Want a good test for finding the ideal partner? Build a house together.
When You Need an Ideal Partner
What they say:
“you should never build a house during the early stages of a marriage. The stress caused by the sheer volume of decisions, many of which are preferential decisions, can be simply too great for the relationship to survive.”
During 25 years of marriage my wife and I have worked our way through two extensive remodel projects and one new family home built from scratch. Now, we find ourselves building again. This time we are building our so called retirement home. It will be a smaller, one level, lower maintenance home.
We started this journey when my wife’s parents both expressed their desire to downsize and simplify. We don’t find ourselves at this point yet, but we saw this as an opportunity. We could build this home early, while we still have the energy and ability to do so. We had been saving a piece of property with this purpose in mind. The thought of them getting to enjoy it, while waiting for our own retirement, sounded like an ideal opportunity.
Defining Ideal Partner
This brings me back to the value of a good partner. Let’s look at a definition of the ideal partner.
Ideal partners value the other’s interests separate from their own. They feel congenial toward and supportive of one another’s overall goals in life. They are sensitive to the other’s wants, desires, and feelings, and place them on an equal basis with their own.
Being an Ideal Partner
My wife, Mary Pat’s involvement in this project has been extensive. She has done most of the “behind the scenes” decor and finishing touches. I, on the other hand, have been managing the day to day workflow and financial aspects of the project. We are currently starting month six of the project. Reflecting on this, it dawned on me how much fun I have had working with my partner on this project. Though it’s been exhausting and stressful at times, she has always, and I mean always, shown me these invaluable characteristics of a great partner:
- Verbally appreciates my role, over and over again.
- Is supportive during the inconveniences that arise in pulling the whole project together.
- Asks my opinion even when I don’t really want to give it.
- Always cares more about me and my well being more than the project
- Laughs often over the silly things we place a high value on, things that are good but often non essential luxuries.
- Willing to compromise if it makes the whole project more bearable.
- Able to say “maybe later” to things that feel overwhelming at the time.
What It’s Worth
I never could have predicted the pure joy this project project has brought me. I give all the credit to a great partnership and 25 years of practice. Multiple home projects and business ventures, raising two amazing children, and a shared faith has prepared us for this adventure.
Never take for granted what you are going through today and who is going through it with you. The value may be in the unknown future joy you will experience with your ideal partner.