DEAR SAGE: How do you get your wife to slowdown? My wife has been working 7-day weeks most weeks for a few months. I realize the need to stay on “top of her game,” especially during peak season can create unusual demands; however, I would like her to get more R & R beyond date night dinner, movies, etc. Any suggestions that don’t include exotic vacations?
DEAR ANXIOUS HUSBAND: Thank you for your note! It is lovely to have a husband reach out on behalf of his wife! The simple answer to your question, “How do you get your wife to slowdown,” is you can’t. Now, since I know is probably not the golden advice you were expecting, please allow me to elaborate:
Despite the all of the hours she is currently working, there is an underlying force driving her. She may be doing this to “stay on top of her game” as you say; she could be concerned about her job security; or she could be enjoying herself. Sometimes when a person is in the zone and is able to watch their efforts result in progress, there is a unique thrill that is attached. She may not have a clear understanding of what is causing her to work so hard, so probing is not the solution. Your support and positive feedback is what she really needs. You may share different expectations about what is best for her, so you have to relax your expectations. She must feel free to live her life in a way that feels good to her. If she shares what’s really driving her, you must be prepared to listen compassionately and just provide support. I know it can be difficult for a man to hear his wife speak without offering advice, but often women just want to be heard not advised. Let her know that you are confident she will make the right choice and allow her to work it out on her own. (If she asks for your advice, you then have a green light to proceed.)
With that said, I am a huge advocate of balance. So outside of everything I’ve said, I think there would be huge value in shaking up your normal date nights and make the most of the time you do share. Fun often fades when something becomes “regular”, so think of those things that bring your wife true joy. Often this is something simple and inexpensive. I am a huge advocate of music’s ability to positively alter one’s mood…so, some possible ideas include: her preferred style of live music at a local venue, dancing, or even karaoke! (You have to participate in the karaoke to make it fun!)
You could simply say to your wife, “My darling, I see how hard you are working and I am so proud of you! I want to ensure that we are having a balanced and fun life, so I would love to take you ________ on [Friday] night! Would you be able to accommodate that into your schedule?” My guess is that she will happily make adjustments! However, if she cannot due to work commitments, please be prepared to be flexible, patient and willing to adjust the night without feeling deflated. If she is as plugged into work as you say, one cannot know how she might react, so you may have to go with the flow a little. Do not take it personally!
All-in-all, I applaud your efforts to look after your wife! I hope that you maintain your supportive attitude and stay focused on how you two may have some more fun! Finding different forms of fun locally, and continuing with weekly fun dates is better than any exotic vacation! Helping your wife find fun outside of work will automatically bring balance and help her to gain perspective on things.
YOUR support strengthens your wife! HER happiness will become your happiness! Positive vibes promote more positivity. So keep it LIGHT and have a great time together!
Love and light,