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16 July 2015

The Challenge That Will Truly Test Even The Strongest of Relationships

There is one event that comes along that will seriously test even the most stable relationships. If you can make it through this test, you can make it through anything. Many couples don't survive. Those who do, will never be the same. A very select few make it through unscathed. 

I'm of course talking about your first trip as a couple to Ikea. 

You walk in with your significant other, hand-in-hand, all smiles. Some couples though, unknowingly, have already screwed up before their car even finds the parking lot. These are the couples that have planned on eating at Ikea. 

Pro Tip: Eat before arriving at Ikea. 

"But Sarah, their meatballs!!" No. The cafeteria at Ikea is located in the middle of the store. Meaning you have to make it through round 1, the staging area, before ever arriving at a meatball. Planning on eating at Ikea is a classic rookie mistake. They sell the meatballs in a frozen pack to go, buy those instead. 

CB and I made our first serious trip to Ikea over the weekend. I say serious, because our first time there didn't really count. We had no intention of buying anything, alas, not a true test of our strength as a couple. It's all fun and games when you're strolling through Ikea playing make believe. You sit on couches, you marvel at the prices, you don't think about getting it home or building anything, you don't take 4 trillion pictures of red aisle/bin tags.... heck, you can casually even eat the meatballs. But when it is time to buy, it's a different ball game. 

We of course ate at Jimmy Johns before we arrived. This ain't my first rodeo. 

We managed to zoom through the couches, coffee tables, storage units and entertainment centers before we had our first real challenge. If I were a TV producer I would have a reality show that simply followed couples through Ikea. Kind of like wipeout, only cabinet drawers bust out of no where to punch you in the gut. 

Our first challenge came in the kitchen section when I began opening every last drawer and cabinet that said "peek inside." As I mentioned here, we have a serious organizational challenge on our hands, you never know what is inside each drawer. CB kept his cool, and even joined in the fun after seeing that one of the cabinets contained a trash can holder that rolled in and out with ease. Neat. 

In round one, we managed to choose a bed we both agreed on, picked out dressers with the intention that CB would build and I would IKEA hack, survived a potential hiccup when I spent 45 minutes trying to choose between a high gloss white desk and a plain white desk (big decisions here people) and quite literally sprinted through the children's section to complete round one. 

Round two, the marketplace, was a breeze. A breeze that I'll take all the credit for. Being the single girl apartment dweller, I know Ikea's shortcuts like Lisa Turtle knows every mall from here to Tijuana. Grab a yellow bag, make a quick stop at bedding, browse kitchen quickly to see if there is anything you must have or will die, plan to spend time in the bathroom section since that isn't part of round 1 and shortcut past lighting, picture frames and flowers without passing go or collecting $200. 

Round two, complete. If memory serves me right, I *think* we even arrived at round 3 holding hands. 

Round 3, the warehouse. Round 3 separates the men from the boys. CB pulled out the flatbed cart and we were on our way to aisle 28, bin 12. His cart wouldn't roll straight, I could see the irritation trying to crawl on his face as he was forced to push left in an effort to go straight. As I looked around, not a soul was smiling. Couples had their arms crossed, giving their partners looks that would kill. 

As we walked down aisle 28, I pictured us walking in slow motion to our final fear factor challenge where we'd have to hold our breath underwater for 17 minutes.... or arrange 48 boxes, all different shapes and sizes, on a flatbed.... so, same thing. 

One extra flatbed, 13 boxes clearly filled with solid bricks, 4 giant "I'm getting really effing fed up right now," groans and 2 furry $12 rugs that kept sliding off the sides of the flatbed later we were ready to check out. We chose the longest line. This was it. Would we make it?!

After we loaded the last box in the bed of CB's truck, we high-fived.... WHILE SMILING!!!! We did it. We are the American Dream. 

*As this story went to press, CB and Sarah broke up 12 minutes in to building the first dresser.*



  1. I think I've told you this (maybe) but I've NEVER been to Ikea. EVER. it's weird. I need to change that. But I'm also (rightly so) terrified. WAY TO GO.

  2. I don't know about IKEA yet, but I'm hoping the "buying a bed" challenge won't be a disaster for us this weekend. Yikes.

  3. Love this! And for those you haven't been there it is truly like this!! All smiles going in but going out is another story!

