Dear Ms. Vicki,
I'm writing you because I need advice about how to handle my wife's behavior. To put it bluntly, she's a pig to my family and friends.
Yesterday, my mother said she would never come to my home to visit me again after she, my stepfather and my younger sister came for Easter dinner. My wife's cooking is atrocious. She knows she can't boil water, so why would she insist on cooking an Easter meal for everyone, and then get mad when my mother took over the kitchen?
I suggested that we cook something we know everyone will eat, like chicken. Well, my mother saw my wife putting the raw chicken in the oven without any seasoning. She also said my wife didn't bother to wash the chicken before cooking it.
I wanted to take everyone to brunch or get some precooked foods from Walmart, but my wife said we didn't have enough money to feed my family and pay our monthly bills. When my mother and stepfather said they would pay, my wife wouldn't let them.
Things just got worse when most of us wanted to go bowling. My wife said she didn't want to go, so I couldn't go either. I wanted to go fishing with my stepfather. But she sat around and sulked, so I didn't go. Finally, my mom left and took everyone to a hotel just to get away from my wife.
My mother called me later to say, "David, your wife is a pig!" I realized that my mom is right -- my wife is a pig. She's a mean little pig, and she's mean to my family and friends. My friends won't even come to my house anymore because of her mean attitude.
In my platoon, each month we rotate hosting an event. When I volunteered to host a cookout last summer, it was the most embarrassing thing I have ever experienced.
So what can I do to change my wife's behavior?
-- Pig Picker
Dear Pig Picker,
A behavior management plan won't work for your wife. Some people reading your letter could think that your wife has a mood disorder, but I won't attempt to diagnose her.
On the other hand, I would like to look retrospectively at your relationship. I bet you would tell me that she's always been a mean girl, or "a pig," as you call her, and that when you were dating her she was mean and didn't do well in social settings.
Probably your parents, other relatives and friends all tried to pull you aside to tell you that you should put the brakes on your relationship with the mean pig girl. But, for some reason, you liked her mean pig ways. Perhaps you liked dating the bad girl everyone hated. It gave you clout as the good guy who would marry the meanie, save her, and cause her to change her ways.
Fast forward to now: You married her, you have been good to her, and she still hasn't changed.
It sounds like her behavior might have gotten worse because you are isolated from family and friends. In many ways, your marriage has become like that uncooked chicken: You can't refreeze it and you can't let it sit in the refrigerator any longer. You might be able to salvage it, if you cook it.
What I'm saying is, you are in need of marriage therapy really quickly. You need an intervention because this situation will only get worse. I don't think your wife will readily accept the invitation for therapy, though.
If she doesn't, you should attend alone because you need professional advice for how to handle your wife's behavior. Please keep in touch with me and let me know what you decide to do.
-- Ms. Vicki