Instead of going to a ropes course or trying a team building activity, working on home improvement projects may be one of the best ways to strengthen a relationship with your partner. If you don’t believe me, try putting together Ikea furniture with your friend or significant other. Putting together furniture or installing a new kitchen faucet, tests your patience, encourages you to work together, reveals each other’s true colors. A home improvement project goes through ups and downs just like a relationship. Check out the phases below to see how the process will can help you work toward strengthening your relationships!


Phase 1: Excitement

Starting a home project can be exciting, especially when it’s a team effort. When you’re at the store you’re able to select colors and details that will complement your home. The first trip to Lowes or Home Depot is as good as it gets. And, if you’re able to only need one trip to the home improvement store then your home improvement skills are next level. In any case, the beginning of a project is the time to enjoy the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship.


Phase 2: Focus

Once you get back home, you’ll happily unpack the box and see a booklet of the instructions. Although following instructions is not always fun, this is the beginning of your project, so you’ll initially commit to being focused and making this a successful project. You will soon realize that this home project and relationship will take your time and attention to do it justice.


Couple putting furniture together

Phase 3: Frustration

It is not uncommon to encounter a snafu when you’re doing a home project. While it may be frustrating to not have the correct tool or the pieces aren’t fitting together, this is where your relationship starts to grow. It’s important to make sure you remember you’re on the same team with your partner. Do not turn on each other! Instead of trying to power through and finish, it can be helpful to take a break, so you don’t spiral into emotional frustration.


Phase 4: Resilience

Although it’s tempting to just give up and walk away, stick with the project. Don’t give up! Work with each other to fix the problem. It will be possible to overcome and preserving through the difficult times will not only help you finish the project but also make your relationship stronger.


Phase 5: Accomplishment

If you have managed to stick with the home project to this point, that means you’re close to completing it. Way to go! You’ve managed to work with your partner to finish a task, and now you can admire your hard work and celebrate!


A final parallel of working on a home improvement project and strengthening a relationship, is the outward simplicity and inner complexity. A fence doesn’t look difficult to paint. Communicating your feelings may seem like a piece of cake. In both cases, while something may seem simple there is still skill and time involved. More importantly, there is always an opportunity to improve and grow from the experience.