A few months ago I was in an art competition with a fairly good sized group of people. I couldn’t help but take notice that many of the artists’ spouses were in attendance, providing encouragement and friendly company. So half way through my project I called my husband to ask him if he would like to come down and keep me company (it’s a ten minute drive). He told me he would rather watch TV. When my artist neighbor commented that perhaps he was excited about an Olympic event, I told her he just wanted to watch golf. Then I excused myself, went to the bathroom and cried. Is this all there is to an aging marriage? Do I even hope for an improvement? I am both married and lonely, and I don’t know what to do.
Dear Ms. Renoir,
There are two answers. The first, although it is a little absurd, would likely be most effective. The second is more traditional, and might still help.
You could “slip him a mickey” (knockout drink), and handcuff him to a comfortable chair. Then you could force him to watch good movies with men who are loving, protective, and chivalrous. A few come to mind: Humphrey Bogart ("Bogey") in The African Queen is a fine start. Gregory Peck? John Wayne? You know, good examples of chivalrous, manly behavior. However, as he is into lazyass, belly-scratchin’ self-centered behavior, a traditional approach might be more effective.
Tell GolfDog you need to talk to him about something serious. The TV must be off (have him consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual as to how to do it). I like to begin a marriage enhancing/fixing session with getting a view of the past. What attracted you to this girl? When did you decide to get serious with her? What were some things about her that surprised or amazed you? What type of dates did y’all go on when you were first dating? Did you impress her in any way (even accidentally)? Back in the day, maybe the second date, if she had called you to come see her, would you have said “no, I have to watch golf and scratch my armpits”? Feel free to re-phrase the last suggestion. Close with this bone chilling statement: “I am lonely”.
Many times such behavior is mindless laziness, not intentional disrespect. Couples need to work at continuing to impress each other as we grow older with each other. It’s easy early in our relationship, but it takes effort as we get older. Whoever is the most with-it needs to provide guidance to the other. And conversely the “other” needs to take it to heart, and work consistently at keeping his loved one in love with him. Plus, I bet your art work gets better as he gets better. I sincerely hope he can.