Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband’s relatives came and visited us for a few days at the beginning of the school break. My husband’s cousin was an absolute doll and treated his sweet wife so well. When they left, I turned to my husband and asked him why he doesn’t treat me like that. He said he never saw anything like that at home when he was growing up; his dad drank a lot and wasn’t a good example.
I said, "But you don’t drink and you’ve seen lots of other marriages since." Then he said, "But not up close like this. I always wondered if other people were faking it in public, like my parents did."
A few hours later, he came and found me and asked me the same thing I had asked him: why don’t I treat him like his cousin’s wife treated her guy? I was shocked. I thought I always treated him just fine. He said, "She compliments her husband in front of other people. She dresses up for him and she’s very affectionate with him in front of the kids."
Now I’m feeling kind of miffed. Was that tit-for-tat or do I really treat him poorly? I cook and clean for him and even iron his shirts. I make special recipes for him — all his favourites. What’s he complaining about?
— Good Wife, Steinbach
Dear Good Wife: Agreed, you do nice things for your husband, but those are motherly things. Your husband picked up on the fact that his cousin’s wife also does "lovingly" things for him. So stop being miffed and take a cue from these people who dropped in.
This visit seems like a little teaching gift from the universe. If you and your husband start changing your relationship styles with each other, you both may end up experiencing a more loving marriage in every way.
Even if it feels a bit awkward dishing out compliments at this stage, with a little practise it could become a nice habit. People tend to react very well to sincere compliments. It makes them look for the good in the person who gave the compliment and then return the favour.
Maybe you could talk a little further about the dressing up, the affection and anything else you liked about the way both halves of this couple acted; not that they’re perfect, but they did have some nice ways.
Have you two bought any new clothes lately? It could be fun to come into Winnipeg, hit the mall, go shopping together and then out to dinner. Make a date of it. And, by the way, a hug or a kiss in front of the kids is not a bad thing, even if they pretend it’s disgusting.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love my mother, but hate her latest boyfriend. I’ve avoided him like the plague since he came on to me shortly after he met my mom. I didn’t tell her because I didn’t want to burst her bubble and because I was afraid she wouldn’t believe me. But now things are not going so well with this jerk. I wonder if this would be the time to tell her that if she’s thinking of breaking up with him, here’s one more reason.
— Ready to tell on him, River Heights
Dear Ready to tell on him: By all means, tell your mother exactly what this guy did. Explain truthfully why you didn’t tell her sooner before she got so involved. She will wish you hadn’t kept it to yourself.
Be very specific in what you have to say. Name the time and place and repeat what he said and/or did as accurately as you can.
Good luck with this. It needs to be done ASAP.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.