I have a pretty strong suspicion that this topic is one that many, many couples struggle with! Once upon a time, I, myself, was once a victim of “WeCan’tAgreeSoWeDon’tDoAnything-itis”. 😀
I’m certainly no expert in human relationships, but maybe you will find it helpful if I tell you how Pookie and I have learned to resolve our decorating differences. Let me tell you – it was quite entertaining to “interview” Pookie for this article.
TIP #1 : EVERYBODY CAN’T ALWAYS BE THE CHIEF
This one kind of smacked us in the face early in our marriage. Someone has to have the “authority” to make the final decision. If not, you’ll either be stuck and do nothing – or if you force the situation, one (or both) of you may wind up feeling hurt, angry and/or resentful.
We both have different passions – mine is interior design and Pookie’s is all things cars. So, the basic agreement that works for us is that when it comes to the cars, yard and exterior of our home, Pookies gets 60% of the vote and I get 40%. When it comes to making decisions about the interior of our home, I get the 60% and Pookie gets the 40%. Pookie and I agree that having this agreement is one of the best things that we’ve done as a couple, when it comes to decisions about our home and cars.
Pookie weighs in: I recognize that the design of the interior of the house matters more to Suzy than to me. I do care and have an opinion about it, but it isn’t my passion. BUT – when it comes to cars, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I’m joking – sort of.
TIP #2: BE RESPECTFUL OF ONE ANOTHER
When having a disagreement, one of the biggest challenges that I think many couples face, is to not let our feelings and emotions get the upper hand. Remember that HE isn’t wrong and neither are YOU! It’s simply a matter of each of us having our own opinions and likes and dislikes. Try not to take the difference of opinion personally and be respectful of the other person’s preference. (I’m preaching to the choir here, btw. 😀 )
Pookie weighs in: There are times when we both have a strong opinion about what should be done, which for us, can lead to frustration, anger and bickering. When that happens, we walk away to “neutral corners” for a few hours (or days), then come back together for more discussion when we’ve both calmed down.
TIP #3: RECOGNIZE THAT YOU’RE DIFFERENT GENDERS – BY NATURE YOU’LL APPROACH THINGS DIFFERENTLY
Oh boy, this one took me a looong time to realize and then ultimately accept! Bottom line – a man’s brain is wired differently than a woman’s. We communicate and express ourselves differently. (You should have been here when we were discussing the board and batten treatment that we just added to our foyer. Talk about communication differences!) I realize this is a generalization and there are various degrees of these differences, but overall, I believe this can have a huge impact on most of our decision making in all aspects of life.
Pookie weighs in: When it comes to design, my desires are heavily influenced by the cost, functionality and engineering behind the design. My preferences are more minimalistic and less farmhouse than Suzy’s. However – I love log cabin style! I love rustic, stone, wood leather and carved bear statues. Oh yeah – fewer pillows!!
Suzy’s view: Me? I’d love to throw all those annoying concerns out the window. I just want it to be pretty!
TIP #4: BE PATIENT!
Don’t try to rush an agreement. I’ve found that using inspiration photos from Pinterest often does a better job of getting my idea across than me trying to explain it. Surprisingly, Pookie can’t read my mind and the see the end result that I have in my head. Give the other person time to mull your idea over and think about it.
Pookie weighs in: When it comes to choosing colors, I only have eight crayons in my box, but Suzy has sixty-four! To me, gray is gray, but to Suzy, gray is griege, gray is taupe, gray is blue-gray, etc. Then there’s light gray, dark gray, charcoal gray…you get the picture. We’ve learned that to resolve our disagreements over color choices, we should try lots of different samples and live with them for several days or weeks. We’ve always been able to find a good compromise, that we’re both happy with that way.
Suzy’s view: He’s right! If it were up to me, the entire interior of our home would be painted some shade of gray. Pookie didn’t agree, so the compromise was to find a beige paint color that had gray undertones. We lived with a wall of large paint samples for weeks until we found one that we could agree on! BTW – we wound up using Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige throughout our home. Glad you resisted me on that one, Pookie!
TIP #5: BUT, WHAT IF YOU JUST CAN’T AGREE?
Well…first of all, refer back to tips 1, 2 and 3. I recommend having discussions that have nothing to do with a specific project, but will lead to a general agreement between the two on you of how to handle disagreements when they happen. Trust me – unless you are an exception to the rule – there will be disagreements about what to do inside your home!
Pookie weighs in: Suzy is much more concerned with form over function, unless she realizes that considering the function is a requirement. When I don’t agree with her design opinion, my first tactic is to remind her of the cost and why I believe her idea is impractical. I’m an engineer, so I don’t have the creative brain that Suzy does. Ultimately, she has 60% of the vote, so there’s always that.
Suzy’s view: Yes, I use my 60% voting power frequently, but I always try to consider your ideas. You often have good suggestions, if I just listen! When you truly have a strong opposing opinion about something, I do my best to find a compromise instead of going forward with my idea anyway. The wall behind the desk in our home office is a good example. I wanted a burlap covered bulletin board and nailheads around the border. You weren’t keen on that idea at all! The compromise was the vintage mail sorter that I think we both love.
Well, that’s our take on how we handle our home design disagreements. We aren’t perfect, but we try our best to honor that 60/40 agreement that we made! Do you have any suggestions for how you handle disagreements over your home?