Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"My wife is always late" says husband, "we need to know how to stop being late"

Dear Dr. Jim

My wife is always late. She is late for everything we do or that she does alone.

I have tried every kind of measures that I can think of and nothing changes.

Even for church she will be so late that we come when the offering is being taken up. If we have a reservation, we will invariably be 20 to 40 minutes late.

I have been fed up with this for years now, it is driving me crazy, and, ... Well we won't go into that here.

Please, oh please, Dr. Jim, I need your advice.

Late Husband, Paul, in Pascagoula

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Dear L.H. Paul

Lateness can be a chronic problem which should be addressed.

You scared me for a moment when you called yourself "Late Husband." Do you know what that means?

You remind me of a widowed preacher who told a would be match maker that he just wanted a 'one night stand.' The woman asked him, "Sir, do you know what that means?" His reply was, "Well, maybe not."

Let me ask you something: could you put up with being late for another four or so years? Answer that question and you will see how badly you really dislike this situation your wife has placed you in.

I will let you draw your own conclusions about putting up some more. It may not be just her fault, exam youself and your conduct here.

There is another set of questions that need to be answered. Knowing these will help you tackle this objectively.

Does you wife know of your disdain for her being late? Does she try to be on time? Does she make silly excuses to you for why she is being late? How does she explain her tardiness to others who are affected?

There are a few solutions I generally suggest the couple trying. None are very awful good, try more than one idea:
1. Go off and leave her.
2. Put a bad conduct list on the refrigerator. One column for every member of the family. Then anyone make an entry when they think another is bad.
3. Have a separate car for your wife .
4. Check this link, have your wife check it if she is willing. (link)
5. From the first on the above Web site, Penelope Trunk,
I like #5 (link).
"Be honest with yourself. Why do you let yourself be late? It is disrespectful and makes you look unorganized and out of control. Why are you not getting control over your time. So much about
being on time is actually about self-knowledge. Often, we are scared to make the decisions that we must make in order to get control over our time and become someone who runs on schedule. But there is no other way to run a life. To run on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and execute that plan."

Just remember this and it may help you (again, from Penelope Trunk), "If you are a person who is always late, you will get in trouble. People who are always late think they are only sometimes late, so if you think you are sometimes late, you are probably in trouble."

Remember too, the daisies fade after a few days but their seed remains forever. (Dr. Jim's wisdom here) You can go a long way with this. So you two just get started on something constructive.

Speaking of long, this got long. I hope you can gleam a little,

Dr. Jim

So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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Anonymous said...

Ray here.

I'm always late, too. It's because I don't want to go.

I seldom want to go anywhere, do things expected of me, or attend events others want me to. But I do anyway, because people are counting on me. So I'm late to them because it's hard to get ready for something you hate to go to.

On the other hand, if I want to go somewhere, I'm not late.

Sometimes, though, I want to go somewhere, but my spouse doesn't. Then I'm still late because my spouse is late.

So when people are late, someone doesn't want to be there.

Every once in a while, there's a good explanation for being late--an emergency, a schedule conflict, etc.--but habitual lateness is a lack of enthusiasm, a distaste for the event.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jim & Ray,
There is much more to chronic lateness than a lack of enthusiasm for the event. It has more to do with the late person than with the event.
It sounds like some passive aggressive actions going on. I think the "late" wife is trying to "drive her husband crazy" with her actions. She is probably enjoying the response she gets from him.
Also, late people think more highly of themselves than others. It is a lack of respect for other people.
Being married is some give and take. We have to compromise on shared experiences. You go to some of his events and he goes to some of yours. You go on time and enjoy it because you love your spouse not because you love the event.

Putz said...

we used to go to the nutcraker every year around christmas eve, and be in our seats 20 minutes early, the the show which was supposed to start on the hour didn't, we waiting 10 more minutes and all of a sudden a woman late would run in and take her seat just as the curtain went up and i would turn to my wife and said, oh that was my aunt margaret(well of course it wasn't) we had to wait for her to start the performancwe, if that wasd to start on TIME, and everybody else locked out who weren't seated the wife would learn her lesson, but alas their will always be an aunt margaret