Ask Ellie: It’s Time to Use Management Skills in Marriage


Dear Ellie: I am a 44 year old female, in a senior executive position in the management of a large company with staff from a wide variety of backgrounds. I’ve been with the company for nine years, during which time I’ve won star manager awards.

I love my job, but I’m often short on how to improve my marriage. We have been together for six years (second marriage).

We come from different religious backgrounds and different countries from where our grandparents emigrated here. He is a good man who works so hard at his job.

We own a small house together and he is always kind and accepting of my 21 year old daughter who lives with her boyfriend.

But I feel that this marriage will not last either. I’m strong-minded, he hates arguments and sometimes he just walks away.

I decided that we either talk about improving our relationship, or in a year I end it! What do you recommend?

Marriage failure

If it was a management meeting, you would know exactly how to proceed. You would talk about “refreshing” employee goals and “revising” some outdated or ineffective practices.

You would encourage your staff, ask them for their ideas, congratulate them on every positive suggestion.

And you certainly wouldn’t wait a year of dissatisfaction before tackling the problems directly.

This doesn’t mean lecturing your partner and insisting that you’re right about everything. It’s not “handling” anything, it’s just pissing you off and, most likely, pushing it away.

You know how to “manage” people and projects within your business skills. Now work on “renewing” your relationship. It is an even more important objective.

Emphasize what is common, more than differences – for example, exercising together (a major stress reliever and can also increase libido), or a love of music, going to baseball games , etc.

And, influence your partner with positive examples at home, rather than pointing out your differences.

Dear Ellie: I sold my cottage last year due to ill health and told my daughter the money from the sale would be hers i.e. when I died.

I was 83 and had given him $200,000 over the past few years. She arrived the next day to receive the money. I explained that I might need it for a retirement home. She left furious.

She was driving me, for the first time, to my eye appointment and was so mad at the other drivers, the restaurant she wanted me to take her to, just everything. It never occurred to me why.

Later, she was mean to me and took me home, leaving me in tears. Tried to ask my smart 18 year old grandson to talk to him but got a very nasty message from my daughter’s wife!

We no longer communicate and I miss my grandchildren very much. But I can’t tolerate such greed. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Hurt and disgusted

Greed and entitlement are hard to accept. Your daughter has already benefited from your generosity over the years. Saving the proceeds from your cottage for a place to live, if needed, is a smart move. Currently, it is very unlikely that your daughter and her spouse will invite you to live with them.

Try to keep in touch with your grandchildren through text messages, invitations to visit, meet for lunch, etc. Do not discuss the question of money with them.

You have every right and need to take care of yourself first and foremost right now.

Feedback: Regarding the young woman, 19, pressed by her boyfriend to get married in secret, then soon scratched with a black eye (May 25):

Reader: “I am sorry for the story of male domestic violence and am glad the woman is now safe. The abuser must be brought to justice and helped, otherwise his behavior will continue.

“Sad Canadian statistics: for every brain injury caused by hockey, 5,500 women suffer brain injuries related to male domestic violence.

“Every year, 200,000 Canadian women are victims of male spousal abuse. (These are only the reported and documented cases.)

“We need to talk about it openly, to deal with it and avoid hurting other women and children.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Use your workplace skills to encourage best business practices. Next, recognize that personal relationships can also benefit from encouragement rather than disagreements and shared free time activities.

Send your relationship questions to [email protected]


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