Monday, December 14, 2009

How To Treat Your Wife

by Wayne Bullard
Reprinted without permission

     The empty juice glasses just sit there on the breakfast table.   It was hard for a dedicated-loving-husband such as me not to jump up, grab the juice out of the fridge and fill the two glasses—but that’s not what the smart-dedicated-loving-husband does if he knows what’s good for his marriage.   I just waited, looking at my empty glass with a humble look.  Pretty soon she noticed her error, apologized profusely while jumping up and filling up the little glasses—me first of course.  We both had a good laugh over it.
      I have written before about how important it is for a man to create ways for his wife to feel useful and needed by serving him better—but how do you handle it when she gets sick?  That depends on just how sick she is.  My wife hasn’t been feeling well lately but rather than inducing feelings of inadequacy on her by trying to horn in on her housework-duties by doing them myself—as a majority of ill-advised modern-day husbands would do—I just try to be more patient.  She needs to be given time to perform her labors and not feel rushed.  Now is a good time to give her an “ata-girl” for keeping up with her work.   
      It is alright for a man to do housework when his mate is actually hospitalized, so feel free to do so.  Exercise caution that you don’t get the house too organized or clean while she’s gone.  That could induce feelings of inadequacy on your mate and we know you don’t want that.  Right before she comes home from some minor thing such as childbirth she needs to know she was missed.  Place out a few dirty dishes and string a few pieces of dirty laundry around the house.  She’ll love you for it.  Exercise gained from doing housework is the best treatment for post-partum depression.  We all know that a busy woman is a happy woman.
        A woman who breaks a limb can be a challenge to a loving husband.   If it’s a leg and she can get around on one crutch there is no problem.  She may need an extra Lortab now and then but with dishwashers and other gee-whiz gadgets in today’s home, there should be no problems although it is wise to let her know that you are as close as your easy chair in the rare cases she would need any help. 
       Wheelchair-bound-wives present other problems.  How much she can do in a wheelchair may be directly proportional to the amount of wheelchair access your home affords.  I keep my hallways and doors open and wheelchair ready, just in case.  Do not put a wheelchair ramp out front as she should not be wasting her energy outside her work areas.   This will help her to stay up with her work thus keeping her spirits high.  A broken arm may be a problem from a pain standpoint (remember the Lortabs) but it too will heal faster if she stays busy.
          There are times when you can actually help her with her work.  For instance, when she’s vacuuming, you can follow her around and point out the spots she missed.   This saves her the heartache of discovering (albeit later) that she has missed some spots.  Pointing out dust on a table or handing her a spray bottle of Windex and watching cheerfully as she brings the glass to a shine builds memories and   tightens the bonds of affection between the two of you.  Keep track of when she last changed the furnace filters or polished the dining room light fixtures.  She’ll love you for it. 
     I would give you some more advice but I have to have the dishes washed and trash carried out before my wife gets back from her Christmas shopping.  She was pretty firm about that.  Meanwhile my hopes are for a blessed Christmas Season for each of you and don’t forget to go to church this Sunday.
Wayne Bullard, Pharm. D.