Don’t aim that staple gun at me!

Sooner or later, you and your Sweetheart (or anyone else) will tackle a project together. This is a great way to find out exactly where your control issues are. It becomes even more fun when you are both holding pointy objects like upholstery tacks and scissors.

The Project: replace the chair seat fabric on this really cool chair I call The Throne. I bought it at auction a few years ago and when I bought my new couch, the old fabric on the seat didn’t match any more. So, I decided to recover it.

He had to work late and I decided to help him out by taking the old cover off The chair was an antique – the construction was old school and there were a million nails in there. Finally, I had the old cover off and used it for a pattern to cut a new one.





When he comes in from work the project is all ready to go. He arms himself with a staple gun while I start cleaning up our work area. I make a suggestion that he might want to place a staple in the center of each side first, instead of stapling one side completely across before moving on to the next side. This is to help keep the fabric smooth instead of pulling unevenly and causing lumps. It worked the last time I had recovered my chairs and hey, all those DIY sites backed me up.


He ignored me. This is a man who built an entire log cabin by himself when his kids were little, so who am I to tell him how to cover a chair seat??? I just couldn’t help myself. “Hey, it really does work better when you tack each side into place first” I said as sweetly as I could manage. By this time he had stapled an entire side into place. He looked at me and said, “I got this.”

 Me: “I’m sure you do but I find myself having a strong need to tell you what to do.” I had to own it, which is a great way to keep your Control Freak under control—just admit that you want to direct the entire situation and suddenly the urge isn’t quite as strong because now you’re spending all your energy feeling sheepish.

I had a choice in that moment, to keep pushing to get him to do it my way (and cause resentment), or to be grateful that I no longer have to do tasks like this by myself. I can sometimes (“Sometimes???” he says) be particular about things. I was single for a long time, and my biggest challenge has been to learn to accept help, and that his expertise and way of doing things is just as valid as mine. Having a partner in life is what I used to yearn for, and surprisingly to me, it was a little tough to get used to.

I took a deep breath, and just let him be. He stapled and stapled and of course, it turned out beautifully. And I got to enjoy how lucky I am to have a Sweetheart who likes to help me out.

Have a seat!


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