The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a housewife in my 70s and I’ve been married for more than 40 years. Every year I get angry at my husband on three occasions. I’ve been frustrated about this for many years now.
Since he retired, my husband has been taking out the trash and preparing and putting away the futon, which I’m very grateful for. We also have two daughters who each have their own kids, and we all take vacations together. I’m currently leading a happy life.
However, my husband without fail manages to make me mad three times a year — our wedding anniversary, my birthday and Mother’s Day. He doesn’t say anything at all to me on these days, and it makes me very upset. I place high importance on anniversaries and birthdays, but my husband in contrast just tries to get through these kinds of occasions in silence.
It’s not like I’m demanding that he puts a shiny ring on my finger. Just a few words like “Today’s your birthday, right?” would be nice. I can’t believe that a person can live with someone for such a long time without understanding their feelings. Is there something I can do to calm my anger?
— E, Tokyo
Dear Ms. E:
A lot of people, after hearing you get mad three times a year, would probably think, “That’s not very often,” or “Are you bragging?”
However, for you it’s very tough to deal with, I can tell. You’ve created many lovely memories with your husband, and you still love him today. I guess that your kind husband always feels happy, as if every day is an anniversary, so he thinks there’s no need to go changing things now.
I’m picturing your husband as someone who is serious and a little clumsy. He doesn’t understand the mind of a woman, or perhaps I should say he has never known how to be popular with women. I say that because men who are looking to be popular with women know the ways to make a woman happy. For these kinds of men, anniversaries are the most important days to remember.
So, does your husband have an older or younger sister? It would be nice if you could get your husband’s sisters or your friends to work on him with comments like, “Do you know that when you remember an anniversary, it makes a woman happy?” or “A couple of words are worth as much as a gift of ¥100,000.” Also, you could really go all out with a lavish birthday celebration for him. I feel like your serious-minded husband would then want to do something for you in return.
Please enjoy planning a strategy for getting your husband to say a couple of words. I wish you a long and happy life together.
— Akemi Masuda, sports commentator