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Monday, April 4,2011

The Dr. Happy Formula

By Dr. Bob Nozik, MD  

Dear Dr. Happy,

I have been dating Martha, a widow, for almost 6 months; we are both in our 60’s. I am a widower having lost my wife three years ago. Martha recently moved in with me and we plan to marry this October. We’ve been planning the remodel of my “bachelor-pad” condo together but, more and more, she’s kind of taken over. She wants pastel walls, chintz curtains, ruffles, and, well; you get the drift. I’m beginning to feel like I’ll be a stranger in my own home. And we get along so well otherwise, but she’s being really bullheaded about this redecorating and I feel myself getting angrier and angrier. I don’t want to screw up a good thing; what should I do?

Pushed Around

Dear Pushed Around,
Clearly, at this point, you and your new love need to do more negotiating and less doing. You didn’t mention the size of your condo but perhaps you could divide the place up so that for some rooms she has the final say and for other rooms, you do. For instance, she has the last word on the bedroom, you the study; she the dining room, you the living room. Most important, however, is to do this in the spirit of fun, not hostility. I want to encourage you to work this out with an attitude of compromise and negotiation rather than judgment and hostility. Use this as an opportunity for developing marital communication skills; this can then become a marvelous way, before you actually marry, for you to strengthen and enrich your relationship. After all, negotiation skills are important tools for creating a successful marriage.


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