Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:56 pm
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 20 years and have two great kids. When we first married, life was fun. We did things together, held hands, cuddled in bed, talked and laughed a lot. Now, other than going out to eat, we don’t do much together. There is no romance, and I couldn’t even tell you the last time either of us said “I love you.”
I don’t think my wife is happy, either. But she is not one to discuss emotional things. Her approach is to ignore it. I have thought about asking her to go with me for counseling, but she has been very stressed at work and I worry it would make things worse for her.
I don’t want a divorce, but I don’t want to be miserable forever. I suspect if we saw a counselor, my wife would put on an act and pretend to be what I wanted so I wouldn’t walk out the door. I know I’m not the same guy she married 20 years ago, but I still want to have fun and I want it to be with her. She seems content to go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed. Please help. — Not Having Fun in N.C.
Dear N.C.: Your wife may have lost interest in romance partly due to menopause or because the children have consumed much of her energy. It’s also possible she needs more help from you in other areas to free up time for romance.
In any event, the situation won’t improve if you don’t address it. Tell your wife you are concerned about your relationship. Ask her to see her doctor for a complete physical and then to come with you for marriage counseling. If she refuses to go, go without her.
Dear Annie: Please tell me how to handle it when guests arrive chronically early.
Certain family members are always at least a half-hour ahead of schedule. They arrive while my husband and I are still cooking and cleaning, or while we are trying to get our three children and ourselves ready. Worse, they pull into the driveway and honk the horn, expecting us to help them unload their car, which is filled with stuff they bring “wondering if we can use it.”
Am I expected to put out food for them before the others arrive? Is it OK to excuse myself to shower and dress? I don’t want to insult them, but how can I get them to arrive on time? — Not Yet
Dear Not Yet: You have two options: You can tell them to arrive a half-hour later than everyone else, or you can act stunned and bewildered that they have shown up so early. Let them honk their horn, and if they ring the bell, tell them you’re so sorry you don’t have time to help them unload their car and you hope they won’t mind sitting in the living room while you continue your preparations.
Be polite, but under no circumstances should they be given your attention or your food until you are ready.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Ashes,” whose sister-in-law is constantly attacking and degrading her. I experienced the same thing for over 20 years.
One holiday, my sister-in-law came to my home for a family meal. I asked my husband to pay close attention to the things she said. She proceeded to complain about the food, ridicule a project I was working on, question the way I washed dishes, etc. My husband heard every word and finally understood. What an eye-opener!
My pastor told me that turning the other cheek does not mean God expects me to be someone’s victim, that sometimes we must build a wall to find peace. My husband and I have been able to keep visits with my sister-in-law to a minimum, and I have never been happier. — The In-Law in Illinois
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.17.08