a couple was adding another layer of stress to the renovation we didn’t need. We had an honest conversation about how we were feeling and realized the importance of taking breaks. From this, the No Reno Zone was created. This is something we continued to use throughout our second renovation and during bigger projects. Sometimes you need to use a lunch break to talk about how the project is going and what the focus will be for the afternoon. Other times, a No Reno Zone is needed in order to feel refreshed for the afternoon ahead.
Create a No Reno Zone
After this experience, we try to have at least one meal/day that is a No Reno Zone. We also know we can say this (without guilt) to each other at any time when total break is needed. One of the other areas we try to keep as a No Reno Zone is our bedroom. It gives us a clear place in our home for connecting and relaxing. It also helps us sleep better because it keeps the bedroom as a place meant for sleep.
That lunch marked a valuable lesson for us. In fact, when the idea of starting a blog came up, that experience was one we knew we needed to share with other couples.
In case you’re wondering, we were finally able to come up with something other than the renovation to talk about at that lunch. Although, we think we had to look up some conversation starters to get us going lol.
What’s your favorite conversation starter to use? Let us know in the comments!
Denise and Sean
P.S. Check out our Relationship Pinterest Board for conversation starter suggestions and other ways of connecting as a couple.
P.P.S. Get The Essential Renovation Motivation Checklist for free! Be on the same page together before you start your renovation.