He’s given his power away to his wife.

March 11, 2014

Dear Wayne,

I think I just screwed up Mother’s Day. As hard as I tried to make this one special (I haven’t been so hot with these events in the past) my wife was critical about the restaurant we went to (it wasn’t kid-friendly enough), the flowers I got her (by the time we reached my in-laws they had wilted,) and the gift I gave her (a coupon to take care of all kid transportation for the week.) I feel like I need to do something to make her happy and make up for my poor performance. Any suggestions?


Desperate to Please


Dear Desperate,

Yeah, I’ve got a suggestion. Go into the bathroom, close the door, pull down your pants, and check to see if you still have testicles.

Sounds to me like you have a much bigger problem than a lousy Mother’s Day and a dissatisfied wife. Sounds more like a case of a man who has given his power away to the women in his life and wouldn’t know a good effort if his wife hit him over the head with it.

You took the family to dinner, you gave her a coupon as a way to give her a break for the week, and you got her flowers, but presented them too late. OK, maybe you need some help in the details. But it seems to me the thought—and effort—were coming from the right place.

Rather than chasing your wife and scrambling for her approval, focus on being the husband and father you want to be. Look for opportunities to be that man, rather than opportunities to make your wife’s criticisms your truisms.

The two of you have a history together. She expects a certain kind of behavior from you and she’ll continue to see that “poor performance” until you consistently show up as that better man. Be consistent, keep doing your best, and try not to take her criticisms personally. You both have some growing up to do if you want this to be a loving and mutually respectful relationship.