The Golnicks Move in Relationship

We were settled and comfortable in our rental home for nearly eight years, yet we harbored a longing to build one more house custom-designed for our particular tastes and needs.

February 8, 2022

During the holiday season of 2019, our oldest daughter, Kirsten, and her husband Grant invited us to build a cottage in their backyard. Wow! They gave us the land to build our dream cottage. We jumped at the offer, and so began our moving adventure.

Our previous homes were large. From a house of 3000 sq ft, we downsized to one with 1500 sq ft. This home could not exceed 950 sq we could get a permit to build. 

Lon started drawing plans immediately. He loves to do that. Try this, no, how about that, what if we did this other thing.  He was entertained for hours. Once we were happy, we hired an architect to move our wishlist into a buildable reality. Ground was broken in April 2021 and we moved in December 18, 2021. What a ride.

Decisions, decisions, decisions! What materials and colors did we want for the inside, outside, kitchen, bathroom, windows and doors, roof? We had a timeline that was a bit of a joke, as contractors all had to dance with each other and supplies were often delayed. As the clock ticked, prices soared, a result of the building materials supply chain breakdown during the pandemic.  

What should we take to the new house? What do we let go?

We had to agree on all those decisions, or nothing would happen. Now, you may think we were perfectly aligned on every question that arose. No such luck. So many times we confronted that in our relationship there are two points of view that collided.

I tried all my tricks of manipulation: be nice and agreeable, be open, be understanding, and (look) willing to give Lon his way, be self-sacrificing, be a martyr.  

Sometimes I would try to get our daughters on my side to convince Lon he was wrong, or should do it MY way. Luckily, our daughters didn’t buy it, and often suggested great alternatives that we could align on.  

To downsize yet again, we had to purge a lot of stuff.  When it came to getting rid of furniture, we got into the game of selling it and had a great time together. Harder-to-part-with items – books, pictures, personal memorabilia – called for us to surrender to the future we were designing and to give up our attachment to the past.  

December was showtime. Finishing touches on the house proceeded side-by-side with packing boxes, giving away stuff, and living between a construction site and a packing zone. Our stress level rose to the danger zone when I had to give away our treasured Christmas decorations. “Not those gorgeous tablecloths we got in Cabo, please,” I wailed. “Not the plates we painted with our grandchildren by the pool in Los Cabos every year,” I moaned. I felt like my past was being trashed along with it all..

Had you been listening in, you might have heard some raised voices and choice language from time to time.  

But we let go of our upsets,restoring our loving connection as soon as we noticed it was in peril. For us, our love and commitment to each other was way more compelling than anything we were arguing about. We are in this for Life, not for stuff..

Today, sitting in our beautiful new tiny home, we are grateful and at peace. Living right beside our daughter is a blessing for us, for her, for the whole family. We are taking care of each other..

Thank you Grant and Kirsten for making Grant’s Cottage (as we named it) possible.  

~ Sandy

More To Read

Find out more about relationship.



“You Are SO Exasperating!”

Do you ever find yourself really exasperated in a relationship—at home or at work? What do you think produces that exasperation?




The Mathematics of Relationship

To have a fulfilling relationship (the 1), you must be willing to uncover the concerns, the expectations and the focus of the 1 X 1 together.




Connecting: Grief and Love in Community

Carol and Paul are sending this reflection on the Exploring Extraordinary Relationship workshop that took place last month.




Misunderstandings in Relationships

Misunderstandings as a function of not listening




How Does Relationship By Design Compare With Other Transformational Work?

What distinguishes Relationship By Design?




Hard Conversations

Did you ever wonder what might make a conversation seem “hard?”