DEAR ABBY: I am a loving father of two boys and have been happily married for six years. However, my wife and I are having a serious conflict.
I love to fish and hunt. About eight times a year, I take a trip to hunt or fish. The trip usually lasts from one afternoon until the next evening. I am gone about 32 hours. This infuriates my wife. We argue every time I get ready to go. This is the only thing we argue about, but the arguments are serious and affect both of us adversely.
Abby, I try to be the best father and husband I know how. I spend almost every day of the week with my family. We go places together all the time. We are both Christians and take our children to church every week.
I have offered to go to counseling to see if we could get some help. She says it's not necessary because the problem isn't that big. I can't help but believe that our problem is about more than just a question of hunting and fishing. I feel she wants to control me. She says she just misses me. She agrees that I spend more time with the family than most husbands do. I do this out of love.
Am I wrong? Should I offer to give up my hobbies? Is it wrong for me to go hunting and fishing on occasion? Abby, I would never neglect my family. Any advice you can offer will be appreciated. -- KENTUCKY HUBBY
DEAR HUBBY: Eight days a year of personal time devoted to hunting or fishing is not a lot to ask. Whether she will admit it to herself or not, your wife's behavior is controlling. By picking a fight with you she ensures that if you go, your pleasure will be lessened.
Since you feel that the arguments are serious, by all means talk to a counselor before the problems escalate further. You could both benefit by going, but if your wife continues to minimize the importance of this issue, go without her. You will gain valuable insight.