Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships


Dear Stacy:

I know this isn’t likely to get a response when I need it, but it’s still worth asking what you think about the disparity between husbands and wives, regarding gift-giving. The long story is that my husband totally dropped the ball with Mother’s Day. The kids had thrown together some cards from school, but he didn’t do a single thing to make the day special (besides telling me I could “sleep in,” after our kids already woke me up). Now it’s Father’s Day and I, unlike him, am thinking about it far enough in advance to even send a question to an advice column. Basically, I am 1,000 times more thoughtful than he is and I am having a hard time not “planning” to give him a horrible Father’s Day so he can see just how it feels. I know you’re going to tell me to talk to him – but what do I say? “You are a sucky partner, so I’m done making you feel special?”

-Angry in Advance

Dear Angry,
I’m really sorry you had a bad Mother’s Day. Does Husband know you had a bad Mother’s Day? And more specifically, was this something you actually said, not something you implied via passive aggressive pouting? My guess would be that no, Husband has no idea that you were expecting something that did not materialize. So yes, you need to talk to him.

But not now.

You need to wait and breathe and relax now that Father’s Day is over, and get a handle on what it is you want to say. We need to set aside the clichés about men and bad gift-giving (women actually are equally bad, btw, we just don’t get the press the guys do). You say you did not feel special – that is where we start. Many of us arrived at our first Mother’s/Father’s Days without much experience beyond rushing flowers across the country to our own parents, so please give yourselves a break about not being completely sure of what you expect and what you can give on those days. If this is important to you, then it’s important enough to use all the skills we have in the relationship to clear the air. In other words – say something non-accusatory about not feeling special on Mother’s Day. Include a line about wanting to help you both get what you need on those days in the future. Then you two can negotiate what feels right for your marriage.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist, practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to


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