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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Refuses to Retire From Housecleaning Chores

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Cheryl," and I have been married for 47 years. We are both over 70 and retired. Cheryl is a wonderful mother, grandmother, cook and more. We love to travel, dance, go to movies and play with our grandchildren.

The issue is, she's very picky with the housekeeping and refuses to hire any help because she says nobody can do the job she does. I feel it's affecting our marriage because after she spends a full day once a week cleaning, she ends up exhausted and in a bad mood. I also feel guilty while she's doing all that work.

I don't think either one of us should have to do it. We are well-off and can easily pay someone to come for a full day of cleaning once a week. I keep telling her, to no avail, that she can't keep doing it forever. I welcome your suggestions. -- NEEDING HELP IN TEXAS

DEAR NEEDING HELP: Cheryl may think what she's doing is being a good old-fashioned housewife. Enlighten her to the fact that you feel her compulsiveness is detrimental to your marriage. Try this: Tell her again you want her to give a housekeeper a chance. Repeat that you can afford it. Explain that if she's not satisfied after the person has cleaned, you won't argue if she puts the "finishing touches" on what the cleaner may have missed. If you hire someone efficient, there won't be a lot left for her to do, and she won't be exhausted.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce