Dear Readers: This week I'm running "best of" columns while on tour for my memoir, "Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things." Today's topic: marriage.
Dear Amy: For years, my husband has been controlling our radio and television programming. Yesterday he was out of the house, and I was listening to a station my daughters and I enjoy. When my husband came home, my daughter expressed her concern the station was "not one of Daddy's." She didn't want to be confronted by him. She went upstairs.
His inflexibility and dominating behavior are obvious to me in other situations (such as the extreme lack of organization in the house and his unwillingness to look for a job). He is a stay-at-home dad. This was great while the kids were little, but due to instability in my own profession, this is causing concern.
Amy says: You have wrapped many complaints about your husband into one bundle. From your account, he is intimidating and domineering. Imagine the impact of his behavior on your girls' impression of how men do/should behave. This is not about a clash of media taste — although I believe that whoever occupies a room first (or is making dinner) gets to choose the playlist.
I agree that he needs to change in many ways for you to have a happier, peaceful, orderly household. You should try to mediate some of these issues in couples counseling. Failing that, if you are unwilling to leave the marriage, you should pursue counseling to learn why (and how) to stay. February 2013
Time off to travel
Dear Amy: My husband and I are in our mid-20s and are very successful professionals. We've enjoyed a happy marriage for the last three years, but we have spent much of that time apart, due to my husband's hectic travel with his job. In addition, at just 25, I am burned out with my own career and want to do something different. We have saved a large sum of money and want to take a year off to travel and do some volunteering. We will announce our plans to our families soon, and leave for our trip next summer.
I know my parents are going to hate this idea, and I'm worried they will cut me out of their lives.
Amy says: I think your idea sounds great, although I do wonder about your being so burned out at the ripe old age of 25. However, you don't have to be burned out or fed up to come up with a new plan for the next year or so of your life. All you need is a workable scheme, the funds to pay for it and the enthusiasm and idealism to carry it out. You can respectfully say to your parents, "I know you love and care about me, but this feels right. I hope you'll come to respect our choice, even if you don't agree with it." November 2012
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