by guest columnist Hal Hickenlooper
It’s important for men to remember that as women age, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same standards of housekeeping as when they were younger. But when you notice this happening with your wife, try not to yell at her. Some women are oversensitive, and God knows there’s nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.
Let me tell you how I handled this situation with my wife, Peggy. When I retired about a year ago, it became necessary for Peggy to get a full-time job to bring in some extra income and for the medical insurance her employer provides. Shortly after she started working, I noticed her age was beginning to show. Here’s an example: I usually get home from the golf course about the same time she gets home from work, and even though she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour before she starts supper. But I don’t yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me up as soon as she has supper on the table.
Here’s another example: Peggy used to clear the table and wash the dishes as soon as we’d finished eating, but nowadays it’s not unusual for the dishes to sit on the table for an hour or two. I do what I can to help by diplomatically reminding her that the dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. I know she appreciates this, and it does seem to motivate her to get them cleaned up and put away before she goes to bed.
Another thing that happens as women age is that they complain a lot more. For instance, Peggy complains that it’s hard for her to find time to pay all the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But boys, we take ’em for better or worse, so I just smile patiently and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or three days, so she won’t have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch every now and then wouldn’t hurt her any, if you know what I mean. I like to think tact is one of my strong points.
Aging also affects women’s stamina. When doing even simple jobs, Peggy seems to think she needs breaks. Recently, for instance, she said she needed a break when she was only half finished mowing the lawn. But I didn’t make a scene. I just told her to make herself a nice big glass of lemonade and sit down for a few minutes, and as long as she was making one for herself, she might as well make one for me too.
I know that I probably seem like a saint for the way I support Peggy. I’m not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women can be as they get older. But if you use just a little more tact and a little less anger when dealing with your wife as a result of reading this article, then I will consider the time it took me to write it well spent. After all, we’re put on this earth to help each other.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, Hal died shortly after completing this article. The coroner’s report listed the cause of death as a perforated rectum. According to police testimony, he was found with a Callaway Big Bertha II Driver jammed up his rear end. His wife Peggy was charged with homicide. The all-female jury took fifteen minutes to arrive at a verdict of not guilty, accepting Peggy’s defense that her husband accidentally sat down on his golf club.)