What a DIY Project Taught Me About Marriage

Photo by S. Caspersen

In the past, my husband and I have rarely had enough free time to do a fun building project together. But nowadays, we seem to have a little more time on our hands.

We recently repurposed a kitchen cabinet into a free loaning library.

We visited our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store and found an oak cabinet in great condition. We already had a 4X4 post salvaged from a construction site and paint from a recent update of our front door. All that was needed was the brackets to mount the library box to the stand and a piece of plywood to build a base.

Friends provided the plywood, even cutting it to specification but then we realized we needed a roof, a piece of corrugated tin to protect against the rain. Back to Habitat, where we found the perfect piece, the right size, and shape.

So, here is where the marriage lesson comes in.

Just to let you in on a little personal secret, I’m a bit of a control freak. For some reason, I like doing things MY way and I also have a tendency to think My way is the right way – can anyone out there relate to what I’m sharing? These tendencies have worked for me in my professional career but in marriage, not so much. Well actually, if I’m fully transparent, they worked most of the time in my work world.    

But for this DIY project, I am working shoulder to shoulder with this man I love dearly and he is an opinionated person. He comes with life experiences, building experience; let’s just say he knows his way around a tool.

I brought to the project my best plans. They worked great on paper but didn’t quite pan-out in practice. And my man just waited, stood patiently letting me stray down rabbit holes, foxholes, manholes – I think you get the picture. Then he patiently redirected my efforts pointing me to a path that allowed us to be successful.

We had great discussions about anchor screws, bolt directions, one shelf or two, and repeated chats about spots I had missed when painting. The conversations continued until the final library box was installed in our front yard. Books loaded, adult on the top shelf, children’s on the second, and magazines tucked neatly in a basket below. We stepped back, marveled at our work, gave a high-five, and smiled.

I had come with my plans, my way. Yet, it took us working together, communicating, compromising, and flexing for us to reach success.

Mother Teresa reminds us,

You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.

Together we can renovate a kitchen cabinet into a lending library.

Together we can face any challenge the world presents.

Together we can challenge perspectives, grow, and build relationship.

Together isn’t only found in marriage.

Together can be found in a best friend or a family member. Someone you can build a deep sustaining relationship. Someone that loves you enough to tell you when your plan won’t work and gently guide you to another way.   

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 The Message Bible (MSG)

Through a simple building project, I learned a profound lesson – marriage was never meant to do alone. I also learned my husband has some serious carpentry skills – who knew!

Be Blessed,


From kitchen cabinet to loaning library, marriage intact!

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