"Our Home Renovation Is Wrecking Our Marriage"

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His Turn, continued

"She was a beautiful brunette who caught my eye on her first day. I was too shy to ask her out, so I was thrilled that she invited me to a dance. Within a few months I was in love. Colleen is outgoing, spontaneous, and always up for new experiences, whereas I'm a quiet homebody who sticks to what I know -- ordering the same entrees at my favorite restaurant and listening to the same music again and again. Our personalities complemented each other's, and I liked the way she helped me expand my horizons.

"As she said, we loved renovating our first house 15 years ago. I'm proud of the work we did together -- she helped tear down plaster and paint -- and the projects I did myself. I mean, how many people can say they built their own garage? It's an ego thing. I feel confident and successful when I take on a difficult mechanical project and then complete it to perfection. If I don't have a project going, I feel lazy.

"I was excited about remodeling this house, but so much still needs to be done. If I'd had more time and money, the first floor would've been finished by now, and the addition would be a work in progress -- not just a design. Colleen seems to think the answer is outside help, but that will only create more problems. I hired a few contractors with our first house and then redid their work because it didn't meet my standards. Plus, as a one-income family, we can't afford to pay other people. Not only are we trying to replenish the nest egg we drained during my unemployment, but we're also way behind on retirement and college savings. If Colleen earned a full-time salary, I'd be less nervous about paying contractors, but I'd still have concerns about the workmanship.

"Although Colleen and I have fundamentally different personalities, we both have trouble expressing our feelings. I love Colleen, but she's become cold and distant. I can't remember the last time I heard her laugh. Hopefully, counseling can help us learn to communicate better and make some smart decisions about the house."

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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