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Annie’s Mailbox: Shower together to encourage bathing

Dear Annie: I’ve known my wife for two years. We’ve been living together for five months and married for one. I love her a ton.

I pull my share of the load around here, including paying half the bills and buying the groceries. I cook, clean and do all of the yard work and home maintenance. The problem is, my wife is a slob.

I’m not a perfectionist, but I like things tidy and organized. My wife has no problem making a snack in the kitchen and leaving the mess for me to clean up. She never makes the bed. She drops things all over the house, and I end up picking up after her constantly. She says I’m “such a sweetheart,” but I’d gladly give up the moniker for a little more help.

This sloppiness is a side of her I didn’t know. She sometimes goes two or three days without a shower, and it is noticeable. How do I approach her about these things without upsetting her and starting a fight? – Eating on Me

Dear Eating: We are continually amazed that people can be so blind to the bad habits of a loved one when they have been living with them for months. You may need to tell your wife that she has a strong aroma that others may notice. But you also can encourage her to bathe more often by showering together as part of foreplay, telling her how much you love her clean scent. You can remind her to pick up after herself or, if you can afford it, hire someone to clean your place.

You can “train” her, but it will take time and loving patience. If she is unwilling to work on this, get professional counseling before throwing in the (clean) towel.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@

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