keep quiet

The Supportive Spouse

 It is important for men to remember that as women grow older it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as they did when they were  younger. When men notice this, they should try not to yell. Let me relate how I handle the situation. 

When I got laid off from my consulting job and took  "early retirement" in January, it became necessary for  Nancy to get a full-time job both for extra  income and  for health insurance benefits that we need. She was a  trained medical transcriptionist when we met  twenty-eight years ago and was fortunate to land a job  at a local transcription house.  It was shortly after she started working at this job  that I noticed that she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from fishing or hunting about the same time she gets home from work. Although she  knows how hungry I am, she almost always says that  she has to rest for half an hour or so before she  starts supper. I try not to yell at her when this happens. Instead, I tell her to take her time. I  understand that she is not as young as she used to be.  I just tell her to wake me when she finally does get  supper on the table.   She used to wash and dry the dishes as soon as we  finished eating. It is now not unusual for them to sit  on the table for several hours after supper. I do  what I can by reminding her several times each evening  that they aren't cleaning themselves. I know she  appreciates this, as it does seem to help her get them  done before she goes to bed.

 Our washer and dryer are in the basement. When she was younger, Nancy used to be able to go up and down  the stairs all day and not get tired. Now that she is older she seems to get tired so much more quickly.   Sometimes she says she just can't make another trip down those steps. I don't make a big issue of  this.   As long as she finishes up the laundry the next  evening I am willing to overlook it. Not only  that,  but unless I need something ironed to wear to the  Monday's lodge meeting or to Wednesday's or Saturday's  golf game or to Tuesday's or Thursday's bowling or  something like that, I will tell her to wait until the  next evening to do the ironing. This gives her a  little more time to do some of those odds and ends like shampooing the dog, vacuuming, or dusting.   Also, if I have had a really good day fishing, this  allows her to gut and scale the fish at a more  leisurely pace. Nancy is starting to complain a   little occasionally. Not often, mind you, but  just  enough for me to notice. For example, she will say  that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. In spite of  her complaining, I continue to try to offer encouragement.  I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won't have to rush so much. I  also remind her that missing lunch completely now and  then wouldn't hurt her any, if you know what I mean. 

When doing simple jobs she seems to think she needs  more rest periods than she used to have to take. A couple of weeks ago she said she had to take a break  when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I overlook comments like these because I realize it's just age talking. In fact, I try to not embarrass her  when she needs these little extra rest breaks. I  tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of  freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. I  tell her that as long as she is making one for  herself, she may as well make one for me and take her  break by the hammock so she can talk with me until I  fall asleep.  I could go on and on, but I think you know where I'm coming from. I know that I probably look like a saint  the way I support Nancy on a daily basis. I'm not saying that the ability to show this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible. No one knows  better than I do how frustrating women can become as  they get older. My purpose in writing this is simply  to suggest that you make the effort. I realize that achieving the exemplary level of showing consideration I have attained is out of reach for the average man. However guys, even if you just yell at your wife a little less often because of this article, I will consider that writing it was worthwhile.

  P.S.  His funeral was on Saturday. She was acquitted .