I am sort of obsessed with HGTV. I an awed by the creativity and thought process of the design professionals. They are able to see a vision in their head, and then make that idea come to life. I am also intrigued by the interpersonal dynamic of the couples purchasing a home. I like to see how they interact, compromise, and get through difficult situations. Because of this, I feel that pre-marriage counseling should be in the form of a home show.
It would start with the host/real estate agent giving the engaged couple some fake money in order to purchase a house. The catch is- they give them 10% less than what houses can be purchased for in their desired neighborhood that match their exact criteria. We then move on to Stage 1- short answers.
Step 1:What type of house does the couple want? If they’re both craftsman, they can move on to step 2. If not: Can a sleek contemporary marry a cozy Victorian? Will she go crazy when he uses her doily as a dust rag? Will he go crazy when his marble console table is overrun with frog statues? Can a two story colonial be content with a ranch?
Step 2 Closet space. Has one partner already claimed the master closet? Has the other partner commented more than once about the number of shoes owned?
Step 3 Open concept. How does partner A react when B says…”I know this looks like its a load bearing wall, but just imagine if this wall didn’t exist. Look how open it would be! How much could it cost to take down this wall?”
Step 4 The backyard. Partner A says “How hard could it be to maintain a five acre, sloping yard? Look how much room for entertaining.” What does B think about mowing a hill? And entertaining large crowds?
Step 5 Color. “OMG look at that gorgeous shade of yellow in the living room! I’ve always dreamt about living in a room that looks like the sun” says A. B, dressed in black, thinks what?
So now the couple has completed the first stage of pre-marital counseling. If they still want to get married, we move them onto Stage 2- the practical exam.
Step 1 Begin by making the couple share a single vanity bathroom for a week. Frankly, if they can survive sharing a sink , they can face any obstacle life throws at them.
Step 2 Then let them renovate the bathroom together. Have them remove toilet and trail toilet excess throughout house. Have one partner accidentally break tub, the only thing they were keeping from the bathroom. Let them miscalculate how much tile they need, and after laying it down, let them realize they are lacking tiles to complete job. Then tell them tiles are now backordered for 8 weeks.
Step 3 Let them hire a contractor to fix kitchen. Have contractor work for a week, enough time to take everything out, then have contractor not come back for two weeks.
This would be the end of stage two. If the couple survived this, they are lucky enough to make it to Stage 3-timed reading.
Purchase five items of assemble yourself furniture, including a bookshelf that must be secured to a wall. Leave them in middle of floor. Place instructions in front of them. Give them one hour to complete. Use of internet or phone a friend not allowed.
I firmly believe this form of pre-marital counseling would help you decide if your partner is indeed your soul mate. If you could make it through this, you can survive anything.