Dear Readers: I started writing the "Ask Amy" column 10 years ago this month. In that time, I've fielded countless letters from readers covering every imaginable personal situation and dilemma. I've also tackled questions about issues I'd never imagined.
I am marking this decade of advice by stepping away briefly for the first time in 10 years to catch my breath and read a few self-help books (I also plan to play minigolf and eat ice cream).
Until my return in two weeks, I hope you'll enjoy some of my favorite "Ask Amy" questions and answers. Today's topic is marriage.
Dear Amy: My husband and I have been together for 10 years now and have five beautiful kids, ages 6 months through 8 years old.
Can you give me some pointers on what to do with the little time and little privacy we have? Locking the door and looking into each other's eyes doesn't work anymore.
Dear Heather: Are you asking me how to have sex with your husband? Seems to me you already know that, my dear.
I called my friend "Betsy" (mother of six!) and read your letter to her. She suggests that getting out of the house — even for a short time — is the charm.
Then she told me an anecdote involving her, her beloved husband and the family minivan that I'd rather not repeat. (2004)
Dear Amy: I've been married for six years, and my hubby and I have two kids. Hubby and I both work full time, but I've noticed that hubby seems to enjoy assigning me extra little tasks to fill up my free time (as if I have any). This started after he attended management training at his job. This really irritates me.
His last attempt at delegating was to ask me to mail our tax returns that I had prepared. My busy season is tax season, and I was very short on time. I was floored when he called me from the library where he was reading books after he had finished eating breakfast with his brother.
His schedule is such that he can do errands before work without kids. My schedule means that I have to drag our kids with me to do anything.
I've tried to announce "you're assigning tasks again," or else I flatly announce that I am not doing that particular task or errand. Any advice you can give on how to stop my master delegator hubby?
Dear Harried: Since this delegating started suddenly after your husband's management training course, you're going to have to retrain him.
Because you've already repeatedly expressed your irritation at this, now it's time to laugh.
The next time your husband calls from his leisurely book reading and assigns a task to you, laughing maniacally into the phone might get through to him. "Honey, you just crack me up!" you say.
Add a little shot of passive aggression to drive your point home. Choose a less important errand that he assigns to you and simply don't do it. If he asks you why you've fallen down on the job, slip him a blank W-4 form.
If you're going to work for him, you might as well get benefits. (2004)
Dear Amy: My husband, "Steve," and I have been together 11 years (since high school).
Recently I found out he spent $500 at a "massage parlor." He claims he was just curious and that they did not tell him in advance what went on there. He says the only thing he got was a completely nude lap dance, with no touching.
I find this hard to believe, especially considering the money involved. How should I handle this? I feel completely betrayed and sick. This is not the first time he has lied to me.
Dear Betrayed: I hope your husband is as curious about what goes on at a marriage counselor's office as he was about the massage parlor, because that's where he should be headed next. He won't get a lap dance, but you can assure him that counseling sessions would be plenty stimulating and revealing. Good luck. (2003)