My hubby and I love to do projects. Big or little, there is also something going on. Our problem is actually finishing a project before we start another one. I know not all couples enjoy working together (and honestly maybe shouldn’t), but for us it has definitely strengthened our relationship.
We’ve done little projects, like making a crafty-looking vase for our bathroom.
And major projects, like a complete gut rehab of our second floor.
And then plenty of in-between projects like the bunk beds we made.
As we were working on the bunk beds we were commenting to each other how much we enjoy working together and how blessed we felt. But then several weeks later we were helping a friend with one of her projects (gut bathroom remodel) and it was not the same experience. We were on edge with each other and making snippy remarks. So what was the difference?
We are willing to listen to each others ideas and we don’t hesitate to question one another. It’s not taken personal. A lot of times our concerns are not valid, but there have been instances that we have caught one another from making a mistake or have simplified the process or have come up with an idea to make it even better.
We are both willing to be the assistant. Sometimes I take the lead and have him hand me things. Sometimes he takes the lead and I stand there and look pretty (and hold the board steady).
We give each other the freedom to make mistakes. On the bunk bed, there was one board that my hubby cut the wrong length. Too short. Kinda difficult to put that back on. Instead of getting frustrated with him, I assured him that it wasn’t a big deal and that we would just use that one in a different spot and I would go buy an additional board. And then when I miscalculated and bought the wrong length of board for the shelves, he assured me that it wasn’t a big deal and we ended up patching in a piece (that only my older son would ever see).
So, why were we having problem at our friend’s house?
It started with miscommunication. I thought he needed something, so I left and went to the store to get it, only to come back and he had moved forward without it and looked at me confused when I was telling him that I got what he needed. So the frustration started right off the bat.
Even though it wasn’t my house it very much felt like my project and I was the one giving direction. This particular day though there were other people helping and not room for me to be in there. I know that I have the freedom to tell my hubby if something needs to be done a certain way, not quite so easy to tell others. And unfortunately I felt like this was because I’m a woman and should not be telling men how to do “manly” projects. Now, I’m in NO WAY saying that they behaved in such a way to make me feel that way. I put that on myself, but it made me angry and stirred up all these resentments within myself that I of course blamed my hubby for (and the church, but that is a different topic for a different day).
And then, when there was something that had been done “wrong” I got all upset again and felt justified in my resentments. If I had been in there, this would not have happened. Now to be completely honest, this “wrong” was so utterly minor, it was truly a non-issue. But I was not quick to let it and go and assure him. Instead I felt the need to point it out and complain that it wasn’t done correctly.
We of course talked about the major cloud of tension that was occupying the space between us. We talked about why I was peeved and what the deeper issue was. Because let’s be honest, so often what gets us all riled up is not even the real problem. So ultimately we walked away having an even greater understanding of the other. Marriage is great.
Yes, we enjoy doing projects together, but maybe this doesn’t work for you and your spouse. Maybe for you it’s being able to play together, or have a shared passion or hobby. The key is to have something to share, that is challenging, and results in both of you growing closer to each other.