We’ve come to the last week of June (traditionally a very popular month for weddings) – and, perhaps not so coincidentally, the end of the ongoing saga of marital advice for Rob (who is tying the knot in September). He did ask for it.
Some of that marriage advice was specifically focused on woodworkers. First, tools. – Editor
“I guess I’m one of those woodworkers with a ‘freakishly low divorce rate.’ I’ve been married to one woman for 54 years and she supports my woodworking habit 100 percent. She has even urged me to buy some tools that were so expensive I wouldn’t have done so on my own! I call her SWBMT: She Who Buys Me Tools.” – Don Butler
“I read once that the top two causes of divorce in America are infidelity and finances. The former is your responsibility, but with respect to finances, work on a financial plan together. Make sure the two of you are on the same page financially. Specifically, if the budget calls for a workshop allowance of $1,000 a quarter, make sure she buys into that also.” – Steve W. Cooke
“For me, it has been about communication. Not that I always say the right thing; I just know how to backpedal quickly if I have touched a raw nerve. I have built a damn good workshop by saying, ‘Honey, if you want me to build that I need to buy a [fill-in-the-blank] piece of equipment.’ Thirty-eight years of wedded bliss, and going strong.” – Bob Andree
“Give her the key to your heart, the PIN for your bank card, and keep a lock on your mouth. Oh, and when you need new tools, tell her you can’t build her Christmas present without them! Congratulations and good luck to you both!” – Ed De Mott
Then, projects. – Editor
“Very simple: put God first, your wife second, your children third, your church fourth, yourself fifth and your work sixth. Do things for her that don’t cost money; i.e., hide little love notes where you know she’ll find them, have special radio announcement for her on her birthday and anniversaries, etc. Don’t overspend on gifts for your wife. You’re a woodworker. Handmade gifts for her that you make in your shop would show how much you love and admire her. Also, you’d get a LOT of mileage out of it.” – Jim Rudd
“I bought a can koozie recently that says, ‘If a man says he will fix it, he will. There is no need to remind him every six months.’ My wife thought it mildly amusing considering I have been working on a bed for us for the last three years. (If you ask her, it is more like 15 to 20.) Our life together is very special, just remember to take care of little things. Open doors for her and clean up your own mess. Clean up her mess every now and again – it doesn’t hurt a bit!” – Michael D Yeary
“Yes, us woodworkers have a way of holding on to our spouses because they love what we can make for them. I might suggest that you find out some projects that she might want to accomplish around the house and work on that ‘Honey Do’ list.
Make sure you look at the following for a basic guide:
1. Get a decent night’s sleep to prevent you from waking up grouchy.
2. Put the toilet seat down. (I put the entire lid down as I have cats who would drink out of the bowl if I didn’t.)
3. If you get flatulent, go outside and do it or go to the bathroom and sit on the can. (I would get a small air purifier for the bathroom if I was you and not blame the dog.)
4. Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.
5. If you are any kind of a cook, make your bride a nice dinner every so often. They really love that when you do that, especially when it is one of their favorite foods.
6. Take the trash out to the curb for the garbage guys to pick up on trash pickup days.
7. Always tell her you love her as they have the constant need to hear that.
8. When you leave to go somewhere, make sure you give her a good-bye kiss. It makes them feel giddy inside.” – Robert (Bob) Cohen
And shop time. – Editor
“When I read of the variety in trees, I am familiar with my days in my shop. How the wood reacts to saw, planer, sandpaper; how it responds to oil- or water-based finishes; how it looks placed next to another variety – oh, so many lessons still to learn. That will be true in your marriage. 30 years experience will begin all over again as you enjoy this new opportunity.” – Gene McKenzie
“The first thing I do every Saturday morning is ask ‘What can I do for YOU this weekend.’ If she says ‘nothing,’ I’m cleared to make all the sawdust I want.” – Chuck Chall
“My wife and I will have put in 43 years in August which is just over 2/3 of my time on the planet. We occasionally (only two or three times a day) drive each other crazy but generally we are our own best friends. Maybe the solitary nature of our hobby helps to keep a marriage tranquil. Since I am reputedly a woodworker and she is a very talented quilter, we often spend our leisure time in our respective play areas. Perhaps that is one reason why we get along so well. When I retire, that theory will be tested extensively, I’m sure.
“My suggestion for a happy marriage comes from 50+ years of marital bliss. First, I guess I should ask if your intended is a woodworker. If so, I would be careful about sharing your shop. In my marriage I have the perfect balance. I build and my wife sands and finishes my projects. Now the secret is to give full credit for the finished project to the finisher. Strike that kind of balance and you, too, could experience bliss at home and in the shop.” – Jim DiRenzo
And, finally, some concluding thoughts. – Editor
“I pray every day that God will give my wife patience and a forgiving heart: she needs that to put up with me. We’ve been married 41+, to each other. I think what works for us is my sole purpose is to make her a happy woman and she looks at me the same. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt. BTW, if you were married for 30 years the first time, you already know how!” – Mike Shafer
“I have been a longtime off-and-on subscriber. That is to say: a semiserious woodworker for a goodly portion of my 82 years. In a couple of weeks, my wife and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Here is a couplet written by Ogden Nash, a wonderful American poet/humorist who I think was a sort of sophisticated Will Rogers. This is what he wrote regarding the institution you are about to revisit:
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
When you are wrong, admit it.
When you are right … shut up.
It is a practical admonition I have too often forgotten over the course of the (never boring) half century she and I have shared. I wish the same for you and your bride, providing, of course, you memorize it. Much as you did the well-worn woodworker’s bromide: ‘measure twice, cut once.’ Congratulations and good luck.” – C. R. Clark