Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I got into a big argument yesterday, and today he acts like nothing happened. I am still fuming. He did not apologize, nor did I. We just yelled out our points and then went to sleep. I slept in my daughter's room. I didn't even want to see his face. I cannot act like nothing happened. I don't want to argue, either. How can I address this situation without sparking a bigger flame? -- Incendiary, Racine, Wis.

DEAR INCENDIARY: A great rule to follow in a marriage is not to go to bed angry. Clearly, that is easier said than done. What you can attempt is not to go to bed angry again.

Ask your husband if you can take a few minutes to talk. As calmly as possible, tell him that you are having a hard time moving past your argument. Tell him how you are feeling. Ask him how he is feeling. If he says he has moved past it, tell him that you have not been able to do that because the argument upset you so greatly.

Suggest that the next time that you two have a disagreement that you stop before the voices elevate and agree to revisit the topic when you both have cooler heads. You both may want to read "Conversation Transformation: Recognize and Overcome the 6 Most Destructive Communication Patterns," by Dr. Ben E. Benjamin.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a couple more suggestions for the woman who is concerned about feeding herself and her sister's family. Each week, write a meal plan before shopping. Check the cupboard to see what you can use. Check store ads -- if you can -- to see what's on special. I always spend more at the store when I don't have a planned shopping list.

Also, go to the library or get on the Internet and learn about nutrition. This will help you figure out portion size and how to get the most nutritional value from what you can afford. I think a lot of people believe they need more protein than their bodies actually do. Use rice and beans to add bulk.

Some cities have community gardens, where you can grow your own produce in the summer or work for a share of the harvest from a collective garden.

Shop in the morning if you can. Where I shop, employees mark down the meat nearing its expiration date each morning. Get there first.

And here's one most city dwellers know already: Try to shop at a supermarket rather than the local convenience store. Farmers markets are even better, if you can get to one. -- Food Stretcher, Chicago

DEAR FOOD STRETCHER: Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful ideas. They are wise for everyone, whether you need to pinch pennies or not!