In The Federalist, Neal Dewing explains how he uses woodworking as a helpful method of getting through certain marital disputes:
There comes a time in every marriage when a man finds himself banished from his lady’s bedchamber for some perceived offense. A trifle, nonsense in most cases, but God help you if you argue with her until she realizes you’re right (which, of course, you usually are). If you successfully dispute her irrational arguments, the trap is sprung and she’ll proceed to catalogue every single one of your past lapses. At this point, my friend, you’ve entered what we in the marriage game like to refer to as
the normal state of thingsa dry spell.
The most important thing to remember about dry spells is that they happen to everyone. This is the case even if you have married an infinitely patient woman who doesn’t find fault in every piddling thing you do and certainly never expects you to tidy up the bathroom counter every day, because she knows fully well you’re just going to use all that stuff again so it just doesn’t make sense.
Any man who sticks to his guns will experience a dry spell sooner or later, but there are ways to cope. In fact, it can be a tremendous opportunity for self-improvement.
What better activity for a man with some unanticipated free time than carpentry? There are few better ways to relieve stress than taking a length of wood into your hands and manipulating it until you’ve achieved the desired result. It can really clear your head. With a few practical guidelines you’ll be up to speed and navigating dry spells with practiced ease.
The first order of business is to identify a project. For this exercise, we’ll go with something fairly easy that will take up some time. You like to sit around, as your wife never fails to tell people loudly enough for you to overhear. So how about a bench? I’ll run you through the steps of this basic woodworking project, which should be enough to carry you through until she works up the nerve to apologize.
Step 1: Materials
It’s important to have all your materials in place before beginning. You can obtain these from a lumberyard or one of the big home improvement stores.
- (1) 2×10
- (2) 8’ of 2×2
- (2) 8’ of 1×4
- (2) 2×4
- Wooden dowels
- Wood screws (1.5” & 3” length)
- Paint or oil-based stain
You’ll also need some tools. If you are missing a few of these, go borrow one from an older neighbor. He’ll have them. He’s been there. Plus, at this point you should take advantage of any excuse to get out of the house.
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw or compound miter saw
- Swanson® Speed® square
- 2 sawhorses
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
Depending on how much time you spent
hidingplanning, visiting the lumberyard, and jawing with the neighbor, you may well have eaten up most of a day. Don’t feel like you need to finish this up in an afternoon. She probably hasn’t let it go yet, knowing her, even though this is obviously a ridiculous thing for her to be mad about.
You can pick this up tomorrow. Have a beer. Stay strong.