My husband is very outgoing. He loves chatting on the phone for hours, and talks with all the neighbors up and down the street. We have a set time for dinner, which is 6:30, and he knows it. Invariably he’ll be on the phone or up the street when it’s close to dinner. I always remind him 10 to 15 minutes ahead, which gives him time to be here to eat, but he’ll keep chatting until he’s anywhere from a half an hour up to two hours late to dinner. I put time and effort into preparing my meals. I grow my own vegetables and think of creative things to fix. He always comments how great the meals are, so it’s not that he doesn’t like my food. If it’s not eaten promptly, it’s overcooked/mushy/wilted, etc., so I go ahead and eat if he’s not here. I’d like him to be with me when I sit down at the table. I feel it’s incredibly rude for him to be late. When I tell him that, he laughs like it’s a big joke. I’m not sure what to do. Can you help?
From Napa, California
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Sitting down for dinner with one’s spouse is an important element in a marriage. If he is so insensitive to this long standing family tradition, then trying to humiliate him and starve him are perfectly acceptable in my opinion. Here are some options I think you should consider. Just prepare enough food for you. When he finally comes to the table, at that point start preparing his meal and always take at least six hours to finish it no matter what you’re preparing. After he dozes off in the kitchen, wake him up at around 2 a.m. by ringing a cow bell, announcing that dinner is served. Or how about every time he’s not ready to sit across from you to enjoy a meal, scrape his plate into a dog dish and put in in your backyard. When he goes out there to get it, have some friends over that will break out their camera phones as he retrieves his nourishment. If he’s late, then give his food to a homeless person. Hopefully your husband is not bold enough to try to snatch a biscuit from an unkempt raggedy man that hasn’t eaten in three days. But probably the simplest thing for you to do, is to start eating his portions if he’s not there. And when he finally sits down to dine, you should stare at him with a smirk, and then burp in his face. If he’s a slow learner and it takes him a while to get the point, be prepared to join a gym and buy some stretch pants. I hope this helps.