Let Him Help, at Least Sometimes

The image below is of a miniature beaded Christmas tree Lori and I made for my parents our first Christmas. (It usually lives under a bell jar.)

Beaded Christmas Tree © Paul H. Byerly

Building this gift was stressful for Lori because I wanted to add a string of LED lights – which was very much a DIY project in 1985. Lori is very “crafty”, but she had always worked alone on projects, and working with me was hard for her. Fortunately, our marriage survived.

When my mom died in 2001, the miniature tree became ours, and we display and enjoy it yearly. Lori will admit the lights make it better, but that is not why her letting me “interfere” was such a good thing. While I am enjoy the many things Lori has made (including handmade stockings and more than a few ornaments), the beaded tree is something we made together. It is not just beautiful; it is a touch point in our lives. I remember working on it with her. I remember discussing what kind of miniature ornaments to make. I remember our daughter/step-daughter donating a toy train she thought would look good under the tree. I remember waiting down the street until my parents left for the Christmas Eve service so we could sneak the tree into the house. We put it where they would see it when they entered the house, then joined them at church – enjoyed our shared secret. 

The feelings and memories I have are much stronger because I was a part of making the tree. It was a joint project, and that made it special.

I am sure there are times when working with your husband is stressful for you. Gender differences aside, he has different ideas and different ways of doing things. Some of the time you could do it faster without his “help”, and some of the time you could do it better without his help. From a practical point “No thanks, I’ve got this” often makes sense. However, from a relational point working with him may be a better choice. As I have mentioned before, men are better about opening up when they are working on a project. Working on something together also helps men connect, and accomplishing something together results in a shared pride.

I have benefited from being a part of making the beaded tree, and our marriage has benefited as well. 

~ Paul – I’m XY and I think crafts need “More Power!”

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Image Credit: © Paul H. Byerly
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