You wouldn't think so but being a landscaper Kurt has an open window into people's marriage. And I am sure this is true with any profession that takes you into a client's house to decide how to spend money. People act different in their own homes than they do in public, obviously. The comfort level is much higher so they tend to let their true (or at least, truer) colors show.
From deciding which elements to put in a yard, to how to spend the allotted budget, and all the way through the actual construction phase, Kurt gets a front row seat on how couples work together. And we have used this to our advantage for years.
Some couples listen to each other. They compromise, they plan, they respect each other. They communicate really well.
Some couples do not. They criticize, they don't listen, they are just down right rude to each other. And they don't communicate worth beans. Kurt does not like working with these couples. It makes the job no fun at all.
One couple just wanted to argue and get Kurt on their side. They wouldn't even listen to each other. They just kept saying to Kurt "don't you think this is better?" or "don't you think this would look nicer?" Each one just wanted to win. It was very sad. And that was just during the first meeting. We ended up not doing their job because they couldn't stop arguing on what elements they wanted in their yard and it wasn't a job we wanted to pursue so we didn't.
Kurt comes home and will say "I really like how they worked together" or "I really like how they worked things out" or "they really listened to each other". Kurt loves working with these couples. He especially likes the older couples that are so sweet to each other. He says "I hope we are just like them when we get older."
Or he will come home and say "man, they were just mean to each other" or "that was really awkward" or "I don't even want to do their job." This year we had a job for a couple like this. It was horrible the whole time. The couple didn't communicate at all with each other so the husband would tell us to do something a particular way and then the wife would come home and freak out about it and then we would get a nasty phone call about how horrible we were. It was brutal. Kurt finally told them that both spouses have to be present when making decisions so there would be no miscommunication. It got a little better but they still were no fun to work with. They even overpaid us by thousands of dollars because they didn't let each other know that one had already paid for something. Lucky for them, we are honest and gave it back but it would just be interesting to know if they ever would have figured it out.
So that is how we have gotten years of free marriage counseling. Kurt has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. We aim for the good.