Terease Jones, M.C.

Dear Tereasa:

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and for the most part we have a great marriage and I think he is a wonderful husband.† However, there is one thing about him that drives me crazy.† He is so prideful that he wonít let me do anything to help out around the house.† He says that I am supposed to do the laundry, keep the house, and do the cooking and he is supposed to do everything else.† We are financially strapped, yet he wonít even let me get a part time job.† I vacuumed out my car the other day and he got really mad.† Itís like every time I try to help out it hurts his pride or ego.† Sometimes he gets behind on his chores, and since he wonít let me help, I mention it, and he says he is working as hard as he can.† It seems to me that he should welcome the help that I want to offer.† I feel helpless and sometimes I get depressed over all the things that arenít done, that Iím not allowed to do.† Can you help me?

Helpless

Dear Helpless:

I can hear the frustration in your words.† You want so much to help this man that you love and he wants so much to be a man worthy of your love.† We get ourselves all twisted up in our efforts to love someone and show our love, donít we?† It sounds like your husband has very traditional values and those values are showing up in the role expectations that he has in your marriage.† I suspect that you also lean toward traditional values and roles or you wouldnít have been able to be as happy as you have been for the past 15 years.† It also sounds like the two of you really want the same thing; to make life good for the other one.† You want to help him out with his chores and even help with the earning of the money so that he wonít have so much to do and worry about, and he wants to protect you from all those things so that you wonít have to worry about it and do more. The problem is that it is not working for the two of you anymore.† Iím not so sure that your husband is being prideful, and I think it is simplistic to blame it all on his ego.† What I think you have here is a rare man of character and integrity who feels that it is his job to take care of his family.† Many of us would love to have that kind of husband, so first of all, appreciate that in him.† You do need to talk to him and get this situation resolved, but be sure and validate his many gifts to you and the family before airing any of your complaints.† If you talk to him about your values and what you would like (such as more time with your husband) he might be able to appreciate the fact that maybe he could share the load a little.† Itís sort of like trading one value for a, perhaps, higher value.† Since he wants so much to take care of his family, perhaps you can get him to see that spending time with you is a much higher value than vacuuming the car.† In other words, let him know that your highest value is to spend time together enjoying each otherís company.† Perhaps, then you can come to some agreement about the distribution of chores that would benefit you both, and free up time so that you can enjoy one another more.† Hopefully he will agree that spending time with you is an important way to show his love for you, and come to understand that he is not neglecting his role as a husband if he makes time to do this.† I hope this helps.† Good luck.

Tereasa

†Dear Tereasa:

My husbandís parents are from New York City and my parents are from Oklahoma.† Our parents have never met, since my husband and I ran off and got married two years ago in Los Vegas.† This summer his parents plan to come here and meet my parents and me.† They are from a big city and are well off financially.† My parents are not well off and I wasnít raised knowing all the things that I think I will need to know.† I donít know what to wear, what to do about fixing up our small house, and what to do with them while they are here.† My husband is no help.† He just keeps saying for me to be myself and not worry about impressing them.† He says they wonít care about any of that stuff.† I only have a few months to get ready for their visit and I am a nervous wreck.† What can I do?

Nervous and scared

Dear Nervous and Scared:

No matter what the circumstances are when we meet our parents-in-law for the first time we are all nervous.† Your husband is probably more correct about what he says than you know, but I also understand that you need some real practical help here.† First of all, remember that your husband was raised by these people and he loves you, so chances are they will love you too.† Another thing to remember is that people in New York think we people here in Oklahoma are just about as fascinating as we think they are!† This is a part of the country that they may not have ever had an opportunity to see.† Some of the things that we take for granted by be fascinating to them.† For instance, I bet you didnít know that people come from all over the country and some from other countries to visit Discovery Land Outdoor Amphitheatre† and see the play ďOklahomaĒ.† They might also enjoy visiting the Aquarium in Jenks.† Chances are they donít have something like that in New York City!† They will probably also be impressed with how friendly we Okies are!† You see, there are many things that our state has to offer that are different from anything they have there.† You need not feel bad about your small home either.† There is a very good book by Sarah Susanka, ďThe Not So Big HouseĒ, that might give you ideas of ways you can make the most of your space. The most important thing, however, is to make sure it is clean and that your guest room is warm and welcoming.† Fresh flowers and scented candles are a nice touch.† As far as what to wear, try to go for something cool (Oklahoma can be hot in the summer) and comfortable.† A few new shirts can go a long way to spruce up your wardrobe.† I wouldnít worry about spending a lot of money on clothes, though.† You can find cute things for very little money and you are going to want to be comfortable when you take them around to all the wonderful places that Oklahoma has to offer.† By the way, did you know that the Grand Lake Area draws people from all over the country?† It is one of the fastest growing retirement communities in the United States.† Feeling proud yet?† I hope so, because we have a lot to feel proud about around here!† The most important piece of advice that I can give you is exactly what your husband said.† Relax and be yourself.† All the rest will take care of itself!† I hope this helps.† Good luck! †

Tereasa