Saturday, January 17, 2015

In Retirement, Hobbies Can Be A Lifeline

Dear Tazi:

I recently retired after a long, fulfilling career in business, and I am afraid I am being a pain in my wife's derriere. "Joann" spends her days cooking, cleaning, running errands, and doing a myriad of other things that I never knew since I was always at the office or traveling for business. Her days are quite full without me, but I know if she did things with a little more efficiency she would have time for the two of us to do things together.

Lately, whenever I see Joann doing something around the house - vacuuming, dusting, polishing, etc. - I try to think of a better way to do it; one that would require less time and energy to complete the task. When I think of a way, I let Joann know so she can try it my way. This is getting on her nerves, and she has told me so. She tells me that she has been cleaning our house her way for 40 years and she knows what she is doing; that she never told me how to do my job and that I should not tell her how to do hers.

Tazi, I never thought of being a housewife as Joann's "job"; I always saw it as what she did to help care for our family. I tried to explain that I was only trying to lighten her load so we could spend some time together, but she replied that my being bored does not mean that she should have to reconfigure her entire schedule. Tazi, I was quite hurt by her words! I don't want to spend more time with my wife because I am bored, I want to spend time with her because I love her and want her by my side now that I have the time to be by her side. How can I help her to see this?

Retired in Sioux Falls

Dear Retired in Sioux Falls:

Since you believe you have discovered a better, more efficient way to complete the housework, why not prove this to your wife by actually doing the housework for her - your way? This will not only show Joann how much better your way of doing things is, it will give her a much deserved break from house chores!

The fact that you realize that you are becoming a "pain in the derriere" is the first step to changing your behavior. The next step is to formulate a plan that will work for both you and your wife. Since you worked in business, and seemed to enjoy it, why not make a business arrangement with your wife? Ask her to try doing things your way, and if she does not find it more efficient and less time consuming, you will stay out of her way while she cleans. If, on the other hand, she discovers that your way is better she will agree to do the housework your way and spend the extra time on her hands spending time with you. This, however, puts the onus on you to be good company, and to plan activities that will be of interest to the both of you! Are you certain you are up to this?

Another idea - one that occupies your time while leaving your wife to do her own thing - is to develop a hobby. What are some of the things you always enjoyed doing but never had the time to do because of work? Whether you enjoy fishing, bowling, playing cards at the senior center, or playing in a bowling league now is the time to indulge in your personal interests. You could even invite your wife to join you - you might be surprised to discover that she is waiting for an invitation to get out of the house and among other people!

Whatever you choose to do with your time, work on communicating your wants, needs, and feelings to your wife. Tell her that you are feeling hurt and alone, that you miss spending time with her as a couple. Let her know that you love her and want to spend time with her because you love her - not because you are bored - and see how her attitude changes.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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