We hope this month’s “Ask Johanna” will resonate with many of our readers. (There is something about being over 50 that makes us just a tad less patient with our spouses.)
My husband is on Oxycotin for pain, following surgery on his back. I don’t know if it’s the drugs or him, but he is driving me crazy. I have been busting my butt cooking for him and preparing restaurant-quality meals, and here is a typical response: “Boy, this shrimp is tough. What did you do to it?” Or, in response to fresh collard greens, sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and ginger: “These collard greens are chewy!” I’m trying to be loving and understanding and, since he’s totally immobilized, I’ve stopped myself short of screaming, “Why don’t you cook for yourself or order out?!!!”—but my patience is wearing thin. Am I being overly sensitive?
Frustrated in Phoenix
Dear Frustrated, I say get him a feeding tube and go dancin’! Or, if that seems harsh, how about upping the dose of his oxycotin just one night and letting him drift happily into dreamland while you get yourself away from that kitchen?!
My husband is starting another new business—for the 10th time—and it is taken all of our resources. We’ve used up all of our savings, and there is nothing left. Yesterday, he said, “I wish I had an extra $3,000—I could really make this business into something.” I held out my arms and said, “Here, take my last vein! You want me to give plasma for money?” Tell me, Johanna, was I being too mean? I want to be a supporting wife, but I have nothing left!
Vehement in Virginia
Dear Vehement, I’d say you’ve done well to have been so nice to him through 9 other ventures! And, besides, I’m not big on being the perfect wife. Whenever I try to be one, all I end up with is a giant knot in my stomach—which can only be untangled by a good, cathartic blow-up at my husband. I recommend it! It releases stress. It clears the air. It may even make you like him again. Go for it!
My husband insists that he is not hard of hearing and does not need a hearing aid, but every time he watches something on television, he turns up the volume so loud that I’m surprised the neighbors don’t come over to watch the game with him! What can I do?
Going Deaf in Detroit
Dear Deaf, Don’t even try to convince him that he’s deaf. Just get him one of those wonderful sets of wireless headphones with adjustable volume. Then, he can turn up his own volume, while you sit happily watching the t.v. at your own, comfortable level. And, if the store clerk happens to mention that the headphones are tailor-made for deaf people, so be it!