Dear Annie: My wife and I have been together for 12 years. For most of that time, it seems we have been following my preferences in terms of jobs, living arrangements, etc. I have an office job, and she stays home with our three kids. We also live in the small town she grew up in and run a farm with her father on the side.
Apparently, I have inadvertently made her feel very much in my shadow, even with her family and friends. I am more vocal and like to get involved in what’s going on. My wife thinks I try too hard to please people and accuses me of being a “yes man.”
I adore my wife and feel terrible that this situation has snowballed into her hating me for making her feel like my accessory. I appreciate her as my partner, but often feel like I’m in a position to “make the call.” Annie, I want her to feel as special as she is – charming, welcoming, the best mother I could want for my kids and a supportive wife. How can I boost her up and make her the limelight around other people? How can I get her to feel as important as she really is? – Love My Wife
Dear Love: People like to know they are heard and their opinions valued. You are not responsible for the way your wife handles herself socially, but you can make a point to ask her opinion and have her weigh in on all decisions that affect her. You seem eager to improve the situation, which means you are likely to succeed. (And we’ll just assume the decision to live in her hometown and work for her father was entirely your choice.)