Dear Ann Cannon • I’ve been married to a wonderful guy for the past 30 years who is always at least 10 minutes (if not more!) late to everything. This means I spend a lot of time waiting for him and have done so forever. In fact, if you totaled up the time I’ve spent waiting for him it could be days. Months. Years. He knows I’m a punctual person and that being late to stuff stresses me out, so is there anything I can do or say that will help him hurry up?
— I Don’t Believe in Being Fashionably Late
Dear I Don’t Believe • Ha! Your name reminds me of a line from a book I loved called “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia” by Michael Booth, who claims that being fashionably late in Sweden is tantamount to being fashionably flatulent. So, your situation could be worse if you and your husband lived in Stockholm is what I’m saying.
To your point, however, I doubt there’s anything at this late date in your marriage you can say or do to change your husband’s behavior. Some people — even really, really wonderful guys — are just bad with time. My advice? Leave when you’re ready to go and let him find his own way to an event.
Meanwhile, dear Tribune readers, I had A LOT of response to the letter from the man who wondered if his wife was being selfish for not wanting to Skype with his elderly parents. Typical comments follow.
Dear Ann Cannon • It seems that finding time for some good old-fashioned marital intimacy is a problem for many couples. If one or both work regular workweek schedules, weekday mornings are problematic. If they both work and/or have children in the home, weekday evenings and mornings are difficult. If this weekly telephone call is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday at 5:30 a.m., perhaps the wife believes the husband is depriving her of a big portion of the only quality snuggle time she has with him. Maybe she is being needy and selfish in a way he might actually want to pay attention to.
Dear Ann Cannon • If the couple has been married for 23 years, they probably have busy lives with children, work or myriad other things. It could be that the 5:30 a.m. call is critical sleeping time. It boggles my mind that anyone would even ask that of someone on a regular basis. According to the letter, the wife did not say that she wants the 30 extra minutes a week to spend with her husband, she simply does not want to be there during the call. A 30-minute call each week to “catch up,” depending on what happened during the week, could be considered by some to be excessive. Who does all the talking? Is there ever any real news? Does it actually require two people every week? It seems exceedingly generous to me that the wife even participates.
Finally, if the wife really is required to participate in the calls on a regular basis, it seems more than fair for all parties to be accommodated equally. I feel for her if she has expressed her needs and views and they are treated as selfish. It seems to me that the husband is the one being selfish.
Dear Ann Cannon • My husband video-chats with his missionary daughter weekly. I think I understand the wife’s position. I love my missionary stepdaughter, but recognize that the bond that connects me to her is her dad. I can hear the conversation, chime in and have my own minute or two, but the most meaningful conversation is between father and daughter. I wonder if this family’s Skype could be less formal so the wife can chime in without sitting, smiling awkwardly at the computer for 30 minutes in the wee hours of the morning.
Dear Ann Cannon • Maybe the wife wants to be asleep at 5:30 a.m.?
Thanks to those of you who responded!
Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at email@example.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.