Tag Archives: marriage

Ask Johanna: Dirty Socks, Dirty Mouths, Dirty Rotten Kids

Dear Johanna,

I have been married to my husband for 25 years, and I have told him at least once every year how much I would appreciate it if he would not take off his dirty socks in the living room, next to the sofa.  I usually leave his socks there for a while, thinking that he should be able to clean up after himself, but then I always end up picking them up–because I can’t wait him out!  If I left them there, he wouldn’t care–in fact, he wouldn’t even notice–but I hate the sight of dirty socks on the floor of our living room. Do you have any suggestions on how to actually train him to stop doing this?  Any little tricks you’ve found?

Tired in Tupelo

Dear Tired,

You’ve stumped me.  I’d say you should give up.  I think the best solution to a happy marriage is to accept the fact that there are certain things your husband will do until the day he dies that you don’t like.  The good news is: there are bound to be things you do that drive him crazy!  Next time he leaves his socks next to the sofa, why don’t you shave your legs with his favorite razor?


Dear Johanna,

I was recently a speaker on a panel with two other people.  The other two people were both in their late twenties or early thirties.  Halfway through the event, as I heard one after another of the speakers refer to what I had said as an example of “the way people used to do things,” I realized that, for the first time in my life, I was feeling like an old codger.  And, also for the first time, I fully understood why it irritated my mother so much when I would roll my eyes at her and say something like, “that’s not the way things are now, Mom!”  The whole experience has been pretty depressing, so, Johanna, can you tell me:  is this just a normal part of aging? 

Aging in Atlanta

Dear Aging,

Let me at those young whippersnappers!  Who do they think they are, making you feel old?  I bet you were giving them all sorts of good advice!!  And, yes, some people say this is just part of the whole process–but I’ll tell you this:  I ain’t going down without a fight!  Be proud of all the knowledge that is in your head!  Flaunt your experience!  Tell those kids, who think they know everything, that you were already working and doing stuff when they were still in diapers!  Let them put that in their pipe and smoke it!


Dear Johanna,

Young people nowadays use such terrible language all the time that it is shocking–no matter where they are!  The other day I even heard one use the F-word in the line at the bank!  I am getting sick and tired of it!  Can you give me some advice on how to tell these young people to clean up their mouths in public? 

Disgusted in Denver

Dear Disgusted,

I hear you, sister!  I mean, WTF?!  In my day, the F-word actually stood for something!  It was a valuable tool to reserve for only the most frustrating of circumstances.  But nowadays, it is just flung casually around and has lost its integrity in the process.  I am sorry to say that I don’t know what to tell you, except maybe to do what my mother used to do–and threaten to wash their mouths out with soap!





On the Eve of My 31st Wedding Anniversary

 Annette Dunlap has been a guest blogger with Oops50 before.  Here is one of her latest writings from her blog.  I loved it, so I asked her if I could share it with our readers!  Jane
On the eve of my 31st wedding anniversary, I offer the following thoughts regarding marriage and the potential for marital longevity:

1. Marriage doesn’t get any easier. If you are still in the first decade of marriage (or the 2nd decade, for that matter), and keep waiting for marriage to get easier, forget it. You and your spouse will continue to change; you will each age; you may have health or physical problems develop that were not there in the early years; family members will die; family members will aggravate you; children will get older. With every new day there is another adjustment to make.

2. Find something you like to do together. Shared time is what creates a sense of bonding. Even if the “thing you do together” is eat dinner while watching “Jeopardy,” it’s the time you spend with each other, shutting everything else out that is important.

3. Create space for separateness. A good marriage should celebrate the phrase, “Vive la difference!” Being with your clone is no fun, and it’s no

4. Don’t expect the arguments to stop – just expect the topics to be different. There is absolutely no way that two people are always going to agree on everything, and sometimes one of you feels more passionately about something than the other and insists on getting his/her way. There are also the sore, unresolved issues from years and years that resurface – and when they do, they are crying for a resolution. Look for resolve, and then resolve to move on.

5. Compromise can be overrated. Sometimes compromise is damaging rather than conciliatory. On certain matters – where you live, how money is
spent, the size house you have, whether or not you take a vacation – someone may have to give in. But the one who gained the concession(s) needs to acknowledge the yielding made by the other.

6. Stay physical. It’s one of the primary perks of putting up with the foibles of another human being in the same bed/bedroom/house.

7. And remember, love is not a feeling, it’s a decision. Ditto for forgiveness. No comment necessary.

Readers:check out Annette’s blog at http://annettesobservations.blogspot.com/.

Beautiful Women over 50: Gwendie’s Postsecret


There’s a blog that’s getting lots of attention.  It’s called “postsecrets”  (http://www.postsecret.com).  People send in anonymous handmade postcards with a personal secret on the back.  Things like “I wish my life were exciting”, and “When you see me in public and I seem to be reading a book, I’m really eavesdropping on you”.  Some are darker, more intimate.  I’ve been thinking about sending in one myself.  One of the things that holds me back is that, unlike the postcard makers who get their submissions posted, I’m not the least little bit creative in the visual sense.  Check out the website to see what I mean.

But my secret, like most of the ones on the website, is one that possibly a lot of other people, especially women, share with me.  It is this: I don’t feel sorry for women whose husbands have died; I feel envious.

There, I’ve said it.  Another problem with this secret, unlike the ones on the website, is that it needs more explanation to make any sense.  And that won’t fit so easily on a postcard.

I have friends and relatives (sometimes these are the same people), men and women, whose marriage partner died, and they were devastated.  They grieved and cried and missed their mate fiercely.  They yearned to have him or her back.  Some of them really look forward to reuniting in heaven.  They feel awful, at least for awhile, sometimes for a long while.  But still I am envious.

Here’s why:  to feel that bad about the loss of a spouse, there must have been a lot of good things about the marriage.  Good times, good experiences, good feelings to be so acutely missed.  Even the good memories are bittersweet; they remind my friends of their depth of their loss.

I never had that.  So I am envious.

I would trade places in a heartbeat.