Finding My Inner Handyman for My Wife

By Jay Payleitner
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Inner Handyman - A man working on the electrics of a lamp.
© Flamingo Photography / iStock
How many years does it take a husband to replace a light fixture for his wife?

Our house was 20 years old when we moved in, but in good shape overall. Yet some things weren’t our style. The wallpaper.
The kitchen cabinets. And the blue toilet in the kids’ bathroom. But it flushed and didn’t leak. We could live with it and other things because I hadn’t yet found my inner handyman.

There was one project my wife, Rita, wanted me to tackle immediately: the massive fluorescent light fixture over the kitchen island. Personally, I liked how it illuminated the entire room. Rita called that fixture the “surgery lights” and rarely allowed it to be turned on.

Time passed

I heard her complaints. I validated her desires. And yet I said, “OK, when one of the bulbs burns out, we’ll replace the whole thing.”

Well, apparently some fluorescent bulbs last forever. Especially when electricity never flows through them.

To her credit, Rita didn’t nag. But she did . . . remind. And I . . . delayed. I know I’m not a handyman. I dread any kind of leak or loose hinge. And I know something else: As soon as I complete one project, Rita might have another one lined up. It’s not like I can finish these tasks and find rest.

But I needed to do something about that huge light fixture.

An idea that worked

For our wedding anniversary, I grabbed some brochures from the lighting supply store and folded them inside a nice card. She opened the card, saw the materials and thanked me profusely. Within days we had picked out light fixtures, and I found a wonderful electrician who helped us with installation. He hauled away the old fluorescent monstrosity and patched everything up. All for less than I’d paid for more traditional anniversary presents in the past.

There will always be things that need fixing—projects we need to get to sooner rather than later. A family does not tolerate an inoperable toilet
for long. 

Even if you’re not a natural, it’s good to embrace your inner handyman, at least for the easy stuff. So clean the gutters. Plunge the toilet. Replace the thermostat. Wedge the sliding door back on track.

And there are also things in your home that are not broken, but your wife wants changed. Don’t argue. Don’t debate. Don’t put them off too long.

If it’s on the honey-do list, be a honey and do it.

© 2020 Jay Payleitner. This article originally appeared in the August/September 2020 Focus on the Family magazine as “Finding My Inner Handyman.” Used by permission. All rights reserved

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