A Wall Street Journal article this week questioned, “Can Your Relationship Handle IKEA?” IKEA, a popular, Swedish furniture retailer, has stores across the United States and three in the Metropolitan D.C. area. For those who have not shopped at IKEA, furniture purchased at the store typically comes in flat boxes and requires assembly. IKEA typically packs its boxes with a small Allen wrench which someone in Sweden apparently believes is the one tool you need to build its furniture, no matter what you are building, or how large it is. The company also includes instructions with its furniture that, supposedly, anyone worldwide can understand. (I, personally, have never been able to comprehend IKEA’s instructions, even with 19 years of education. It’s all Swedish to me.) Although people love the look and design of the furniture, It turns out that shopping at IKEA and building its furniture does not, however, lead to marital bliss.
The Journal reported a study where 46 percent of couples responded that they found the experience of remodeling their home “frustrating” and an incredible 12 percent of those surveyed admitted that they considered separation or divorce during the renovation and remodeling process. While those surveyed don’t only shop at IKEA, a major stressor among couples is building furniture, a common requirement for IKEA shoppers. The Journal also noted that seventeen percent of people surveyed reported that they always got into arguments when assembling furniture. Thus, nearly one in five couples who buys furniture at IKEA that requires assembly is likely to get into an argument while they are building their new wall unit or bookcase with the little Allen wrench provided by IKEA. And, apparently a good number of those people are going to think about separating or divorce during that argument. Perhaps a key word in my Google advertising should be “IKEA”. If you don’t need my services before you go furniture shopping, there’s a twenty percent chance either you or your spouse is going to want to talk to me after that experience.
What does this mean for you? Understand that renovation and remodeling projects and building furniture are a source of stress and conflict for couples and communicate with your spouse to avoid conflict during these projects. You may even want to consider having one spouse build the furniture while the other is out. Or, better yet, as I have come to do, hire someone to build the furniture that you buy. It will spare you a lot of frustration and marital strain. Or, if you are a frustrated IKEA shopper now looking for a divorce attorney: 301-444-4660.