Wife doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate hubby’s ’An­i­mal House’ decor

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: My new hus­band and I re­cently bought our first house. He brought some fur­ni­ture and posters and “guy stuff ” that he’s in­sisted on keep­ing. I didn’t have much of my own but am a good thrift shop­per. I could find some nice things to “civ­i­lize” our home if it didn’t in­clude con­tents like a ripped re­cliner, tat­tered Miami Dol­phins posters and lamps from the set of “An­i­mal House”.

I’ve hinted that I don’t like his junk and made com­ments like, “Wouldn’t a nice up­hol­stered chair look bet­ter there than your torn-up re­cliner?” “Wouldn’t a framed print look great in­stead of that poster cov­ered in scotch tape?” He just laughs, says “no” and changes the sub­ject. I know he knows it both­ers me, so some­times I quit talk­ing to him, hop­ing he’ll get con­cerned. How can I get him to stop be­ing self­ish and lis­ten to my needs?

An­swer: Start by stat­ing your needs. He really may not know how much you dis­like his junk. Many women (and it ap­pears you’re one) learn to com­mu­ni­cate in­di­rectly: wouldn’t it be nice if ... wouldn’t you rather...

Many men sim­ply don’t get hints, or don’t take them se­ri­ously. Men gen­er­ally aren’t as at­tuned to un­cov­er­ing hid­den mean­ings in con­ver­sa­tions as women (male FBI agent-types ex­cepted). I think it’s time to clearly state your case — not by crit­i­ciz­ing him, but by say­ing what you like and want. Let him do the same. What you tell him doesn’t ob­li­gate him to ac­com­mo­date your wishes but ideally will prompt him to take you more se­ri­ously and to be­gin a dis­cus­sion where com­pro­mise is more likely.

Gwen Car­den has a mas­ter’s de­gree in men­tal health coun­sel­ing. For ad­vice on re­solv­ing a prob­lem, e-mail hap­py­home@ car­den­cre­ative.com or write to Res­i­dences/ Happy Home, 2751 S. Dixie High­way, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.

Gwen Car­den

Happy Home

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