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  • Writer's pictureHRC

Can your relationship pass the IKEA test?

Originally published on The Big Smoke

I think we can all agree that relationships can be difficult. Most of us may already know of some of the strains that can be placed upon relationships, such as infidelity, financial pressures, distance and parenting. We now can add another stressor to that list, IKEA.

Psychology expert Ramani Durvasula from Santa Monica, California, has said of IKEA “The store literally becomes a road map of relationship nightmares.” Durvasula has warned that the stress of a visit to an IKEA store or an attempt to assemble one of their products can cause serious friction between couples.

A report by CivicScience states that 17 per cent of couples confessed that they would argue every time they assembled furniture together. This has become such an issue that some counsellors and psychologists are now offering furniture assembly in their therapy sessions.

These findings may sound a little silly, perhaps trivial at first but as a relationship counsellor and recent home renovator, I understand that the struggles are real! My husband and I recently renovated a property together. We completely tore apart and rebuilt the interior of a four bedroom home. We worked together for 16 hours a day for 6 weeks. As a couple that has never had a fight or a serious argument in our whole relationship, we were tested.

There is no space more personal than the one in which you live. I want my living space to look the way I want and my husband wants it to look the way he wants. When you share a space with another person who has different tastes to you, it becomes an exercise in negotiations and compromise.

Building anything with another person requires a certain level of team work and patience. Generally speaking, my husband and I approach building tasks differently. I will more often than not start by researching, watching “how to” tutorials or reading instructions. My husband often sees the raw materials and feels that he has pretty good idea of how they go together. He begins the task while I am still performing a stock take, making sure we have all the required parts and tools to begin. From the start, the building project has begun on the wrong foot. The team is already split and the tension begins to rise.

If you want to put your relationship to the ultimate test, perhaps take a trip to your local IKEA. Just attempting to navigate your way through the store can be an emotional journey in itself and highlight any issues facing a couple. Just try battling the crowds and walk through the store together, at the same pace while stopping to allow each other the time to look at all the products each of you would like. Can you feel your body tensing up at the mere thought?

You haven’t even begun to assemble any products yet!

So how does a couple survive home renovations and furniture assembly? I have a simple suggestion that may help. If you must build things together then keep it in perspective. If you don’t have to build things together or you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it. Whoever came up with the idea that couples need to do everything together is simply insane…or has perhaps never visited an IKEA store.

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