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Dear Metro: How Not To Hurt His Feelings

As the saying goes, the truth hurts—but is it worth facing?

I don’t know how to tell my husband that he gives the. worst. gifts. ever. How do I tell him not to give me anything any more?


ANNA: You have to address your inability to be honest with your husband. The reason why he’s giving you the worst gifts is because you never got around to telling him what you actually like. Learn to communicate and you’ll end up getting the best gifts ever. 


BELLA: The first person who should at least know what you like and don’t like is your husband. You don’t need to be brutally frank in telling him that he gives the worst gifts ever. How about hinting about your likes during lambingan moments? Or maybe when you go to the mall together, let him know which shops you visit and items you pick. That way, you still enjoy the element of surprise that comes with gift giving.


CATHY: If your husband truly loves you, he will appreciate your honesty and not take it against you when you tell him what you really think about his gifts. Of course, deliver the message in a way that will not bruise his ego. Say, “Thanks for the bag/ book/shirt, honey. Maybe next time you can bring me with you when you shop so we can pick out the color or print that I like? There’s one from this particular store that I’ve always wanted to buy....” 

My husband and I don’t date anymore, but my friends say we should. We see each other all the time at home after work, we spend QT with our kids, and we don’t lack talk time with each other anyway. Do we really need to spend for dates? 


ANNA: A big resounding YES. Seeing each other all the time with other people around will never equate to spending time with each other as man and woman. Give time to relate to each other without the shadow of your other roles over your head. And, yes, SPEND FOR IT. You both deserve a good meal and a nice evening out. 


BELLA: Like any relationship, if you don’t nurture your marriage, it can get weak and boring. So we need to constantly find ways to keep it strong and exciting. Raising a family can get physically, emotionally, and mentally draining sometimes, and we all need time to simply unwind and relax. Dating is an opportune time to enjoy your husband’s company, and be constantly reminded of the reasons you chose him to be your lifetime partner. 


CATHY: Definitely. Remember when you used to get excited about going out, just the two of you, to try out new restaurants or catch the latest flick? While married life isn’t as boring as some single people think it is, you still have to work on keeping the excitement alive. Dating allows you to explore new adventures with your partner, to help you discover new things about him, even after being with each other all these years. 
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I don’t like that my husband can’t say no whenever someone invites him to drink. He even accepts invitations on Sundays, a day we’ve long established should be spent with family. How do I tell him I want him to cut down on these drinking parties without making it appear as if I’m controlling his life? 


ANNA: This is a hard line to toe because you want to be able to balance between letting him live his own life without nagging him about his emotional responsibilities to the family. Would a schedule help? If he sees the family events and outings planned out on a calendar, maybe it will help trigger him to be able to say no to invitations from others. 


BELLA: You need to be honest with him about your concern of him taking in too much alcohol and spending less time with you and the kids. Make sure you don’t use an accusing tone—men hate that. If he’s having a hard time saying no to all these invitations, then maybe he can just show up for a few drinks and leave. You think he can do that? If he doesn’t hear you out, let’s talk again. 


CATHY: The trick is in how you tell him. If you start off by shouting at him as soon as he steps in the house, he won’t take your message lightly. Don’t start off with “I think you should stop drinking”; instead, say, “Do you think we can agree on making Sundays for family only?” Add the option of you giving up something you equally love doing, like, “I won’t schedule shopping days with my friends on Sundays; maybe you can also refrain from scheduling anything on that day?” Doing so makes it appear that it’s a joint effort to keep family days sacred. 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 

Ana works in a multi-national company and enjoys fitness marathons with her husband. 

Belle is a work-at-home mom with a home-schooled daughter. A decision agreed upon together with her husband. 

Cathy opted to be an entrepreneur, so she can manage her time to take care of her husband and four children. 



This article was originally published in Working Mom December 2017-January 2018 issue.