No Faith In His Handyman Skills

Q: My wife and I just moved into our beautiful home a few weeks back. There's much work to be done on the house and I am excited to be able to work on it. I don't know much about home repair, but I am willing to learn. I even began watching YouTube videos on home repair and took a few of those free Home Depot courses on the weekend. It seems that whenever there is a project that needs to be done, my wife instantly calls up both her brother (a contractor) and her father (a plumber). While I appreciate them helping out, I feel my wife doesn't have any faith in me whatsoever. How can I get her to stop relying on her family and let me fix our own house? Benjamin-32

Dr. Pamela: Doing your own home improvements can be rewarding, both in terms of saving money and the sense of accomplishment. But with your level of experience experimenting on your own home to discover how much or how little you know about home improvements might not be the best choice. DIY projects gone wrong are a waste of your time and effort, and you may end up paying more to have the work redone correctly.

The fact that your wife called her brother, a contractor and her father, a plumber; makes sense. Why do you feel that your wife's decision to call family members who are professionals in the field, is really about her lack of faith in you? YOU admitted you don't know much about home repair! And let's be honest Benjamin, would you hire someone to work on your house if his or her experience consisted of watching YouTube videos and taking a few classes at home depot? So, what's going on?

Being able to manage home construction projects isn't the yardstick used to measure faith and respect in a marriage. You are two people in a partnership. Talk with your wife about what is going on, tell her how you feel and listen to what she has to say. I'd suggest instead of getting tangled up in what you "should" or "shouldn't "be able to do, sit down with your wife and make an assessment of strengths each of you bring to the relationship. Make a copy of the list to carry with you, just in case you need a quick reminder of the many ways your wife does depend on and has faith in you.

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