Without a doubt this is the house that love built….well love, some choice curse words, tears, blood, and a few additional medical bills!
For years my husband and I have had a dream to build a home with everything we ever wanted in it. We fantasized about it, we would talk about our dreams over date night dinners, and for years I pinned every desire I had ever dreamed about in a home. By the grace of God we were able to build on raw land in our dream location.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
I am a believer in keeping things as non-toxic as possible…which I am pretty sure is a builder’s nightmare! But in order to protect my health and my family’s health, I stood strong in this belief. My husband supported me on this, especially in the beginning when we were still in our fantasy planning stage. There were days when I made cuts of bells and whistles in order to be able to afford the no-VOC paints and natural countertop materials. But no one made more cuts than my dear husband. And because of this, I saw our marriage with a whole new set of eyes.
Obstacles, and growing stronger because of them
We found out halfway through our build that we were more than $50,000 above our initial budget. We blamed others and each other. We got frustrated. I even shed a few tears. I am pretty sure at one point I might have said “forget this, just sell it.” But my husband, in his infinite wisdom and his eternal optimism, reassured me that everything would be alright!
(A little background…my husband works 40-60 hours a week as a firefighter, along with side jobs like coaching varsity soccer. We also have two teenagers and one German shepherd, and I run two start-up businesses. So in my narrow perspective, I was positive there was no way we could make this work).
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. ~Proverbs 24:3-4
The hard working man that my husband is spent every free moment he had installing floors, painting, making trim, etc. He even went that extra step to teach our fourteen-year-old son how to create beauty out of wood by building a gorgeous (natural) butcher block island for me.
Through this process I developed a whole new appreciation for the man I married ten years ago. I was okay being weak and vulnerable with him through this process. Through this we became closer. Out of necessity we enhanced our communication skills. We learned where each other’s limits were.
And we learned about our needs in our marriage.
We called time-outs on house talk during date night. We gave each other the grace to not be perfect with things like nutrition, exercise, parenting, and beauty grooming (I am not sure when my last haircut was!) We also learned to divide and conquer. He took the tasks that frustrated me, and I took the tasks that were time-consuming (like the hundreds of trips to Home Depot). Oh, on that note, may I make the suggestion to NOT use the Home Depot order and pick up option until they work the kinks out because right now it takes more time to use this time “saving” option.
We learned patience. So much patience…and luckily only once had to be a patient because of a house related injury! We built a house during the freak snow storm of 2018! We had delays for over a month because of this beautiful freeze that graced our city. We learned that mother nature always wins, so no point in trying to fight it.
While there are times I will swear that I will never build a house again, I am eternally grateful for how this process has strengthened our marriage. There were days I thought it would break us, but instead we learned through many honest conversations (some at high volumes) that communication and the ability to admit when we were wrong were essential. We also learned to be humble and to value what was important and to let go of what was not.
One of my favorite things we did was blessing our home with our children. The contractors were in awe with finding bible verses all over the house. Those that also walked in Christian faith were so blown away by the strong messages that my kids wrote in their rooms. I truly feel that creating this foundation is what created this experience and strength in our marriage and in our family.
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. ~Proverbs 9:1