The Luv Doc: Stressing Out
How many long, luxurious bubble baths can a man take?
Dear Luv Doc,
My wife is constantly stressed out – whether it's about the kids, or housework, or her work, or our bills, or her parents, or my parents, or our friends, or our sex life, she is always on edge at any moment. I am the complete opposite. I try to live as stress-free as I can. I don't over-commit. I know how and when to say no. I don't sweat the small stuff. But lately her stress is starting to stress me out. I have been trying to lead by example, but she isn't following. What can I do?
– Feeling Edgy
Damn Edgy, sounds like the old ball & chain is really harshing your chill. I mean, there are only so many mid-afternoon, post-reefer naps and long, luxurious bubble baths a man can take to try to motivate his wife to de-stress. Have you tried getting a 90-minute massage? Those are really amazing, but make sure she's in the room with you so she can totally focus on your relaxation. After all, before you can take care of others you have to take care of yourself. That obviously goes for everything including sex. Remember, when the oxygen mask drops down, they don't tell you to put it on the baby first, do they? No, they want you to relax and breathe in deeply and fully in hopes that the baby will learn by your example.
So you keep relaxing. My guess is that by your fourth or fifth Monday morning pedicure and mud mask, your wife will come to see the error of her ways. I think you and I both know that the kids will wake up, feed themselves a nutritious breakfast, pack their lunches, and get to school with plenty of time to meditate for a while on the day's studies without some stressed-out woman screaming at them like a drill sergeant. How could they not with two equally blissed-out parents? The bills will get paid, the dishes will get done, laundry will get collected, washed, folded, ironed, and sorted. The dogs will be walked and fed and given their heartworm meds. The lawn will be mowed, the hedges will be trimmed, the cars will be washed and waxed and their oil will be changed. There will be plenty of time for healthy, mind-blowing sex in a variety of imaginative positions, some lovely postcoital spooning, and, of course, a long indulgent nap and you know what? Nobody needs to stress out about it.
Of course, if you have already tried all that – which truly would not surprise me – you could take another tack. Perhaps something like, "Hey honey, you clearly have a lot on your plate. What can I do to help out?" Crazy as it might seem, empathizing with and helping other people can benefit not only their Zen, but yours as well. I know that probably sounds like a crackpot notion, but at least try it for a while and see if your wife chills the fuck out. If she doesn't, maybe you need to step it up a bit. To truly appreciate relaxation, you have to work your ass off.