Q: My husband is always telling me what he wants to do without asking how I feel. Then he expects me to help him achieve the lifestyle that he desires. I hate it when he says, “I can’t do it alone,” but he knows that I don’t make much money — yet I’m supposed to help him achieve what he wants. I just heard him say, “I want this,” and “I want that,” but I need him to ask me what I want and to include me by using “our this” or “our that” instead. How do I handle this?
A: You tell him what you need! Open up and let him know how you feel. He may not realize the language he is using. Remind him that marriage is the ultimate partnership — the very definition of “we.” Don’t continue to shrivel and simmer in silence. Let your voice be heard, and don’t let up until he gets it.
Ask him to change his words from “I” to “we” and so forth. Enforce it when he backslides. If this fails, blast the Beatles’ song “I, Me, Mine” whenever he comes home. That should do the trick.
Q: My husband recently moved his office into our home (I didn’t get a vote). I thought this transition would be a snap, but in fact, it stinks. Any words from the wise one?
A: Wise one? First, let me recover from laughing. OK, I’m composed now.
It sounds like your sanctuary has been invaded. If that’s the case, you must determine how to adapt it, reclaim it, or create another one. I’d look at this as a grand opportunity to design an even better space for yourself.
A woman’s sanctuary is essential to her well-being. As Joseph Campbell says, “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” Protect it like a new mom defending her baby against a rabid Rottweiler.
Q: I’ve been in quite a funk for some time now. Any suggestions for how I can break out of this?
A: It’s normal to get into a funk, but don’t linger there too long. In fact, the only funk I like is in my music, so when the malaise descends I start battling it.
The best practice is to do something for someone else. For example, I’ll buy greeting cards for friends going through difficulties. This takes me away from my excessive focus on my problems and reminds me that others have it worse. And that, in turn, ushers in gratitude and much-needed perspective. Here’s a short list of my other tried-and-true funk busters.
- Take a walk outside.
- Simplify some aspect of your routine.
- Enjoy a respite from technology: turn off the phone and the computer. (No matter how low you feel, do NOT moan on Facebook.)
- Create a little burst of surprise in an area of your life: take a new route home; read a book outside of your favorite genre; try an unusual cuisine; plan an adventure; attend a lecture on a subject of no interest to you; learn a new skill. The idea is to shake things up.
- Play hooky. Take a mental health day. You need it.
- Fill yourself back up with elemental things. Enjoy nature, collect rocks from a stream, sit by a fire, buy a fragrant bouquet, listen intently to the birdsong outside your window.
- Be open to change. Don’t fight it.
- Make a list of things that make you happy.
- Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Watch a comedy.
- Get the energy drainers out of your life.
- Create something, anything!
- Treat yourself to small pleasures.
- Imagine things as you want them to be.
- Listen to good music (this excludes funeral dirges and the wrist-slitting music they play on the animal abuse commercials).
- Forgive. Love. Serve.
- Rejoice and be glad.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.