Renovation is always a shocking process, and not only for the walls of the house but also for the relationship between them.
By their nature, renovations tend to be long, complicated and out of control, leading to a lot of frustration and nerves.
In the case of attorney Hila Witkovsky Peretz, therapist and marriage mediator, the renovation also led to a new lecture. "You know how life connects into work," she tells me. Oh, I know.
Their renovation started two months ago and lasted two months plus, which means, by simple calculation, that the renovation-crisis-creation process happened at a record pace, from now until now.
And all this started, according to her, from a tear in the sofa, through which she and her husband noticed that in all the other tears and cracks it was time to fix them.
The two agreed on a complete renovation, jumped headlong into the process and against the background of the noises of drilling and knocking, the peace between them was also shaken.
"The problem started with the motivation to renovate," Witkowski says looking back.
"The motivation was mine, and Asher was active, but not necessarily out of his need to renovate."
The degree of motivation, she learned firsthand, affected the ability of each of the partners to contain the exhausting process and absorb the prices it charges.
"There is also the price in the simple sense of the word, but there is also the price of time," she says.
"When we told our friends that a renovation that was planned for two weeks was extended to two plus months, they said to us, 'Well of course, what did you expect?'. Wisely, it turns out that in retrospect the planning and the execution are very, very different. There are always gaps, but for us this gap was fourfold."
A renovating couple (Photo: ShutterStock)
Simply put, sounds like a nightmare.
How do you deal with it?
In complex processes as in complex processes, there is no magic solution, but there are some steps you can take in advance to make it easier for yourself, based on the key word "coordination of expectations".
For Witkowski's approach, the unexpected element must be taken into account first, the one that makes any renovation more expensive and longer than planned.
"Expecting the unexpected", she calls it.
That is, to put up with the dreaded part of the renovation in advance that we have no control over.
It's not just about mental preparation, according to her;
It has practical implications.
"For example, if I am preparing for a two-week renovation, I will continue to live at home," Witkowski explains, "but if I know in advance that there is a chance that it will take much longer, I will consider other living solutions. We stayed at home part of the time with dryers on our heads and lived on site Construction. In the part where we stayed it was very, very challenging, and with children in the picture, it's mentally draining."
The same goes for the money. "You have to take into account that it will always cost more than planned," according to her. "If we know this in advance, both financially and mentally, we will be better prepared." What is
this unexpected element? Is it necessary? Why does this actually happen?
"This component changes and consists of several parameters.
With us, during the renovation, moisture was discovered which expanded it to include much more than planned.
Beyond that, everyone knows that decisions are made on the fly.
'What, it's already being renovated, so why don't we replace it?'
Renovation, by its nature, has a rolling nature.
If we recognize this in advance,
A renovating couple (Photo: ShutterStock)
The coordination of expectations also includes, according to her, the division of responsibilities.
Responsibilities can be divided according to departments in the house or according to roles, and the clearer it is in advance, the better.
"Who talks to professionals, who leads every move, who is present during the home renovation?", explains Witkowski.
"It can clarify and reduce friction."
A significant issue that must be considered at this stage is what the therapist calls "personality gaps" between the couple.
"With us, which is much more fluid in reference to how the renovation should look, and I am more of a perfectionist," she demonstrates.
"After he stood in front of professionals and things seemed fine to him, I came and showed everything that was not. This created tension and conflict. If one of the spouses has more worry or financial anxiety, this will also be reflected in the unexpected element."
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It sounds like, by and large, if you can avoid renovation, it's better.
"A lot of people say, if you don't want to get divorced - don't renovate and don't build a house together. But renovation is not just an external matter, there is an internal need for it. All our lives we search for our inner home, and when we come to renovate a house we expect it to reflect this house . So it's important to understand, will our relationship withstand this? Have we already been through ups and downs together? In a way, it's similar to pregnancy planning. It's important to give it space and invest the necessary preparation, and the preparation can affect how we experience the renovation itself."
Besides coordinating expectations and planning in advance, she also has tips on how to proceed while renovating.
First and foremost - making sure there are "windows for the relationship", which allow a respite from the abrasive period.
This habit is recommended for married life in general, she says, but is more essential than ever during difficult and stressful times.
"It is important to put these ventilation points, where we are with ourselves and with each other, to check what matters are, how we feel, how everyone is at the moment in relation to the renovation", according to her, "communication that is requested, and even more requested in times like this."
Attorney Hila Vitkovsky Peretz (Photo: Samdar Kafri)
Witkowski says that the mistake of many couples she met as a mediator in divorce processes, is the expectation "to divorce not the person we married".
They are disappointed, for example, that the uncommunicative man with whom they have lived a whole life refuses to communicate during separation on the issue of raising the children.
The unrealistic expectation that Witkowski describes stands out in general in moments of crisis and difficulty in a relationship, and therefore also during renovations.
In short, "one cannot expect that in a time of crisis and difficulty people will become not who they are, or that the relationship will suddenly take a turn and a couple who did not speak will start communicating."
More than that, she says, such periods intensify existing problems, and it is important to address them, to "communicate them", as it is customary to say in the therapeutic language.
"If we operate on an automatic machine, and ignore it, our chances of successfully renovating as a couple are low."
Are there any couples enjoying a renovation?
Who say 'what a nice renovation, it was fun'?
"Different from life in general, where the path is more significant than the result, in the case of renovation the result helps to take a breath and look at the path differently in retrospect. The ability to imagine this moment also helps during the renovation. So it is important to always keep in mind the magical moment of the 'after' , where we will arrive at our beautiful home, the place we longed for. When you get there, you will also be able to look back with compassion and say that it was worth it, and that although there were nerves, it was not personal. It is also important to treat the period after the renovation as a period of rehabilitation - to take a vacation Together, to lick the wounds. In the end it is a difficult experience, but it can also be growth and empowering, which allows us to learn better about each other and at the end there is a great reward."
You will soon be able to hear additional insights that Witkowski produced from the shaky period in her new lecture, "Marriage in Renovation" which is intended for couples renovating as well as for architects who work with them.
An interesting choice of the target audience, and also raises questions.
"A large part of the clients of architects and designers are couples," she says of the thought behind the idea.
"There are tools that can not only help the couple, but also help them - deal with the couple and avoid certain corners."
The skills she offers are drawn from the field of mediation, and according to her, professionals of this type may earn quite a bit if they know how to acquire them, and without much effort.
"There are some simple tools," she says, "that will help you as an architect pay attention to who you are contacting, how you bridge the gap, how not to put the couple in an explosive place in advance. You have an interest both as a person and as a professional to provide better service and work with pleasant and happy people ".
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