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Woodshop Wisdom #7- Can I Save My Marriage While I’m On Vacation?

by | Woodshop Wisdom

Welcome brother! If this is your first time reading Woodshop Wisdom, this is a place where, every Monday, we answer a specific question from the men’s communityWe give straight-forward answers to a variety of relationship problems and the challenges men face everyday as a provider, father and husband. And often we will challenge you to go much deeper in your understanding of the problem and how to think about it more effectively. 

Let’s get started. 


This weekend I’ve realized my wife doesn’t trust me at all. I’ve been inconsistent and combative with her for the last few years and we fight about stupid things all the time. I feel devastated knowing I’ve eroded her trust by my incessant defensiveness and need to be right. I want to change this before it’s too late but I don’t even know where to start! She’s already starting to check out of the marriage. We have a vacation coming up in 4 weeks and I want advice on how to make the trip a new beginning for us. What are some things I can do here?​


 Hey brother, I have been right where you are. The moment I realized that I helped create this combative relationship is also the same moment I knew I wanted things to be different, drastically different. I want you to know that this took years of repeat behavior to get to this point. The change you seek won’t happen in the next few days, or even the next few weeks or months. You have time, so take a deep breath, relax, this is going to be just the beginning of an incredible journey. 

So, first, understand that this vacation in four weeks is NOT a make or break moment for your relationship. It is not something that needs to have that kind of pressure hanging over it. The need for it to go perfectly, without any space for things to go sideways, is exactly the mindset which will bring about disaster. The vacation is nothing to fear and it is also nothing that will save your marriage. What it is, is an opportunity.  

It is an opportunity to show up differently, to be somebody new in the relationship. It is an opportunity for you to show up with the love you have in your heart and bring the laughter, the joy, and the leadership your family desires. You get to practice being that consistent, loving man you already are.  

In the weeks leading up to this vacation, do one thing for me. Relieve some of the pressure. Spend all your free time planning and preparing yourself for the fun and excitement you are going to bring to the vacation. Make some plans, schedule an adventure, research great spots to eat. Turn this trip away from being a vacation about your relationship problems and turn it into a vacation that is simply about doing what you love with a person you love, while being a person you love. 

Take a deep breath, you have time, plan accordingly. 

Thoughts From The Woodshop 

Deadlines! Ugh, how I loathe deadlines. That looming, dark feeling that everything hinges on this moment in time – you have either failed or you have become victorious once again…at the last minute…just in the nick of time. Only to find out you have the next deadline coming right up behind it – rinse and repeat. For a man prone to procrastination, deadlines are to be feared, and are an excellent source of motivation…also known as intense pressure. 

​I scrambled all day cranking out a set of kitchen cabinets – cutting, building, sanding, finishing, and ignoring every phone call and question that would slow me down. I was yelling at employees to move faster showing my disappointment in them. I was pissed off and angry most of the day. I just couldn’t get them to understand the importance of tomorrow’s deadline. I found out mid afternoon I forgot to order some much needed material and had to drive two hours away to pick it up off of will call. I raced back to the shop and began what was to be another “all-nighter”. It was another attempt at jamming in more than I could handle and plowing over whoever got in my way. They just couldn’t understand the pressure I was under.  

I crawled to my desk in the morning from the backroom finishing area. I was exhausted, hungry, completely worn out and ready to call this contractor and tell him my install crew will be sent out on time. Victorious once again…until I listen to the voicemails I didn’t slow down to listen to. “Hey Matt, this is Bob, the flooring didn’t arrive, so we are pushing your cabinet install out until next week.” F&*K!!! 

Once again, that false pressure, stress, and anxiety to “get shit done now!” is a myth. It’s sawdust in the wind. Where would I be if I slowed down, took time to plan and really got thinking about what it is I am trying to accomplish? 

I would have been more productive. 

I would have been more aware. 

I would have been more impactful. 

I really like the saying “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” 

I would have gotten the job done AND had the time to enjoy it. I would have treated the people around me better and with more respect and appreciation. 

Oh well. 

This is learning. On to the next one….this time with intention.

Where to go from here? 

I see you man. I see that you are ready to engage, you are ready to create something new. I see that you are ready to pick up the tools we have available and get back to building something in your life that is beautiful, impactful, and meaningful. I look forward to seeing it.

It all starts with a question – what do you want to build?

Most of us men spend a lot of time in our heads.  We have conversations with ourselves but never show that thinking and feeling side to anyone else. The question and answer example above is exactly like the wise conversations we have every day ALL day in the Mentoring Men Community.  This is the smartest, strongest, most caring and courageous group of men I’ve ever known.

We meet weekly for group coaching calls and have deep conversations with men around the world 24/7.  This online men’s group is like none other out there.  This is what we hear.

“Thank you, Thank You, Thank You for reminding me of who I really am and helping me kill that annoying hummingbird. My wife has seen an immediate change in my attitude and outlook while she has struggled to make progress of her own. She has even made the statement that “I want to be where you are and want to find something that I can connect with and that will make me a better person.”

Join us and start changing your life faster than you ever thought possible.

Matt Epsky

Matt Epsky

As Co-Founder of Mentoring Men and a Certified Goodguys2Greatmen Men’s Coach student, Matt picks a question from the men’s community each week and uses the collective wisdom of the men's community to give an insightful response. Talk with Matt Epsky about making positive changes in your own life.
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