Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for six years.
So far, we have had a very happy marriage, except for one thing.Because we are on a budget, my husband made a rule that we can never go out to dinner because we are low on money.
I highly disagree with this rule.
My husband works from home and could easily take an hour each week to do some housework, as well as some cooking.
When I suggested this to him, he seemed very amused, and told me that he works almost 12 hours a day.
That is not true. By my estimation, he spends about six hours a day watching television.
I believe this is why we are on such a strict budget.
How can I persuade him to help out?
-- Tired Wife
Dear Tired: You shouldn't have to persuade your husband to help out at home, just as he shouldn't have to convince you that you two need to be on a budget. As partners, these two important topics should be understood, negotiated and mutually agreed upon.
You don't say whether you work outside the home, but when I have covered the work/housework issue before in this space, readers have sent in compelling arguments saying that all members of the household (no matter what their other professional duties might be) must find a way to contribute proportionally to it.
I have come up with a possible solution to your household budget and housework balance issue.
If your household is strapped for cash, you should eliminate your television service.
Not having a television at home will save money and cut down on distractions.
I'm sure your husband will find this solution very amusing -- but it may start a conversation leading to a negotiation whereby you two come to an accommodation. If he is uncomfortable preparing a meal one or two nights a week, teach him some quick and easy recipes, and promise to appreciate his efforts.
Otherwise, you may have to go on strike as a way of getting his attention, and I'm certain he won't find that so amusing.
Dear Amy: My sister just gave me an Oriental rug that she received from a cousin of ours.
The rug was too big for her place, so she asked if I'd like it and told me the size, which would fit perfectly in my place.
I thanked her profusely for the rug. It is a beautiful carpet.
Now our cousin wants me to thank him as well.
I find that strange, as I was given this item by my sister, who had already thanked him for it.
Do I have to thank him too?
Dear G.W.: I understand that this is vexing, but your cousin seems to need an acknowledgment that you appreciate and value the rug.
He may be a little put out that the rug has been passed from owner to owner, like an unlucky character in an Edith Wharton novel.
Unless it would give you great pain to issue a proper thank-you to two people, then what's the harm in giving in to his needs?
Contact him to say, "Cousin George, as we speak I am standing on the most beautiful rug! I want you to know that it has landed in a good home, and I'm very grateful that Anne passed it along to me. I treasure it."
Your cousin will be happy, and your graciousness may impress him so much that he might decide to give you that Ming vase in his foyer you've been admiring.