  4. a trip to Ikea is ABSOLUTELY a relationship litmus test! it's definitely (still, nearly seven years on) a challenge for us, but I knew Jon was right for me when he pointed at a show kitchen in Ikea on our first trip there together and said, "Now that's an aspirational kitchen." BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

  5. love Ikea, Just hate how you have to building everything

  6. LOL, we don't have an IKEA, and for that my husband is very thankful! :D

  7. I would just like to point out/attest to the accuracy of this warning/statement/assertion/FACT and that it works across the board. This is exactly how it was when I was married to a dude, and this is how it goes with my girlfriend of two years.

    Full disclosure: I live (literally) 2.7 miles from an Ikea that I have to pass twice a day on my way to and from work, and it is quite possibly like, my second-most favorite store ever. So this theory is tested A LOT by me. I have total legitimacy with this one.

    1. What is your first favorite store though???? If you can make it through an ikea shopping trip, it's love. Plain and simple.

  8. I'm 'literally' laughing SO hard at this!!!!!! Its so true!

  9. As soon as I saw the beginning of this post, I knew it had something to do with IKEA. It really is the devil for a relationship. My now husband and I moved in together a few years ago and bought a bunch of IKEA stuff. By 8pm one evening, we had basically assembled everything and we hadn't fought once. I was quite impressed with us. But of course, we unknowingly saved the worst piece of furniture for last and by 9pm we left the thing half assembled with doors on backwards in the middle of our living room. Thank goodness we still lived separately at this time, otherwise I'm not sure we would have made it to marriage. I came back the next day to a completely put together entertainment center. My uncle was there that night helping fix some stuff and heard the argument, then saw us leave not speaking to each other. I guess he realized we were going to be doomed if we had to try again. GOOD LUCK!!!

  10. I'm pretty sure if Chris and I went to Ikea, we would break up before we even walked through the front doors.

  11. Haha ohhhh I'm dreading this for us in about two month, too! Ugh, bittersweet!

  12. this is so true. now imagine going with your boyfriend who just moved 5 minutes away from you and farther away from his family, and his sister, and his mother who you've only met like once before. i had to keep whispering to him "stop asking my opinion, ask your mother's!!" but he wasn't getting it, because of course he'd want his stylish girlfriend's opinion over his mother's. but i was so willing to have his apt look terrible just to please her and make the trip go as smoothly as possible. Ikea is already exhausting, i didn't need future MIL to resent me.

    also, i hate how Ikea is so big you don't realize how many people are there until you've already spent 3+ hours in the store bickering and you come to the checkout line. where did all those people come from??? why doesn't Ikea have every register and then some open on a Sunday afternoon??

  13. I lived this experience a couple weeks ago. Literally word for word haha. I think there needs to be a Part 2 because we all know setting up the Ikea furniture is a challenge all on it's own and I could imagine CB having a similar reaction as my husbands with his "what do these pictures even mean!?" statements.

  14. I LOL'ed reading this. Oh IKEA.

  15. I've never been to ikea :(((
    I would love to go, but I never have a reason too.

  16. Oh! So much fun to read. I love Ikea!

  17. Funny article!:) Ikea is like the place everyone must go to. I would like to go there with all my friends from trust essay writing service in order to get more positive emotions.

  18. Navigating Ikea is bad enough, but the building of the furnature is where they get you. That will truly test any relationship and could be a deal breaker. In about 2 weeks, I will be avoiding Ikea with all that is holy - college starts soon and will be covered with students.

  19. I LOVE Ikea! I took my hubby for the first time a few weeks ago, and we miraculously survived, but that might have been because we didn't buy anything. I would like to add an asterisk to your comment about the Ikea cafeteria, I think it depends on your store's layout. At our's, the cafeteria is right when you walk in and go up the escalator. So we did round 1, ate lunch in the cafeteria (I finally had the meatballs after 3 trips), then round 2 (cheap picture frames, score!), and we did recon in the warehouse (gotta make sure the boxes fit in our vehicle when we come back later to buy).

    We'll see how we do next time when we make a larger purchase. My best piece of advice, if you make it to the checkout alive, buy some of the Ikea cinnamon rolls. That'll save any relationship.

  20. this is so hilarious and so true. my husband has never been and keeps thing its a good idea because he's "heard big things" but I'm not sure I'm ready to take our marriage to that level yet!

  21. I know that look at the end of IKEA, but GAry and I NEVER fight in Ikea. Home Depot on the other hand. I love IKEA.

  22. Lol!! Now I need to grab my boyfriend and get this trip over with to see if we're REALLY meant to be.

    US Lifestyle Blog //

  23. I couldn't stop laughing the entire time that I was reading this, you are absolutely right! Xo, Stephanie

  24. This is a good post. You are right. What is happening between a couple. You write it as interesting one. I am always busy in my life like the work How to write an essay in English. I cant enjoy my life very well.


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