I have no idea how to convey my gratitude to my wife

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 50s. I’m having a hard time as I have no idea how to convey my gratitude to my wife.

She works full-time. At home, she cooks our meals, takes care of our children and does household chores. In a word, she is extremely busy every day. I always say to her, “Thank you.” However, I’m afraid I can’t sufficiently convey my feelings to her. I’m so frustrated at the situation and don’t feel at ease.

On my days off, I help her do household chores as much as I can, such as doing the washing and cleaning the bathroom. Our children are willing to help her, too. I suppose our help has reduced her workload at least a little bit.

Despite our help, she looks as tired as ever. I even feel her fatigue accumulates day by day.

I intend to try to continue to do household chores as much as possible from now. I want to see her relaxed face. What should I do? Please advise me.

S, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Mr. S:

It may be a biased view, but each time I hear a husband say to his wife, “I love you,” in a U.S. film or something like that, I can’t help but feel he says it from a sense of obligation or he only means it to be a kind of magic spell.

I suspect your “Thank you” sounds similar to her. In other words, you mean to convey your gratitude to her, but she feels it is only words.

This can be said not only about your “Thank you” but also about your help with household chores and other matters. It’s true you make efforts to reduce her workload, but she doesn’t seem to take your gratitude to heart, which frustrates you.

Honestly, it seems to me that you are overly eager for her to acknowledge and appreciate your efforts. You want to get such a “reward” because you want her to recognize you as a “supporter.”

On the other hand, your wife actually wants you to be her “equal partner,” although this is my personal opinion.

Taku Mayumura, writer

(from April 30, 2016, issue)Speech

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